Restoration of Economic and Ecological Sustainability in Western Rangeland: A Handbook
The overall purpose of our project was to compose, publish, and distribute a guidebook which will: 1) provide landowners with proven approaches to restoring productivity and sustainability to degraded rangeland, and 2) promote general use of sustainable agricultural practices by documenting their successful implementation on South Dakota rangeland. The guidebook describes restoration techniques employed on the Mortenson Ranch in Stanley County, S.D., and offers suggestions for applying these principles on other lands.
We organized the guidebook’s contents to include the following topics: 1) the need for restoration, 2) the design of a sustainable cattle grazing regime, 3) planning and constructing a dam system to improve water resources, 4) promoting the growth of native vegetation, 5) economic analysis of ranch productivity before and after restoration activities, and 6) suggestions for landowners and requests for feedback.
The 25-page booklet, entitled “The Mortenson Ranch: Cattle and Trees at Home on the Range,” was completed in September 1998 with the printing of 7,000 copies. All county extension offices in South Dakota received copies. Numerous state and federal agencies within South Dakota, students at South Dakota State University, and members of the Stockgrowers’ Association and Society for Range Management are among the groups receiving handbooks. It is available at no cost to any farmer or rancher upon request.
We anticipate distributing handbooks to many audiences (via presentations at conferences, classes, meetings) and look forward to receiving information from readers. Each handbook includes a tear-out postcard requesting suggestions and general feedback from those who used the guidebook.
Scott Astleford, rancher at White River, S.D., said the following about the guidebook: “I thought this was a very well put together guidebook. It really surprised me how it held my attention and I wanted to continue reading it. … I liked the way you kept the guidebook in general terms and did not get in to deep details. … Most ranchers and farmers would find this guidebook very interesting and educational.”
North Central Region SARE 1998 Annual Report.