Grassland Management an Environmental Solution

Production Agriculture can be the Leader in Environmental Solutions of the Future. Tell the story, offer the evidence, and see to it that the politicians understand the value production agriculture can offer!

Those involved in agriculture have the tools and knowledge to correct many of the environmental problems that face our finite natural resources. Whether it be, according to Aldo Leopold, “The axe, plow, cow, fire and gun” or the many combinations of modern tools available. (Which are extensions of the tools Leopold advocated.) The leadership and learning institutions of our nation must do all they can to assist the knowledgeable artists of agriculture production in seeing to it that the environment is improving and stable for generations to come.

There is little doubt that man has always had an influence over the environment, or at least since man first appeared on the scene. In many cases his influence has been negative, utilizing natures (The Lords) creations to his benefit, mining the resources available and paying little attention to the long-term effects of his use of those resources. Those in agriculture production have long recognized their influence over natures resources that they utilize, and many have become true artists in the renewal of those God given assets.

In the beginning man was only concerned with survival and justifiably so, all he had to do was figure out how to utilize the many things available to him. Over time as he developed those mental skills necessary to become proficient at survival, he began advancing a culture and sought to build a quality life for he, his family and the community surrounding him. All the while ‘mining’ the resources available to him as they seemed to be endless in availability. History is littered with failed nations and cultures that used or mined the land resource to the point that the soils he was using deteriorated from loss of fertility and erosion– to the point that the culture failed from starvation or political dissatisfaction that ultimately destroyed the cultural infrastructure that had been sought by its people.

As the world has arguably been populated in all sectors, there are no longer new lands to move to and develop so that man can exploit and mine the soil to the point of destruction. For man to survive, it must be recognized that soil is a renewable resource -that when nurtured by man- can produce ever more productive crops, livestock, and environmentally sustaining benefits to the world we reside in.  It is not necessary for man to till or graze the land to the point of severe erosion and near total loss of fertility of those soils. It is not necessary for man to accept the argued premise that CO2 will become an environmentally unacceptable detriment to the world we depend on for survival. Man must recognize that he has caused the severe depletion of the soil resource and that he can begin to make a difference in recovering what has been lost.

Fall rangeland depicting both warm season and cool season grasses expressing excellent health. A look at the soil structure beneath these healthy plants is the exciting part.

Fall rangeland depicting both warm season and cool season grasses expressing excellent health. A look at the soil structure beneath these healthy plants is the exciting part.

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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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