406 Grazing Academy

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2024: $98,954.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2026
Grant Recipient: Montana Department of Natural Resources Conservation
Region: Western
State: Montana
Principal Investigator:
Stacey Barta
Montana Department of Natural Resources Conservation
Rachel Frost
Montana State University
Dr. Jeff Mosley
Montana State University


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal abstract:

Approximately 70 percent of Montana is
made up of rangeland and pasturelands, making grazing lands
Montana's largest natural resource; of this 70 percent more than
40 million acres are privately-owned grazing lands. To help
protect and promote the importance of this resource, the
Rangeland Resource Program (RRP) was created by the Montana
in 1979.
Housed within the Conservation and
Resource Development Division at the Montana Department of
Natural Resources, the mission of the RRP is to assure that
sustainable rangelands support people, wildlife, recreation,
clean water, and the natural scenic beauty of

The RRP has a multifaceted purpose
which includes advocating for the balanced use of rangeland
resources and the promotion of responsible rangeland stewardship;
one of the educational opportunities the RRP provides to a
diverse audience is the 406 Grazing Academy. The 406 is a
three-day hands-on learning experience followed up with an
optional ranch visit that provides attendees the opportunity to
learn about sustainable grazing management techniques and
practices specific to their land/operation. Since its inception
in 2021, 83 ranch managers, producers, and various professionals
serving in the agriculture industry have attended the academy and
increased their knowledge of grazing practices for livestock and
wildlife, plant identification, soil health, invasive plant
management, and rangeland monitoring

Project objectives from proposal:

The objectives and curricula of
the 406 Grazing Academy align perfectly with the SARE
406 teaches attendees
about the environmental,
social, and economic dimensions of sustainable agriculture. The
406 is a mul
ti-organizational effort that
brings together
respected professionals and
that are well-known as innovators
in conservation and
agriculture practices to educate others about the
importance of sustainably grazed and managed
In addition to the in-class sessions, attendees also spend time
at various field sites performing hands-on rangeland monitoring
techniques, improving their plant identification skills, and
learning about soils. The teaching team of the 406 is comprised
of university faculty, experienced agency personnel, and
innovative local producers; all of which bring varied knowledge
and experience to share with attendees. The 406 provides an
interfacing opportunity for networking, relationship building and
collaboration on a grassroots level
. Due to the structure of the
curricula and teaching team
, attendees are encouraged to build
relationships and collaborative networking opportunities with
teaching staff
during the hands-on field portions of
the academy
and through the optional ranch
can be scheduled after the academy

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.