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Mid-Shortgrass Range School held August 2-4, 2016

posted Aug 8, 2016, 1:04 PM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

We had 23 students, the weather wasn't bad for August in western KS and range conditions were really very good for August. Our guest speaker after the traditional Wednesday Night Steak Fry was Russel Davis from Karval, CO. Russell is a lifelong rancher who is on the board of directors for Partners for Conservation, the conservation non-profit that is rancher led and and inspired. He talked about what brought he and his neighbors to where they are now from total unbelief when they first discovered that Mountain Plovers lived on their ranches and were being considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act to complete engagement with the process at every step. They have been holding a Mountain Plover Festival in Karval for many years now and have learned how to educate people in Colorado about species in need of conservation including agricultural producers. It was a great session for our students!
Below are some pictures from the school.


posted May 23, 2016, 6:06 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

Sproul Ranch wins 2015 KS Leopold Conservation Award

posted Dec 23, 2015, 5:59 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

The initial KS Leopold Conservation Program Award Winner was the Sproul Ranch. click on the PDF below to get the full story. The award was presented at the KS Association of Conservation Districts Annual Convention at Wichita on November 23rd.  Runners-up in the 2015 award process were RodVorhees and Randy and Nicole Small.

Mid-/Shortgrass Range School a Success

posted Aug 11, 2015, 9:19 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

The 2015 Mid-/Shortgrass Range School held August 4-6, at Camp Lakeside, Scott County State Lake and The Nature Conservancy Smoky Valley Ranch covered Leaving a Legacy - Sustaining Your Rangelands.  Nearly 20 students enjoyed the three day curriculum.  A segment of the course featured ecological site descriptions provided by Chris Tecklenburg, NRCS (seen in photo at lower left).

Finalists Named for Kansas Leopold Award - KGLC Shines!

posted Jul 16, 2015, 1:44 PM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

FROM the High Plains Journal:

Sand County Foundation, in partnership with the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas, is proud to announce the finalists for the first annual Kansas Leopold Conservation Award, which honors Kansas landowner achievement in voluntary stewardship and management of natural resources.

The finalists are:

  • Randall and Nicole Small, who own 2S Land & Cattle, a cow/calf ranch and crop farm in Neodesha. The Smalls practice rotational grazing, plant cover crops to maintain healthy soils and have been no-till since 1999. To benefit wildlife, the Smalls built wildlife-friendly fencing and created quail habitat surrounding their crop fields.
  • Sproul Ranch, a 2,200-acre cattle ranch in Chautauqua County owned by Bill and Peggy Sproul. The cattle graze on tall grass prairie restored by the Sprouls. The tall grass is burned on a rotational basis and the unburned, regrown tall grass serves as wildlife habitat and provides natural fuel for future burns.
  • The Vorhees family, owners of Lazy VJ Farms, a cow/calf ranch in Fredonia. The family practices rotational grazing and they have added cross fencing to their land to prevent overgrazing. They have also created wetlands, buffers and riparian areas to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and provide wildlife habitat.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the Leopold Conservation Award recognizes extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation. It inspires other landowners through these examples and provides a visible forum where farmers, ranchers and other private landowners are recognized as conservation leaders. In his influential 1949 book, A Sand County Almanac, Leopold called for an ethical relationship between people and the land they own and manage, which he called “an evolutionary possibility and an ecological necessity.”

The 2015 Leopold Conservation Award will be presented for the first time at the KACD Annual Convention in Wichita on November 23. The award recipient will receive $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold.

“KACD supports conservation programs that protect our state’s natural resources, and we are pleased to join Sand County Foundation and the Ranchland Trust of Kansas in recognizing exemplary land stewards for the Kansas Leopold Conservation Award,” Jim Krueger, Executive Director, KACD.

“The Ranchland Trust is honored to partner with KACD and Sand County Foundation in presenting the first Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. This State has a long, rich history of land conservation and stewardship, and this award highlights those that represent the legacy on our working farms and ranches. Congratulations to the finalists. We thank them for helping us preserve special places in Kansas,” Bill Eastman, Chair of the Board, RTK.

