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Meeting to focus on grasslands, drought, and conservation

Kansas

"Ranchers are organizing to promote healthy grasslands in our area," said Bill Barby, Clark County rancher and Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition board director. "Interested ranchers from Clark, Comanche and Meade counties are encouraged to meet at 10 a.m. on Feb. 26, at the Veteran's Building in Coldwater."

Anyone interested in improving grasslands is welcome to attend. Registration is partially underwritten by KGLC and is $5 per person which includes lunch served by the Blonde Chef. Besides electing a board of directors and an advisory committee, there is a full agenda with presentations on topics that people in this area continue to ask about, Barby continued. Talks will be given by Dusty Tacha, Natural Resources Conservation Service range management specialist, Hutchinson, and Mark Lording, area rancher. Both will speak to the issue of this continuing drought we find ourselves dealing with. Tacha will cover drought implications, making a contingency plan, and managing through the drought. Lording will discuss what he has done to be proactive in offsetting the effects of drought on his ranch.

Bill Sproul, Sedan-area rancher and KGLC past chairman, who helped in forming an eastern Kansas regional grazing group known as the Tallgrass Legacy Alliance will speak about how ranchers benefit from organizing grazing group in this part of Kansas. Aron Flanders, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners biologist, Stafford, will discuss the Kansas Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and how ranchers can receive cost-share funds to complete grassland improvement practices that benefit both grasslands and grasslands wildlife. Ken Brunson, The Nature Conservancy Red Hills biologist, Greensburg, will talk about the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative and how it targets improving grassland habitat for this bird that may end up on the Endangered Species Act list as threatened.

In the recent past, a core group of ranchers and agency staffs have held four other events covering the three-county area since April 2010. The meetings are all directed at helping ranchers better understand their grasslands and the impacts of grazing management on their productivity--economic and environmental. The drought has been an overriding factor and topic at all the previous sessions as it has been impacting the region for more than four years.

To register for the Feb. 26 meeting, contact Barby at 620-873-9700 or bill_barby @yahoo.com. You can also contact the local NRCS/Conservation District offices, or Extension offices in those counties. For more information on KGLC or regional grazing groups, visit the KGLC website at www.kglc.org.

Date: 2/25/2013



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