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‘Drought-proofing’ rancher, grazing systems experts at grazing lands conference

Arkansas ranchers conference stresses that conservation practices won’t break the bank. Agenda available here.

A Kansas rancher who believes in working toward “drought proofing,” and experts on grazing systems are on the agenda at the Arkansas Grazing Lands Conference, Aug. 21-22 at the Wyndham in North Little Rock.

The conference theme is “Profit through Conservation.”

“Many producers think implementing conservation practices is an expense, however, we will see through several presentations that conservation is a product of improved land management and will add to the profitability of an operation,” said Paul Casey, farm manager for Heifer Project.

“At a time when drought has gripped so much of the nation, conserving resources, especially water, is a high priority,” said John Jennings, professor-forage, for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “Attendees can learn new techniques to help them better manage the resources they’ve got."

  • Ted Alexander lives by the philosophy ancora imparo or “I am still learning.” He doesn't claim to have it all figured out, but he has the passion to push onward to improve, including working to drought-proof his Medicine Lodge, Kan., operation -- a place that receives just 21 inches of rain a year. Since 1984, Alexander has implemented practices recommended by Soil Conservation Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, such as cross fencing, ponds, and other water developments, plus solar power to move water from storage to cattle. Alexander speaks on Aug. 22 on contract grazing.
  • Doug Peterson has been a Natural Resources Conservation Service employee for more than 20 years. Currently he is a State Grassland Conservationist assisting producers over much of the state. He is also on the National Soil Health Training Team. He operates a cow/calf and contract grazing operation with his father. Currently they run about 500 cows and use Management-Intensive Grazing and High Density Grazing to improve soil health, eliminate the need for most purchased fertilizer and limit hay needs to about one bale per cow per winter. Peterson speaks about soils on Aug. 22.
  • Ron Morrow recently retired as the state grazing lands specialist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas. He presently raises beef cattle and direct markets grass-fed beef through Ozark Pasture Beef. Ron spent 20 years at the University of Missouri, where he taught beef cattle production, introductory animal science classes and classes in grazing management. Morrow will speak on “Grazing for Livestock Needs” on Aug. 21.
  • Gary Price and his wife, Sue, were awarded the 2012 Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship award by the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Gary has implemented a comprehensive rangeland management program to optimize rangeland conditions on the ranch. Rangeland and reseeding has also been a key practice on the ranch. Wildlife habitat management and water quality have also been areas where Gary and Sue have worked to sustainably manage. Price will speak on “Grazing Management and Wildlife” on Aug. 22.

“Every speaker at this conference is a livestock producer so this will be an incredible opportunity for Arkansas producers to learn from someone facing the same challenges they do,” Casey said.

The Arkansas Grazing Land Coalition’s primary source of funding is through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

For information about registering for the conference, contact Registration Questions:  For assistance or information, contact Debbie Moreland, Arkansas

Association of Conservation Districts, (501) 682-2915, fax (501) 682-3991, or e-mail

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