The Leopold Conservation Award Program in Kansas is made possible thanks to the generous support of Clean Line Energy Partners, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Forest Service, International Transmission Company, NextEra Energy Resources, Westar Energy, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, DuPont Pioneer, The Mosaic Company and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

Visit www.leopoldconservationaward.org.


The Leopold Conservation Award is a competitive award that recognizes landowner achievement in voluntary conservation. The award consists of $10,000 and a crystal depicting Aldo Leopold. Sand County Foundation presents Leopold Conservation Awards in California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Sand County Foundation (www.sandcounty.net) is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to working with private landowners across North America to advance ethical and scientifically sound land management practices that benefit the environment.

Randy Small and Bill Sproul are both KGLC Directors and both are past chairmen of the organization! Congratulations on being recognized as conservation leaders in Kansas!!!

Here is the link to the entire story:


Sproul Awarded Water and Energy Project 2014 Recognition

posted Jul 16, 2015, 1:05 PM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

The land is the wealth, the community is the wealth. Water quality, retention, infiltration, the more I have, the wealthier I am." 
- Bill Sproul


Patch burn benefits prairie ecosystems

The Sproul Ranch spans 7,500 acres in south-central Kansas. Spoul's ranching techniques of patch burning and management intensive grazing greatly reduce erosion and the negative impacts from cattle to the soil surface, which means that water stays on the land and infiltrates into the soil. 


Slowing Down and Saving Energy

Patch burning also saves energy in many ways.  Patch burn requires less fencing, fewer fences means less trailing which means less erosion.  Plus, maximizing forage productivity and plant diversity equals excellent gains on the cattle.  Bill says, 


"I'm making energy . . . because now instead of burning one energy I'm making another energy.   I'm collecting more sun, I'm sequestering more carbon, and my air quality's got to be going up.


Redefining Wealth as Soil Health

As a community-based conservationist, Bill explains that you're part of the land. He states, 

"I consider now my savings account to be in the land - to be in the plants, to be in the grass." 



Commodity vs. Community Conservation - Bill Sproul

His emphasis on community-based conservation guides his decisions based

 on what is good for the ecosystem which improves the quality of the soil, water, and prairie habitat. 


Bill Sproul is an innovative example of responsible stewardship of soil, water, energy, and grassland communities.  Valuing all parts of the ecosystem, all the way down to the small, yet important dung-beetle, he explains: 


The Dung Beetle and Water Retention
"The community is all tied together and each thing depends on the other to make the community strong.  When you view land as a community, you belong to the community." 



 Read all about Bill & Peggy Sproul on WaterAndEnergyProgress.org!


Grass Book Given Kansas Notable Book Award - Check it Out!

posted Jul 10, 2015, 9:58 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

This year a new book devoted to the grasses of the central plains,  A Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska by Iralee Barnard was selected as a Kansas Notable Book by the State Library of Kansas.  The Kansas Notable Books List recognizes the literary richness of the state.  The annual selection of 15 books reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Kansas features quality titles with wide public appeal that are either written by Kansans or features a Kansas-related topic.   Iralee is an Advisory Committee member to KGLC representing the Kansas Native Plant Society. 

Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska is intended to make learning about grasses available to everyone.  The information and illustrations address a broad range of expertise as well as interests from home landscaping to range management to wildlife associations.  The book’s 415 color photographs are vital in visually demonstrating the differences that separate the species.  It is the photographic detail that set this guide apart from all others.
 Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska is available at local book stores and online from the publisher, University Press of Kansas,  www.kansaspress.ku.edu.

Barby Featured in USDA Article

posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:53 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

Rancher Weathers Drought, Restores Prairie Chicken Habitat at Same Time
is the title of the blog article posted at the link below.  The featured rancher is Bill Barby, Protection, KS, a KGLC Board Director and active on many fronts to promote grasslands health while maintaining his profitability. 

Hit the link and read the article...



posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:21 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition   [ updated Mar 22, 2016, 7:51 AM ]


posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:15 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition   [ updated Mar 22, 2016, 7:52 AM ]

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