Grants of more than $670,000 will be used to help expand Wyoming's ranch management skills development program into Colorado and Nebraska.
Four ranch practicums will be offered per year: two in Wyoming, one in Colorado, and one in Nebraska, explains Dallas Mount, University of Wyoming Extension educator based in Platte County, and the grant recipient.
The High Plains Ranch Practicum, already established in eastern Wyoming, is a hands-on program designed to build ranch management skills and tools.
Mount, father of the program, and Aaron Berger of University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, note that the schools are eight full days over several months.
The new school will be offered beginning in the spring.
"They will cove what we see as four focus areas for successful ranching, says Mount, including:
n Range and forage management
n Nutrition and reproduction
n Financial management
n Family and employee working relationships
A beginning rancher supplemental program will be offered for those new to the industry at all four sessions.
UNL and Colorado State University are co-authors of the grant and co-project directors. The $670,890 grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The program budget also includes $167,722 in cost-share funds.
Program partners are the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Colorado Cattlemen's Association, and the Nebraska Grazing Land Coalition.
The partner organizations will distribute scholarships to attend schools, train rancher mentors to work with targeted beginning ranchers, and provide information and educational help to newcomers at annual meetings and through quarterly publications.
"The High Plains Ranch Practicum school has been successful in training beginning and experienced ranchers since it began in 2005," notes Mount. "This grant program seemed to us to be an excellent fit with the ranch practicum, and the team that came together around this proposal was unique and greatly strengthened the proposal."For more information on the program, contact Mount at (307) 322-3667 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.