Correcting the Blame


Photo shows Big Bluestem establishing itself on a rocky upland site. Diversity of plant life is essential to a healthy rangeland, as is the density of coverage. This process takes time and patience is virtuous in the grazing mangers available tools for rangeland improvement.

Why has much of our rangeland become dominated by heavy brush? Why is the grazing capacity of much of our pastureland becoming less with each passing dry spell? Why does it seem that drought occurs more often and tends to be more severe than in the past? Why are our freshwater resources drying up, becoming harder to obtain? Why do a few rangeland managers address these issues and so many others not seem to grasp what is happening? Why are so many ranches being dispersed into small units, never to have the opportunity to be sustainable rangelands again? Why is profitability of a ranching operation so hard to consistently obtain and seems to only be a ‘dream’ for many producers?


Sounds like a young child asking questions that we adults don’t have a logical answer for, so we just avoid the answer and move on to a new topic. Of course, we ‘adults’, when asking those questions among other ‘grownups’ tend place the blame on others and other events, not looking at what we as individuals might be doing wrong. Upon finding the culprit, we blame them or at least what the perceived cause is and move on to a new topic, still not looking for practicable answers that most likely involve personal decisions that can only be corrected by that individual.


It is time we recognize what has happened to our rangeland and act. Not continue to put the blame on the effects not the cause. That cause is the result of poor grazing practices over time. (Yes, lack of fire may be a contributor to that cause, however poor grazing management is one of the causes of the loss of fire as a management tool.) Open discussion and acceptance of the fact that we all, (Ranchmen and scientists alike) have been working fervently to correct the effects and not that cause. Yes, the effects must be addressed, but without addressing the cause (Grazing management or the lack there of) we will never truly move forward to the point of correcting the environmental issues that directly affect everyone.



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Rangelands and Ranching: A Study of Proper Use of Rangelands & the Environment by Frank S Price

My son and I ranch a cow-calf, wooled sheep and hair sheep operation in West Central Texas. We operate 7 different grazing units and utilize a single herd, traditional pasture grazing program within all these units. My son represents is the 5th generation of this enterprise that was started in 1876 by my great grandfather. He and his brother began by driving a herd of cattle from Ennis Texas to Santa Anna Texas, ultimately driving the herd of cattle they had built to Kansas markets and returned to Sterling County, to begin a permanent ranching operation. Rainfall within our scattered operations runs from 17” to 20”. The winters, while going into the single digits on occasion are relatively mild compared to ranches further north, resulting in mostly mild winters producing usable cool season growth along with the dominant warm season plants.

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