Promoting sustainable range-livestock enterprises through partnerships which develop producer mentoring networks for best management practices

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $93,006.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Paul Nyren
North Dakota State University Central Grasslands

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: range improvement, grazing - rotational, winter forage, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, integrated crop and livestock systems
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships

    Proposal abstract:

    What good is 20 years of basic and applied research of best management practices (BMPs) if the producer doesn’t understand how to incorporate the results into a sustainable and profitable 12-month system? This program will be a response to producers’ requests for a whole enterprise management system (WEMS) which will be designed at NDSU/Central Grasslands Research Extension Center (CGREC) to integrate results from long-term research studies of livestock, forage, soils, grazing and resource management into a unified plan. A coordinating committee of producers, producer mentors, and technical specialists will develop a WEMS which will utilize (BMPs) obtained from research at CGREC. This system will teach and demonstrate the importance of rangeland monitoring relevant to livestock performance and resource sustainability. A herd of 100 to 150 spring-calving cows from the center’s herd will be managed separately for the duration of the project. All pastures used in this project will be monitored using accepted range monitoring techniques designed and tested for producer use. Short term outcomes will increase producers: 1) knowledge of the importance of a WEMS, 2) understanding of the relationship between range site type and productive potential, and 3) knowledge of the process of setting up and interpreting range monitoring sites. Intermediate outcomes will: 1) focus on development of a range monitoring instruction unit which will be used at multiple youth camps, 2) implement use of improved ranch management practices and 3) development of a producer mentoring network. These outcomes will result in a long term outcome of improved range condition and sustainability, and increased farm income through adoption of WEMS.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Project Outcomes: The long-term goals of this project are: 1) Producers will use BMPs developed at CGREC in the areas of grazing management and resource monitoring, livestock management and nutrition, soils, and forage production to design and implement a WEMS which will provide sustainability and economic security. 2) Trained mentors will assist producers to develop a WEMS on their farms and ranches. 3) Facilitate communications between producers and scientists.

    Short-Term Outcomes: 1) Increase producer awareness of the potential economic returns from a properly managed forage base. 2) Assist producers to assess the productive potential of their rangeland through the use of soil maps to determine range sites. 3) Teach producers to set up and maintain a rangeland monitoring program on their land. 4) Assist producers with development of computerized records of livestock inventory, performance and sales.

    Intermediate Outcomes: 1) CGREC will develop a whole enterprise management system (WEMS) to be used for public instruction and viewing. 2) Formation of a producer mentoring network to assist producers with WEMS development on their farms.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.