In a single day, the organizers of the inaugural Range Practicum are offering a large slate of useful information. The event is slated for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 20 at the National Western Complex in Denver. Here’s a look at the many hands-on educational events scheduled.
The highlight of the event is a low-stress livestock handling workshop led by Whit Hibbard of Montana. Hibbard is a protégé of Bud Williams and is a longtime student of low-stress livestock management. The workshop will include a look at horsemanship, ranch roping and facilities design.
Even a lifelong rancher can benefit from this workshop, according to Hibbard, who says the educational sessions “will save you money and make you money.”
The event also features a Women in Ranching Forum. This is a keynote event that highlights some of the leading women in ranching across the West. The panel includes women with non-ranching backgrounds and those whose families have been ranching for many generations. Topics range from “Betting It All” to “Using Bison to Regenerate Grasslands” to “Regenerative Ranching.”
The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Mantle Ranch of Wheatland, Wyo., will host a daylong wild horse training demonstration. Topics include handling fresh-trapped horses, first touch and halter-starting the untrained horse. The demonstration will also cover include wild horse and burro issues. At the end of the day, there will be a trained wild horse auction.
Attendees can also take part in one of several horse and mule packing sessions. The hands-on class goes over introductory through intermediate packing. Advanced packing demonstrations will also be given. The class will be flexible and focus on Decker-style packing and sawbuck-style packing demonstrations. Class participant requests will guide the discussion and demonstration.
Other events include planning winter livestock water, monitoring protocols for BLM allotments and herbicide sprayer calibration. Participants can learn how to tell the differences among soils, and thus range productivity potential and limitations. A USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service soil scientist will be on hand to guide the learning.
There is also a rainfall simulator demonstration that can show ranchers how grazing impacts water infiltration into soil, as well as runoff. A prescribed fire demonstration and Western states reclamation and restoration equipment will be on display throughout the day.
There’s an added attraction the night before the event: a reception at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at the National Western Complex. James Rogers, general manager, Winecup Gamble Ranch in northeastern Nevada, will be the featured speaker. The Winecup Gamble Ranch is one of the largest ranching operations in the country.
The ranch is involved with the outcome-based grazing demonstration project initiated by BLM. The project works to develop flexible management plans with a positive impact on the range.
Cost for the Range Practicum is $85, or $45 for students. It is held during the Society of Range Management event in Denver, which runs Feb. 16-Feb. 20. For more information about the Range Practicum from the Society for Range Management, visit srm2020.org and click on the header “Range Practicum.”