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Texas GLCI Hosts First Ever Grazing Conference

story by Dee Ann Littlefield

Ranchers from various parts of the country enjoyed visiting the NRCS booth at the event.Texas Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative’s (GLCI) hosted the first Texas Grazingland Conference: Solutions for Healthy Land and Profitable Ranching in Fort Worth, Texas July 15-17, 2013, at the Radisson Hotel Fort Worth Fossil Creek. Over 300 people from six different states attended the event.

The conference featured four concurrent sessions with 16 fulltime and part-time ranchers sharing their knowledge, insight, and experience on the cow-calf and stocker industry. The sessions included profitable ranching management; managing wildlife with livestock; risk management; and marketing strategies. Through peer-to-peer information sharing, attendees had the opportunity to learn successful management strategies that can help them improve their land and their business.

“This has been an ideal place to learn what other ranchers are doing,” said Asher, Oklahoma rancher Nancy Nunn. “I am always interested to know how others like me are coping with the drought, market fluctuations, managing their land, and other things we all do every day.”

Two nationally acclaimed keynote speakers, Dr. Temple Grandin, noted animal behavior expert, author, speaker, and professor at Colorado State University; and Kit Pharo, speaker, author and rancher, and owner of Pharo Cattle Company, also shared their insight and wisdom with attendees.

Over 300 people from six states attended the grazinglands conference.“Effective herd management starts in the corrals by paying attention to animal behavior,” said Grandin. “But once a rancher can master that, he can then take those animals out on his rangeland and use them to manage the grasses and plants on his land.”

“It takes an effective partnership to provide the needs for grazing lands,” says Texas GLCI Chairman J.K. “Rooter” Brite. “Texas GLCI emphasizes a cooperative effort among a wide variety of partners to make sure that when a producer seeks information about grazing lands, someone is available to help.”

Over the past two years, Texas GLCI, through its partnership with Texas NRCS grazingland specialists have provided grazing land technical assistance to ranchers on an average of 2.4 million acres per year. These grazingland specialists have also provided over 180 technical presentations to over 12,000 private landowners across the state.

A video recapping the event can be viewed at www.youtube.com/USDAnrcstexas.

Rancher Kit Pharo talked about building a low input cow herd to increase profits.Temple Grandin with conference organizer Jeff Goodwin, NRCS grazing specialist.