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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...


Five Look and Learn Pasture Walks Scheduled - Sign Up Today!

posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:21 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

A typical Kansas pasture on a typical Kansas farm or ranch is a highly complex, species-rich ecosystem that can either be beneficial or detrimental to the producer. Differentiating between the two can be tricky, often involving experimentation as much as experience. Knowing what to look for in a pasture, healthy or otherwise, and being able to better manage that pasture is the focus of five upcoming pasture walks scattered strategically around the state.

Look and Learn Pasture Walks, sponsored in part by Amazing Grazing III, a collaboration between the Kansas Farmers Union and the Kansas Graziers Association, will host the walks in June and July under the facilitation of Dr. Dale Kirkham, retired range management specialist, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and local NRCS range specialists.

“Pasture walks can be very informative for producers to attend,” said Keith Harmoney, range scientist for the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays. “They’ll get to see something different than their own pastures, but also very similar. And because of the informal nature of the discussions taking place among experts as well as other producers, they can get different viewpoints on everything from soil health to managing livestock, and learn different management practices that might help them overcome problems particular to their own area.”

The nature of a pasture walk is meant to be comparative rather than competitive, an assessment rather than an exhibition. Pastures are chosen for their environmental and ecological components that can have direct bearing on management practices and financial success, or failure, Harmoney said. 

“We select pastures by looking for a range of different ecological sites—different soils and species of plants that will grow on those soils—so producers can see what they are and how they might change as the season progresses,” he said. “We offer plant identification to show which are the most desirable and which are the least desirable, and go through various management scenarios or grazing strategies that over time would improve the condition of the pasture.”

Any and all topics are open for discussion, Harmoney added, including wildlife habitat management. “Some producers offer guided hunting services and might be interested in learning about plant diversity and wildlife habitat,” he said. “It’s basically a classroom in a pasture.”

In addition to Harmoney, range specialists include Doug Spencer, NRCS rangeland management specialist, Marion; David Kraft, Diamond K Cattle Co., Gridley; Dale Kirkham, Eureka; Dwayne Rice, NRCS rangeland management specialist, Lincoln; and Dusty Schwandt, NRCS soil conservationist, Marysville.

The walks provide excellent opportunities for producers to see firsthand what works and what doesn’t and learn new techniques in problem-solving from peers and specialists alike, Kraft said. 

“The average producer would benefit by hearing and talking about visual plant and management observations,” he said. “It is typically a very informal discussion with opportunities to ask a variety of questions. Plant identification, stocking rates, grazing systems, grazing season length, brush management, burning, etc., are all possibilities for discussion.”

There is no charge for these walks, but registration is encouraged. Registration can be made online at amazinggrazingkansas.com, by e-mail to Mary Howell at kfu.mary@gmail.com, or by calling Howell at 785-562-8726. Please include your name and the number of people planning to attend so adequate tour arrangements and refreshments can be made. Walk-ins are welcome.

Tours and dates are as follows: 

Tuesday, June 23, 2 p.m. Southeast KS Pasture Walk, Garnett area at Tim Benton’s. Tour will begin on 1000 Rd. approximately two miles east of U.S. 169 at Welda, or 1/2 mile west of U.S. 59 on 1000 Rd. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2 p.m. Northeast KS Pasture Walk, at the KSU Stocker Unit, 4330 Marlatt Ave, Manhattan. Driving northwest of Manhattan on Seth Childs Road, turn west onto Marlatt Avenue, travel slightly more than one mile and drive through the big KSU Stocker Unit gates. Follow the road.

Thursday, June 25, 2 p.m. West Central Pasture Walk at HB Ranch, located four miles south of Cedar Bluff Reservoir (Trego County) on Highway 147.   

Tuesday, July 7, 9 a.m.  South Central KS Pasture Walk, Marion, at David Rziha’s. Participants will meet on the south side of the Tampa Baseball Field, Tampa. 

     Wednesday, July 8, 9 a.m. North Central KS Pasture Walk, Beloit at Calvin Adams’. From Barnard, drive 1.8 miles east on Highway 284, turn left onto N. 270th (road name will change at county line to 360th), drive 1.7 miles north to Calvin's place at 283 360th Rd., Beloit. Note: Highway 18 west of I-35 is closed because of a bridge out.

Patch Burn Grazing Meeting, August 26-28, Pratt

posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:15 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

The Great plains Science Exchange is hosting a 3-day meeting on patch burn grazing in Pratt.  See the flyer for more details.

KGLC Seeks State Coordinator - June 15 Resume Deadline!

posted Jun 8, 2015, 12:28 PM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Inc. (KGLC) is soliciting qualified candidates for the position as State Coordinator (SC) for the organization. This is a contract position between KGLC Board of Directors and the individual/company.  KGLC is a 501 c.3 non-profit organization that provides technical assistance, educational and coordination efforts to meet its mission to regenerate Kansas grazing land resources through cooperative management, economics, ecology, production, education, and technical assistance programs. KGLC’s vision is to regenerate Kansas grazing lands. For more information on KGLC look here on the web site.

