Bison on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Photo credit: Gary Chancey, US Forest Service.
Guest Post by Hannah Ettema of the National Forest Foundation.
It was like stepping back through time on the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Some 200 years ago, when bison prominently roamed the Illinois landscape, kicking up dust as they ran in the herd before settling against a back-drop of tall prairie grasses.
That scene from the past is actually part of the Midewin’s future as four bulls and 23 cows were introduced to their new 1,200 acre enclosure. The first to arrive were the bulls, one 2-year-old and three 3-year-olds, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colo. Read more »
Dorper ewes graze in selected areas in a mixed crop-livestock research project. (Image courtesy of Jonathan Wachter)
Grazing livestock may soon be a common sight in the Palouse region of southeastern Washington, usually known for its rolling hills and grain production.
Jonathan Wachter, a soil science doctoral student at Washington State University, has been working with a local farm to improve the competitiveness of organic mixed crop-livestock systems and their potential adoption by growers in a conventional grain-producing region. Read more »
Jake and Jondra Shadowen and family use conservation programs to improve their Benton, Ky. ranch. (NRCS photo)
When Jake and Jondra Shadowen from Benton, Ky. got married 14 years ago, they decided to buy a 26-acre ranch with a goal of raising a healthy herd of cattle. Today, thanks to hard work and conservation, they maintain a strong herd of 26 cattle, up from 11 when they first began.
They worked with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement a rotational grazing system, which breaks up large pastures into smaller ones. A rotational grazing system allows for grass to grow faster and quicker and prevents soil from becoming prone to erosion. Read more »
Dale Courtney (left) visits with Randolph County NRCS District Conservationist Adam Eades near an electric fence and tire tank watering facility about the resilience a good prescribed grazing program offers during a drought.
Cattle producers across Arkansas faced many challenges during the extreme drought of 2012. Luckily, grazing management strategies helped farmers like Randolph County’s Dale Courtney alleviate the drought’s effects.
With the assistance of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Courtney developed and implemented a conservation plan that included grazing management strategies, which helped to protect his operation from the worst of the drought and make it more efficient.
Following the conservation plan, he added electric fence and pipeline to funnel water to new tire tank watering facilities in each of his pastures. Read more »
A herd of cattle gather around a stock pond on the vast Oglala National Grasslands.
On any given day during grazing season, Black Angus cattle amble across areas of the Oglala National Grassland in northwestern Nebraska. Yet they play a bigger role than just grazing for their daily meal. They help support the local economy, are the lifeline of a family business and have a role in a healthy rangeland ecosystem. Read more »
Cow herd is tended on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. The Ranch was a recent winner of the Forest Service’s Outstanding Rangeland Management External Partner Award. (Photo Credit: Photo taken by Wink Crigler for X Diamond Ranch)
When thinking about national forests and grasslands, your thoughts may at first focus on the incredible abundance of recreation opportunities, wilderness and solitude or perhaps the precious water resources that flow from forest to faucet. But did you know that livestock grazing is also permitted? Read more »