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NMSU to host Rancher's Roundtable on pasture assessment

New Mexico

New Mexico State University is hosting a free monthly Rancher's Roundtable discussion Sept. 12 in Corona to answer producers' questions concerning forage availability and stocking rate, and how best to derive these estimates to make an informed decision for rangeland and financial health.

The roundtable is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Southwest Center for Rangeland Sustainability. Lunch will be provided to participants.

"It is not our intent for the day to develop into a discussion on drought management, but take on a theme of sustainability of rangeland resources for now and the future, with more of an overall educational opportunity for producers to intensify monitoring and management of their resources," said Shad Cox, ranch manager of the Corona Range and Livestock Research Center.

The drought is on everyone's mind at this point, Cox said, and the hope is that this discussion will help producers develop a plan for maintaining healthy rangelands and growing their inventory over time as they become relieved of below average precipitation in future growing seasons.

"It is our hope that this discussion can help in providing some direction for future monitoring and assessment of available resources to help mitigate drastic reactions in destocking rangelands in the future as well," Cox said.

Mike Anaya, assistant commissioner for the Surface Division with the New Mexico State Land Office; Nick Ashcroft, NMSU range management specialist; Nathan Combs, range management specialist with the Bureau of Land Management; and John Tunberg, state range conservationist with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be guest speakers. Chris Allison, NMSU range management specialist, will moderate the event.

The sustainability center is located within an 867-acre pasture within a transition zone of pinon-juniper woodland to short-grass prairie that will allow for demonstration of techniques in assessment upon multiple range sites if that is what the participants want.

The Rancher's Roundtable Series is by design participant-driven in direction and content and will take its shape from the questions that are presented. They are designed to help producers deal with the daily challenges they face with their range and herds. Other topics to be addressed throughout the year include: heifer development, marketing, range management, ranch economics, taxes and brush control.

Registration is not required to attend the workshops. Attendees are welcome to stay as long as needed to get their questions answered. For more information, contact Cox at 575-849-1015 or visit http://coronasc.nmsu.edu.

Date: 9/10/2012



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