Range schools illustrate soil and grass health in relation to profitability
“Improving the ability to harvest increased forage using their livestock should interest every producer in Kansas,” said Tim Christian with the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition. “The benefit comes as soil water intake increases, higher levels of nutrient cycling occur, microbial activity is elevated, and other cyclic functions begin to achieve balance.”
This balancing process is the focus for the 2013 KGLC Range Schools, Christian continued. Our instructors and rancher-presenters will key in on this concept simply known as soil health. The Mid-/Shortgrass Range School runs from Aug. 6 to 8 at Camp Lakeside, Lake Scott, and the Tallgrass Range School is set for Aug. 20 to 22 at Camp Wood YMCA, Elmdale with the theme Creating Range Wealth Through Soil Health. As ranchers and land managers better understand and employ grazing, structural and management practices that benefit the native grasses and forbs; those plants then sustain or improve soil health creating a positive cycle that improves and comes into equilibrium over time. And that creates more available forage thus increasing the harvest opportunities.
The schools cost $300 per person and covers materials, on-site lodging and meals, and other related costs. Scholarships are available to eligible participants including ranchers, students, and agency staffs. Ranchers, landowners, and students may qualify for a $150 scholarship if they meet eligibility and request one using KGLC’s scholarship form. Agency staffs may qualify for $100 in scholarships. The form and more information on the schools is available at www.kglc.org under 2013 Range Schools found in the navigation bar. Scholarship applications must be submitted by July 23 for the Mid-/Shortgrass School and Aug. 6 for the Tallgrass School.
A major means to keeping costs down is the support of sponsoring partners. Currently, the partners include the Natural Resources Conservation Service; Fort Hays State University; Kansas State University; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; The Nature Conservancy (which hosts one-day of the Mid-/Shortgrass School on their Smoky Valley Ranch); Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Feed-Lot Magazine, and Graze the Prairie.
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