Ranchers Mentoring Network - Ranchers Sharing Ideas with Ranchers

2010 Annual Report for LNC09-308

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $175,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: North Central
State: North Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Mary Stevens
Dakota Prairies RC&D

Ranchers Mentoring Network - Ranchers Sharing Ideas with Ranchers


2010 Annual Report

This project provides information and education to improve soil health, profitability; sustainability and quality of the environment and natural resource base. This project implements a transitional approach beginning with educational resources to raise awareness and motivate producers, partner agencies, and other stakeholders through educational workshops, tours, camps, and related activities.

As short term outcomes are realized this project will provide a change in perception and attitudes developing within the target audience. They will gain an expanded base of knowledge and understanding, and will be motivated to learn more regarding such topics as: how to implement concepts and practices that improve systems diversity and soil health; how improvements in systems diversity and soil health can be realized by converting to a sustainable, holistic systems approach that addresses the implementation of a combination of practices that individually provide positive outcomes, and contribute to the ultimate outcomes of improved soil health, profitability, sustainability, and quality of life.

Intermediate outcomes will become visible as producers actually begin to implement these new practices on their own farms and ranches. They will draw from their attendance and participation in educational workshops, tours, camps, and related activities that demonstrate the effectiveness of implementing this new technology and the strategies that go with it. They will also begin to utilize the expertise of trained and experienced producer-mentors and other specialists who will be available for one-on-one, on-farm assistance as they begin their transition. As they begin to implement what they have learned they will begin to realize individual outcomes on their operation. These benefits include: improvements in range land health; increased grazing capacity; increased ground cover, riparian health, water infiltration, wildlife habitat; a reduction in soil and water erosion; greater utilization of water and sunlight; reduction in fertilizer and pesticide inputs; and increased biodiversity.

These outcomes will also be visible in the long term, as they provide the foundation for healthy soil, and lead to the additional broad-based outcomes previously listed.

Long term outcomes will become visible as this transition is implemented and improved over time. The ultimate goal is to incorporate the various strategies to assist participating producers so they will realize a measurable improvement in soil health, more profit, and long-term sustainability. As intermediate outcomes are realized, these will all come together to achieve this long term outcome.

A secondary outcome will be an expansion in the number of trained and qualified mentors. As producers make the transition and become experienced and trained, they will be encouraged to become additional mentors for the project. Likewise, other stakeholders will also be capable to train new stakeholders, and serve as an encouragement to producers making the transition.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The products of this project will include the following:

a) Eight regional management workshops, seminars, or field/pasture tours each year, held at different locations around the state. This will give producers, agency field personnel, and ag-business personnel an opportunity to receive both classroom and hands-on training from specialists and producer-mentors. 50-400 participants typically attend these events, depending on location, producer interest level, and timing. Field tours and similar hands-on events are usually held in mid to late summer, while workshops and seminars are typically held in late fall and winter.
b) Sponsorships for 3-5 individuals (per year) to receive professional improvement training at regional three to five-day workshop/seminars. These are producers who wish to receive more intensive education on specific topics they have chosen, to help them with further implementation or as a train-the-trainer component to equip them to become mentors.
c) Ranchers or lenders range camps will be designed as three to five-day camps on or near a select field/pasture location to provide more intensive hands-on education. There will be 3 ranchers’ camps and two lenders’ camps over the three-year period. Camps will be designed to allow for considerable one-on-one assistance from the trainers, so maximum attendance numbers will not be large and will be determined by availability of training capacity.
d) Mentorship training will be provided by trained mentors who are members of the NDGLC. They will provide up to 825 hours of their time to work one-on-one with individual producers who are working to implement the management strategies and technologies of this project. Mentors will provide up to 16 hours per producer, so it is anticipated that they will mentor at least 50 individuals or families per year.
e) News articles, activity promotional pages, and news release information will be provided for inclusion in select newsletters and publications that reach the target audience of producers, ag landowners, and agency and ag-business-related stakeholders. These will be developed and distributed as needed during the tenure of this project. This information will reach approximately 10,000 individuals and families of the target audience across the state, annually.
f) Brochures that explain the program and provide contact information will be developed and distributed to the target audience on an ongoing basis. Distribution will include handouts at workshops and other project events, individual mailings, email, etc., utilizing existing and updated mailing lists from NDGLC, RC&D, NRCS, and NDSU Extension, and various other stakeholder agencies. This will require at least 10,000 brochures during the term of the project.


