After a summer of historic drought and wildfires, ranchers in the Pine Ridge of Nebraska need to be able to utilize a wide variety of management tools to overcome extreme challenges. University of Nebraska Extension and Gallagher Corporation North America are co-sponsoring the "Green Pasture Drought Recovery Symposium," set for Monday, May 6 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Crawford Community Hall in Crawford.
According to Scott Cotton, UNL Extension educator in Chadron, a session on using electric fencing to get back into operation after fires will be presented by UNL Extension educator, Jenny Nixon, and Ray Williams with Gallagher.
UNL Extension beef and range specialist, Karla Jenkins, will present important considerations when limit feeding cows in dry lot.
UNL Extension educator, Brian Strauch, will discuss utilizing a five-year planning tool for making cow/calf drought decisions.
Pat Reece, owner of the grazing consulting firm, Prairie and Montane Enterprises, LLC, will talk about four steps to skillful grazing management using the cumulative forage reduction index.
The northern Panhandle was hit hard in 2012 by extreme drought and massive wildfires. More than 150,000 acres of rangeland and forest burned in Dawes, Sheridan and Sioux counties during an eight-day period in early September and in other smaller fires throughout the summer.
Now, Panhandle ranchers are trying to find opportunity in the face of these challenges, says Cotton. The fires devastated already strained grazing land, and destroyed hay, homes, ranch structures, corrals and over 2000 miles of fence.
He says that the fires will have long range economic impact on agriculture and communities. Grazing land, already ravaged by drought, was also scorched by fires. Over 1000 families are impacted economically and emotionally by the disaster. "The symposium is designed to start helping drought and fire-impacted landowners, especially those in Sioux, Dawes and Sheridan counties, with options to recover," says Cotton.
The symposium is free and lunch will be provided, but producers should pre-register by May 2 by calling 308-432-3373 or 308-668-2428.
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