Find a full announcement posted as a PDF below.

KGLC Hosts August Range Schools - Register Now!

posted Jun 8, 2015, 11:31 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition


Sustaining Rangelands by Leaving A Legacy is the theme for the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC) summer range schools,” said Tim Christian, state coordinator for the group.  “The Mid-/Shortgrass Range School runs from August 4-6 at Camp Lakeside, Lake Scott, and the Tallgrass Range School is set for August 18-20 at Camp Wood YMCA, Elmdale.”

The notion of leaving your ranch better than you got it - economically and environmentally; recognizing those who have done a great job over time; addressing current and emerging threats like old world bluestems, Eastern red cedar, and other invasive species, plus a host of practices and systems to enhance grasslands will be included in the three-day agenda, said Christian. Instructors include ranchers, agency, university and organizational staffs who provide hands-on instruction in the field as well as classroom presentation with the intent to help inform decision-makers and provide them with sound grazing principles that they can take home and employ on their operations.  

The 2015 registration fee has seen a slight jump to $350 per person; the first increase since 2010. The fee covers course materials, on-site lodging and meals, and other related costs.  Ranchers, landowners, and students may qualify for a $175 scholarship if they meet eligibility and request one using KGLC’s scholarship form.  Agency staffs may qualify for $125 in scholarships.  The form and more information on the Schools is available at www.kglc.org under 2015 Range Schools found in the navigation bar.  Scholarship applications must be submitted by July 24 for the Mid-/Shortgrass School and August 7 for the Tallgrass School.  

KGLC organized in 1991 as a non-profit educational organization and its vision is to regenerate Kansas grazing lands.  This is achieved through the management, economics, ecology, production, and technical assistance programs provided by voluntary methods to reach landowners, ranchers, and others making decisions on grazing lands. 

For more information on the 2015 KGLC Range Schools, contact Tim Christian, state coordinator, at 620-242-6440, email to tdchristian@cox.net, Find a scholarship form below, or you may also register online by going to the 2015 Range Schools page here at www.kglc.org.

KGLC Hosts International Group of Ranchers and Scientists

posted Jun 8, 2015, 11:23 AM by Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition

KGLC hosted 33 ranchers and scientists from Canada and Mexico on May 12-14, in Wichita, KS.  The 3-day event featured 2 tours - one to the Flint Hills and one to the Red Hills to see beneficial management pilot projects recently completed under a grant from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).  The tours had nearly 60 attendees each day and the group saw the old world bluestem (OWB) chemical control project on the Pilgrim Ranch (Charlie and Carolyn Pilgrim), Chase County, on Tuesday, May 12.  The tour began with an overview  and lunch (served by Pioneer Bluffs) at the Bazaar Schoolhouse, Bazaar.  

The group made a stop on the Homestead Ranch (Jane Koger) east of Cassoday to see another OWB control project, patch-burn grazing, and hear about pollinator research.  The day concluded after a short tour of the Flint Hills at Pioneer Bluffs where the Flying W Ranch provided supper.  Jeff Davidson and Annie Wilson well-known area musicians offered a musical treat for everyone to conclude the evening.  (See photos in the scroll on the homepage). 

On Wednesday, May 13, the tour continued as the group traveled west and south the Red Hills in Barber to see pilot projects completed on several ranches there.  The group stopped at the Alexander Ranch (Ted and Brian Alexander) to hear about the management regime on their operation and to hear about the BbarB Ranch (Bill and Debbie Barby), Comanche County fencing project which was funded by CEC to improve grazing distribution in conjunction with a number of other practices including brush control, prescribed burning, and tamarisk beetle control on salt cedar.  

A quick drive west of Sun City found the regrowth after a prescribed fire on the Ed Bricker Ranch.  Jess Crockford, Tom Carr, and Eva Yearout spoke about how the Kansas Prescribed Fire Council, Kansas Prescribed Burning Association, and the local Gyp Hills PBA work together to help ranchers plan and execute prescribed burning to meet their management objectives.
Lunched was served at Buster's Saloon, Sun City, and the group traveled to the Z-Bar Ranch (Keith and Eva Yearout, managers) to see a solar-powered water well and livestock pipeline that also feeds a wetland area on the ranch. The weather turned the bus back to Sun City where the Burnette Ranch (Lisa Ballout) CEC project described using a PowerPoint Presentation.  The Ranch recently completed control of Eastern red cedar and completed a prescribed burn.  A pollinator study is also underway on the Ranch.  Another pilot project was completed on the Gentry Ranch (Partners LLC, Harry Dawson) which included establishing firebreaks to control a large prescribed burn in deep canyons on the Ranch. 

Thursday, May 14, found the group meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Airport, Wichita reviewing the grant objectives, outcomes, and other facets of the overall project.

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