  • The following accomplishments were accomplished in 2010 by the Producer Mentors:

    50 Speaking Engagements (Total of 82 since Dec. 2008)
    34 Farm Visits/Tours on Producer’s operations (total 45 since 12/08)
    289 one-on-one contacts since Dec. 2009 (total 662 since 12/08)
    5 Booths at various events in 2010 (Total of 10 booths since 12/08)
    29 Sponsorships to training (Total of 50 sponsorship since 12/08)
    6 published articles in the ND Stockman’s Magazine
    Purchase of resource materials; Stockmanship Video and Bud Williams Marketing DVDs.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

This is a very comprehensive educational program, and those who choose to adopt these positive practices need the assistance of a mentor to capture the full benefits of it. The NDGLC brings in that assistance from producers who have been successfully following this program, working through the challenges, and now enjoying the great benefits it has to offer.

Other partners will also provide technical assistance for many of the project activities. County Extension educators (NDSU) and local Soil Conservation Districts (SCDs) are involved in hosting some of the events and demonstration sites, and in providing educators and facilitators for some events that will be conducted in their local areas. Additionally, NDSU Extension, NRCS, US Fish and Wildlife Service, ND Forest Service, ND Department of Health, and the ND Department of Agriculture provide assistance and educational instruction utilizing specialists related to crops and range science, water quality, waste management, engineering, forestry and wildlife management. It must be noted however, that a few workshops and range camps may include instruction from specialists who work independently of the above agencies or organizations, and receive personal compensation for that effort.

NDGLC producer-mentors are assigned to individual producers who request mentor assistance. At times it requires assistance from more than one mentor per producer, depending on the individual needs of that producer and specific area of expertise of each mentor. This is accomplished in an integrated approach where several mentors examine the plan or concern and provide input to reach a consensus for the best possible outcome for the producer.


Troy Vollmer

40103 353 St NE
Wing, ND 58494
Office Phone: 7019432431
Wendel Vigen

849 114th Ave NW
Killdeer, ND 58640
Office Phone: 7018636938
Darrell Oswald

29570 327th St NE
Wing, ND 58494
Office Phone: 7019432441
John Lee Njos

Rt Box 2
Rhame, ND 58651
Office Phone: 7012796920
Kenny Miller

5705 Hwy 1806
Fort Rice, ND 58554
Office Phone: 7016639350
Brian Maddock

4261 53rd Ave NE
Maddock, ND 58348
Office Phone: 7014382765
Myron Lick

1919 21st ST NW
Ruso, ND 58775
Office Phone: 7014489160
Josh Heinrich

8945 57th St SE
Adrian, ND 58472
Office Phone: 7017787134
Dave Heinrich

8915 57th St SE
Adrian, ND 58472
Office Phone: 7017785111
Gene Goven

1824 15th Ave NW
Turtle Lake, ND 58575
Office Phone: 7014482405
Lance Gartner

6285 46th St
Glen Ullin, ND 58631
Office Phone: 7013483740
Joe Fritz

15681 Elk Creek Rd
Beach, ND 58621
Office Phone: 7018724496
Steve Fettig

3792 68th St SE
Wishek, ND 58495
Office Phone: 7014522813
Nick Faulkner

1921 21st St NW
Ruso, ND 58778
Office Phone: 7014489210
Paul Brown

3752 106 St SE
Wishek, ND 58503
Office Phone: 7012228602
Gabe Brown

3752 106 St NE
Bismarck, ND 58503
Office Phone: 7012228602
Chester Brandt

3132 County Rd 89
Hebron, ND 58638
Office Phone: 7018784966
Jeff Blees

1730 W Wichita Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
Office Phone: 7012207278
Wayne Berry

1611 11th Ave W
Williston, ND 58801
Office Phone: 7015729183
Linn Berg

6700 366th St NE
Sterling, ND 58572
Office Phone: 7012262868
Keith Bartholomay

14618 57th St S
Sheldon, ND 58068
Office Phone: 7018823460
Larry Woodbury

6295 Co Road 23
McLeod, ND 58057
Office Phone: 7014392605