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Their introduction to holistic ranch management techniques called into question long-held, traditional ways of thinking. The drastic changes that followed required a leap of faith for the fourth-generation ranchers. They traded harvesting hay for grazing methods that let their cattle harvest the forage themselves. Such changes didn’t happen overnight, and each came with its own risk and learning curve.
By: K. Gregg Elliott
Like almost everyone else in his rural community, Gabe had been farming and ranching using conventional methods since purchasing his Brown’s Ranch from the parents of his wife Shelly in 1991. Possibly because he had not grown up on a farm, Gabe found that he was constantly asking the question, “why do we do things this way?”
By: Northwest Florida Water Management District
On March 2, 2018, a large prescribed burn occurred at the Yellow River Water Management Area in Santa Rosa County, Florida, which is managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. Weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal and resources were available for the Florida Forest Service to approve the burn permit. Aerial ignition via helicopter started the fire systematically across the landscape. Ground firing and monitoring crews, consisting of 15 personnel were stationed at the tract perimeter as ground support during the burn.
By: USDA Forest Service
Over four long days in late March 2011, the most severe wildfire outbreak in a decade occurred at Eglin Air Force Base, located near Destin, Florida (Fig. 1). A persistent drought, 20 mph winds and low humidity, combined with 12-15 arson fires on the property, resulted in 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days. Due to Eglin’s aggressive prescribed fire program, the March 2011 wildfire severity and acres burned were significantly reduced. Without this regular fuel reduction, anywhere from 10-12,000 acres could have burned just on the Eglin side, with untold acres burned and property damaged north of Interstate 10.
By: US Forest Service
On July 14, 2015, a lightning strike ignited a wildfire on Bald Knob in the Grandfather Ranger District (GRD) of the Pisgah National Forest. Only 30 miles outside of Asheville, North Carolina and on rugged terrain difficult to access, the wildfire may have posed greater threat had it not been adjacent to areas containing recent fuel treatments (prescribed fire) and wildfires. These treatments, as part of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), reduced fire fuel loads in the forest and enabled the Bald Knob fire to safely burn while protecting firefighters, local residents, structures, power line corridors, communication towers, and Forest Service property and surrounding land. Fuel treatments positively influenced the fire’s spread and allowed firefighting efforts to truly focus on protection of private properties. The inaccessible terrain as well as the confine and contain strategy allowed ample time to keep the effected community well informed of current fire behavior, smoke impacts and management plans for the fire.
Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) worked with multiple partners to protect 16,000 acres of key sage grouse habitat on the Cross Mountain Ranch in Moffat County.
Saguache Creek is located in the northwest corner of southern Colorado’s beautiful and agriculturally significant San Luis Valley. The corridor has a long history of sustaining productive ranches.
The 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado represents three generations of a family keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive.
The Hutchinson family worked to permanently protect nearly the entire ranch. The easement will allow them to transfer the operation of the ranch to the sixth generation of Hutchinsons and will provide the family with the financial resources they need to continue to work the land.
The Cross L Ranch is home to a family-owned commercial hay operation, as well as a large diversity of wildlife, including elk, mule deer, Sandhill cranes and bald eagles. Working with CCALT in 2014, owners John and Tawny Halandras created a conservation easement.
Since 2007, CCALT has partnered with several ranching families to conserve over 20,000 acres of working, productive ranchland in North Park.
The Ladder Ranch is a working sheep, cattle and hay ranch headquartered along the Colorado-Wyoming border, northwest of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and east of Savery, Wyoming. The operation has evolved from a survival mode pioneer enterprise to a significant production and conservation ranch.
By: Richard L. Knight
Organizing around the Laramie Foothills Group, with city and county residents passing sales taxes to help conserve open spaces, a remarkable coalition of rural and urban constituencies merged to ensure that land beyond city limits stayed open and productive