Through WSARE grant funding, the Utah Grazingland Network (UGN) headed up a project to record and disseminate valuable observations and analysis of range improvement demonstration projects completed in Utah during an unprecedented drought.
The final report documents information gathered from both the rancher and professional point of view. It includes applicable before and after photos, tables, charts, statistics and contact information. The report was distributed to a wide audience of educators, agencies and producers.
To place a publication of recent demonstration projects testing new methods, techniques and innovative approaches to sustainable grazing and range management into the hands of range professionals, landowners, federal and state agencies and educators.
In 2002, the Utah Legislature and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service together funded $146,000 in grants to the ranching community for range demonstration projects. The grants were administered through the Utah Grazingland Network (UGN) a coalition of private non-profit organizations, university and agencies representing livestock grazers formerly organized as the Utah Grazingland Conservation Initiative (GLCI). Over the last four years, livestock producers, county weed departments, soil conservation districts and various other entities have utilized these funds for projects to improve Utah’s rangeland.
Projects varied from using new equipment and technology to trying ‘simple’ changes in grazing management. A large number of projects dealt with weed and brush control, plant variety and forage trials and riparian improvements. Monitoring evaluation ranged from simple photographs to satellite imagery.
The UGN report documents theses innovative approaches to sustainable grazing and range management in Utah. These accounts are unique in that they include real-life results. Most of theses projects were performed on grazing land by the landowners themselves during unprecedented drought conditions.
This report is intended to increase knowledge and interest in sustainable livestock production, particularly in what helps grazing land survive droughts. It is our hope that this information will be useful to those in search of real-life solutions. We are especially grateful to our Utah partnership and those members of the UGN representing their respective producers who make their living from the land.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
The Utah Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, d.b.a. Utah Grazingland Network, UGN received $15,045 in WSARE funding to produce and distribute in Utah and the intermountain west region, a report describing the results of recent demonstration projects from both the rancher and professional point of view with applicable before and after photos, tables, charts, statistics and contact information. The report will also be published on the internet.
Outreach and Publications
Grazinglands, Utah range and pasture demonstration projects – real-life results was published in July and has been distributed through a mass mailing to over 300 recipients. In addition, the publication was made available at the November 2006 UACD conference for attendees. Furthermore, the report was published on the internet and is available to download and print as a PDF.
UGN has made available 500 hard copies of the report. Over 300 copies were directly mailed to the list of intended recipients as outlined in the initial proposal. Additionally, hard copies were made available to attendees during the recent Utah Association of Conservation Districts (UACD) convention. The report is also available online at http://www.uacd.org/pdf/grazinglandsxxx.pdf to read electronically or to print.
Since reports were recently mailed and made available online, potential impacts at this time are unknown. However, UGN has already received several positive comments and words of thanks from landowners and local agencies for the contents of the report.
We also expect that many intangible, immeasurable outcomes will accrue including:
Increased contact between professionals and producers with those conducting the individual demonstration projects
Increased implementation of sustainable grazing land and habitat improvement projects
Increased knowledge and interest in sustainable livestock production, particularly in what helps grazing lands survive droughts
Expanded reach of the Utah Grazingland Network and affiliates.
Increased or continued sponsorship of similar grazing land demonstration projects
Encouragement of future widespread distribution of demonstration or on-farm or producer-driven type project experience.
Further sharing and quicker reporting of similar projects in the future.
Development of a closer-knit network of researchers and practitioners involved in testing practices and methods leading to more sustainable grazing lands
Compiling this report has had its hardships (mainly with staff turnover) but we feel as though the final report has been a great accomplishment. Oftentimes demonstration projects receive little notice besides the landowner and the agencies that work directly on them. This report allows others to learn of the unique demonstration projects that have taken place in Utah. It also provides the reader with an understanding from the landowner point of view of the positives and the negatives of their range projects. Beyond the projects themselves, this publication highlights the benefits of partnerships and provides real-life examples of working partnerships composed of federal, state and private interests.
As the report has recently been made available, there has been little feedback. However, we anticipate that the report is well received and provides landowners with increased knowledge and interest in innovative approaches to sustainable grazing and range land management in Utah.
In compiling this report we found great cooperation by landowners to provide feedback on their range improvement demonstration projects. This type of firsthand knowledge by those most affected by the project is vital to record and share among other range professionals. Based on the unique experiences and outcomes captured in this report, we recommend that additional reports of this type continue to be compiled and distributed.