Spying on grass (a.k.a. monitoring)

Sunday morning my family and I went out and had a fun time picking wild flowers and monitoring our federal spring grazing land.  We drove on the Oregon Trail trying to imagine our ancestors walking and riding in a covered wagon across this sagebrush flat with very little supplies. Our ancestors came here on the Oregon Trail looking for land to settle which is what makes our ranch what it is today. As the 5th generation on this ranch my husband and I hope to preserve and carry on that dream to future generations.

Traveling down part of the Oregon Trail. (Inset) A marker for the Oregon Trail.

As federal land ranchers, we have taken a proactive role in managing our rangelands.  We work with the federal agencies to set management objectives.  We monitor our federal grazing lands to determine if we are meeting those objectives.  The monitoring can include documenting the impact our cattle have on the area. Today, many anti-grazing organizations are trying every way to stop all grazing on federal lands. Taking an active role in management helps document our stewardship and educate the anti-grazers that cattle grazing is actually a healthy and sustainable activity on federal rangelands.

RealRancher Kari's husband Cotton examines the forage with their daughter on their public grazing lands. Cattle grazing is a sustainable way to manage public lands.

Our ranch is highly dependent upon federal grazing lands and, in fact, Sublette County is nearly 80 percent federally owned.  We pay rent to the federal government to let our cattle graze these lands. Without federal land grazing, the ranches in our county would not exist (which means less food on your table).  The private property, currently hay meadows and river bottom land where cattle live during the winter months, would become subdivisions and houses.  Therefore ranchers are doing all that they can to stay in business while being stewards of the land to provide open space and wildlife habitat for everyone to enjoy.

From RealRancher Kari Bousman – Boulder, Wyo.

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