“Drought and heat is still on everyone’s minds, and this has been another tough summer for ranchers, their livestock, and the grasslands across most of Kansas,” said David Kraft, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state rangeland management specialist, Emporia. “Two upcoming Range Schools may not relieve all the current pain, but we hope that we can better equip ranchers and land managers to be able to deal with this extended drought situation.”
“The Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC) has firmed up all presentations and presenters for the Tallgrass Range School set for July 31- August 2 at Camp Wood YMCA, Elmdale, and the Mid-/Shortgrass School, August 21-23, at Camp Lakeside, Scott County State Lake, and The Nature Conservancy Smoky Valley Ranch in Logan County. The Schools focuses on grassland ecology and livestock management,” said Tim Christian, KGLC state coordinator. Thematically, “Roots, Rainfall, and Recovery...management coming out of drought should provide attendees with some solid tools and new thought processes to help offset the persistent hot, dry conditions.”
The course subject matter is directed at offering as much resource material and hands-on training to attendees as we can cram into a three-day period, Christian said. Presentations and exercises include Landscape Change with Climatic Variance Influences, David Kraft, NRCS; (Tallgrass) Plant and Animal Interaction and the Effects of Drought, K.C. Olson, KSU Animal Science; (Mid-Shortgrass) Western Kansas Stocking Rates and Drought Considerations, Keith Harmoney, KSU Ag Center; Regenerating Rangeland Potential, Walt Fick, KSU Research and Extension Agronomy; (Tallgrass) Livestock Stocking Rates During the Good, Bad and the Ugly, David Kraft; Soils, Ecological Sites, and Measuring and Monitoring, various instructors; Drought Planning - “Mental” Plans Don’t Work, various instructors; and a series of talks that encompass Wildlife Considerations and Opportunities on Rangelands, KS Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism biologists and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program biologists. The Schools also devote a good share of time to plant identification and students will each receive a plant identification book.
Our hope is that participants will be further down the road to successfully manage their grazing lands without sacrificing too much economically and damaging fragile plant communities, he continued. Having a written drought or contingency plan and following it are essential to staying the course over time in an extended drought.
The three-day school costs $300 per person, but KGLC and its co-sponsors will be providing scholarships to eligible ranchers, ranch employees, students, and agency staffs. Most will receive $150, with agency attendees receiving $100, to bring costs down making the highly-rated course a great value. Scholarship forms are available online at www.kglc.org, under 2012 Range Schools in the left-side navigation bar, or
by contacting KGLC staff. July 20 is the cut-off for receiving scholarship applications for the
Tallgrass School, and registration is due July 23. August 10 is the cut-off for scholarship applications for the Mid-/Shortgrass School, and registrations are due August 13.
Currently co-sponsoring the schools are the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Kansas State University Research and Extension; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism; Kansas Farm Bureau; Kansas Native Plant Society; US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program; The Nature Conservancy; Playa Lakes Joint Venture; William F. Bradley, Jr. Trust; and the Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management.