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Serving: West

Conner Ranch tames ‘tough country’ with conservation

Slideshow: Dan and Cindi Conner manage grass, sagebrush and water to help livestock and wildlife flourish together.

“It’s tough country,” Dan Conner said at the start of a tour of his ranch located north of Belle Fourche, S.D., last summer.

The short grass prairie soil is mostly gumbo. Mix it with straw and you can make bricks.

Winters are harsh. Summers can be scorching. Precipitation is usually meager.

But the work that Dan and his wife, Cindi, have done over the past 40 years to increase grass production and develop year-round water sources has made the ranch one of the best in West. Comprised of 10,000 acres of deeded and Bureau of Land Management leased ground, Conner Ranch supports cattle, sheep and many species of wildlife including antelope, deer and sage grouse.

Learn more about Dan and Cindi’s operation by watching the “Our Amazing Grasslands” video about them, produced by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s South Dakota state office.

Click through the gallery to see photos from the tour of Conner Ranch.

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