The purpose of this award is to recognize those who have demonstrated excellent skill and knowledge in practicing sound grazing management of their range and associated forage crops. Recognition will be given by the Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management to rangeland operators for excellence in the application of grazing management, with due consideration to their knowledge and skill. Applications for awards are due by January 23rd.
Email the completed application form(s) for the Excellence in Rangeland Management Award to:
Shelly Wiggam at firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation of awards will be at the Kansas Section annual meeting in the fall. If you have any questions on the application process, please contact Shelly Wiggam at: email@example.com
Spring Creek Ranch, Dan and Kathy Miller
It doesn’t take long in conversation about the ranch to see that Dan and his wife Kathy are proponents of good stewardship practices to maintain the health of their tallgrass prairie pastures. Dan was committed to long-term preservation of the prairie and thus enrolled a good percentage of the land into the Grassland Reserve Program with USDA-NRCS. Dan and Kathy have invested in cross-fencing to manage livestock grazing and water developments to provide dependable water supplies for the livestock that graze on their ranch. One spring development on the ranch used to provide water via an old wooden pipeline to Cottonwood Falls. The spring development now provides dependable water to 2 separate pastures via pipeline and tanks. During the recent drought, Dan took advantage of the low water levels in ponds and had them cleaned out to add capacity and put pipelines through the dams to allow tank installation below the ponds. Dan has also implemented rotational grazing when grazing cows and utilizes an intensive early stocking system with stockers to provide late-season rest for his pastures. He also recognized drought as it came upon the ranch and was proactive in management by reducing livestock numbers to match the forage production during those dry years. Dan and Kathy live in Cimarron, Kansas and thus rely on their daughter, Katie Miller, and ranch manager T.J. Bryan to carry out daily management of ranch operations. As a team, they prioritize stewardship at Spring Creek Ranch.
Graham Farms/Graham School–Anderson County
Frank Graham has instinctively managed his native grass and cattle operation to continuously improve his rangeland health. He also runs the Graham School teaching hundreds of operators proper AI techniques. The Graham Ranch is a family run operation that puts conservation minded management first. Frank has improved the health of his rangeland through proper grazing techniques, rotation, and rest. He has put water quality and quantity at the top of his list of priorities. Through proper AI techniques and animal selection Graham Farms has built a high quality cow herd that reach their maximum potential and profitability. Wildlife conservation and management go hand in hand on Graham Farms. Frank has replanted or rehabilitated over 40 acres back to native grass and installed several buffer strips throughout his land to improve habitat for native wildlife species. Frank and his son have removed dozens of acres of invasive and encroaching trees in order to promote healthy ecosystems throughout their property. Graham Farms goes above and beyond when it comes to land management and it shows.
Pearce Ranch –Wallace County
The Pearce Ranch, operated by Brian Pearce and Ben Johnson is a working ranch. They have always accepted and accounted for use during drought and appreciated the few moist times as a bonus without taking extra advantage, allowing root systems to buildup. They have always tried to use up-to-date grazing and wildlife management techniques. A head of normal High Plains grazing culture, they have used NRCS EQIP grazing and Lesser Prairie Chicken programs to refine their system. Ranch personnel frequently want reviews of plant identification and help to monitor grazing pressure and upland bird habitat value.