Tyler’s Take on the Environmental Stewardship Tour

Tyler Flatt had a very busy week, between keeping things in line at the Ladder Ranch and traveling to Casper for the Environmental Stewardship Tour and presentation of the Leopold Conservation Award, which was awarded to the Garrett Ranch. 

This week has been a little slower week than normal. Monday I disked and leveled the rest of the new hay pasture. I am glad that I am finally done with that. Tuesday, we woke up early to move cattle up to the forest then we left to go to Casper to go to the Environmental Stewardship Tour. Before we got there we had to go drop a bull off that had been escaping for a couple of weeks. After that we came back to Casper, had dinner and went to the hotel. On Wednesday, we went to the ranch and learned about their environmental practices and then we took the tour. After the tour, we went straight home. On Thursday and Friday we had our final dockings and they weren’t too big but they were about 800 lambs each. I am happy to be done with dockings and dealing with sheep. Saturday we moved some more cows into a new pasture and then I came back and just did some yard work around the ranch. Overall a productive week, next week we have more moving and we are going to start haying.

Moving cattle at the Ladder Ranch.

Tyler’s Environmental Stewardship Tour Report

It was interesting to see how many differences there are between my ranch’s landscape and the landscape of the Garrett Ranch. I thought that bringing in the tress for the beavers was a clever idea as well as the use of the Christmas trees. I think that if ranches thought more outside the box like this that they could accomplish more with respect to environmental stewardship.

The tour was interesting and I learned a lot more than when we talked about their projects. I really liked the idea of using solar wells. I have heard of these types of wells but never really understood how they worked or how effective they were. Another interesting fact that I learned was how much more expensive it was to have someone do a controlled burn than to use mechanical clearing. In Texas, you can become your own prescribed burn manager, it takes a while but you can do it yourself and it cuts down on costs. So I was thinking if Wyoming had a similar program, ranchers would be more inclined to use prescribed fire on their land if they wanted to. On the other side of that, in my area of Texas we don’t have to worry so much about invasive grasses such as cheat grass. We have mesquite tress, but they are not as bad as cheat grass so I can see where using a brush beater would be more beneficial. I also learned that by using the brush beater rather than fire it created better habitat for the sage grouse as well as produced better grazing for livestock so it was a more well-rounded practice. I feel like I could take this back to Texas to a prairie chicken refuge and show them how mechanical could possibly be better than fire in that particular area.

Overall I learned a lot of interesting and different environmental practices. It was fun to see ranching from a different angle. Where you can be a successful rancher as well as an environmental steward and how much easier it is than I thought. Also, it was amazing how much better this is for the wildlife and livestock when you work them together. I had a great experience and I am glad I got to be a part of it and learn new ideas and practices.

                  Tyler with a few fellow WSGA Interns.           Docking Lambs.

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