By Hallie Jette
It has been a while since my last post, but I wanted to jump back and touch on the Environmental Stewardship Day that was held in Elk Mountain at the Johnson Ranch. I really enjoyed touring the Johnson Ranch, and getting a little insight into how they operate their ranch. In my last post, I talked about the Leafy Spurge Beetles I collect and distribute in order to control the invasive species, so to learn of other ranches stewardship practices was intriguing.
One phrase I heard a lot at convention was “We need to tell our stories.” I think it is important to hear the stories of fellow ranchers. Every family has a unique story as to how they got started in the agriculture industry. Environmental Stewardship Day is a great way to share that story and express the large efforts ranchers put towards conservation and stewardship of our resources to the public. Every ranch operates differently. Each ranch adopts their own practices to preserve and improve the land. Farmers and ranchers have to be very cognizant of how they are managing their land. Such as soil health, grazing rotations, grazing intensity, and water utilization are very important to farming and ranching operations. Not paying attention to these aspects can negatively impact the production of a farm or ranch. Nutrient levels in the soil are important to pay attention to allow your crops and native vegetation to thrive. Over grazed pastures aren’t nearly as productive in future years. Installing pipelines and water tanks on the tops of ridges around pastures can improve the grazing utilization of that pasture as the water will draw cows up to places they wouldn’t normally graze. This is something the Kane’s have done, and it has worked quite well for them, allowing them to better utilize their land. I have really enjoyed learning about David’s usage of pipelines to draw his cows to different parts of his pastures. Having the opportunity to learn and compare within this tour was a great educational experience and honored a key factor ranchers put lots of effort into. I want to urge anyone that knows of an applicant for this award to nominate them!