Achieving Rangeland Sustainability Through Total Resource Management
The Total Resource Management Program is designed to train natural resource agency and other interested parties in the application of Strategic Management concepts to natural resource management. The program is being developed to enable personnel from natural resource assistance professions to apply these concepts in their daily assistance interactions with landowners/managers.
Under the leadership of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, a Steering Committee of natural resource experts was designated to guide in the development of the program. The Steering Committee membership includes expertise in rangeland ecology and management, wildlife management, and agriculture economics. The Steering Committee membership includes TAEX Range Specialists, the Texas State Range Conservationist (NRCS), County Extension Agents (TAEX), Technical Guidance Biologists (TP&W), and Wildlife and Range Extension Associates (TAEX).
The Steering Committee is assisted by the participation of numerous other producers and natural resource management personnel that serve on the programs Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee provides leadership and advice on materials developed by the Steering Committee. The Advisory Committee also provides a larger perspective on the subject through the inclusion of persons involved with operations based upon the use of natural resources (landowners/land managers). Materials developed by the Steering Committee are distributed through those members of the Advisory Committee for comment and input on subject matter. The Advisory Committee includes all members of the Steering Committee, the TAEX District Director from Region 6 (Trans-Pecos), four ranchers, a natural resource consultant, a TAEX programs evaluation expert and the Chairman of the Texas A&M University SARE committee. Other project advisors include the Grazinglands Conservation Initiative(NGO), the Texas Section-Society for Range Management, Holistic Resource Management of Texas (NGO), the Center for Grazinglands and Ranch Management (TAMU) and several independent ranchers from across the state.
At this time, the Steering Committee has met and completed a “brainstorming” activity that resulted in a general topic outline for the curriculum to be presented in the program. The TRM Steering Committee continues to interact via electronic correspondence to refine details regarding the workshop curriculum and workshop format. The curriculum has been completed in draft form and is being prepared for dispersal to the Advisory Committee for review and comment. Four workshops have been scheduled for various sites across the state that will provide an opportunity for agency personnel to attend the training. Due to the size of the State of Texas, workshops have not been able to be placed in all regions, but the continuation of the program after the initial workshops will provide for training opportunities statewide.
Originally the program was proposed to assist CEA’s who work primarily with “traditional” landowners (>5000 acres); however, the Steering Committee, during its “brainstorm” meeting, identified another clientele that would potentially be better served by the program, “non-traditional” or absentee landowners/managers. The continued fragmentation of habitat in the State of Texas presents a new challenge to persons involved with natural resource assistance programs. It is the goal of this program to provide these assistance personnel with a means for educating their new and continually growing clientele. Though designed to address the needs of the new clientele, the concepts and techniques developed for the program are applicable to the traditional clientele that natural resource agency personnel assist. In this way, we have been able to achieve a “win – win” program that meets the needs of all persons involved with the management and sustainability of the natural resources of the State of Texas.
The program is based upon the concepts of Strategic Management that are commonly implemented in the corporate business community. By adapting these concepts to natural resource management, we will provide a means for landowners/managers to set goals for their operations, plan actions at the strategic (20+ years), tactical (5 years) and operational (daily activities) levels of their operations. Through the Total Resource Management approach, all enterprises are incorporated into the program and can implement the concepts for their particular situation. Again, this provides the “win – win” situation by adapting a process that can be used by production agriculture operations, wildlife management operations or those who own/manage land for any other reasons (eco-tourism, aesthetic, etc.).
As stated above, the workshops have been scheduled across the state and will be conducted in March/April and July/August of 2000. Originally, the workshops were proposed to be three day sessions, but at the suggestion of the Steering Committee this format was altered to have each workshop set with two sessions conducted two to three weeks apart. This allows the incorporation of participant “homework” that provides a valuable means of “hands on” training. The workshops are designed to bring forward management biases by each of the participating agencies through individual agency application to a particular scenario. From there, the workshop will go through the details of Total Resource Management and the application of strategic management in natural resources. Then participants from each agency will be grouped together to work through natural resource management scenarios applying the TRM approach and illustrating how the approach can help streamline and make more efficient natural resource management assistance. Upon completion of the four workshops, the Steering Committee through the TAEX Associate coordinating the program will evaluate the training process, materials and outcomes from the program.
- 1. Involve producers and appropriate resource managers in planning, implementing and evaluating various phases of the project.
2. Develop training materials and program support resources including:
a) Develop a training manual, 12 fact sheets, 3 software packages, and a website as program support materials.
b) Assist in the development of an interactive Electronic Technology Transfer System to support the TRM program.
3. Develop and conduct 4 three-session workshops to train 80 County Extension Agents (CEA’s) and NRCS Conservationists, and other Agency personnel over a two-year period.
4. Enlarge te thinking and change the paradigms of participants from single components to “total” and/or ecosystem interactions in relation to ranch management decisions. Participants learn from both financial and biological perspectives (and from the rancher’s perspective) skills including problem-solving, risk-management decision-making, analytical, and planning skills.
5. Participants will understand and apply this planning process to set goals and define actions to be taken in specific ranch situations.
Texas Cooperative Extension
Fort Stockton, TX 79735-1298
Office Phone: 9153368585
Professor & Extension Range Specialist
Texas Cooperative Extension
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2126
Office Phone: 9798452755