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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


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Title: Characterizing Wyoming ranching operations: natural resource goals, management practices and information sources)

item Kachergis, Emily
item Derner, Justin
item Mealor, Rachel
item Magagna, Jim
item Tate, Ken
item Lubell, Mark
item Eviner, Valerie
item Roche, Leslie

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2012
Publication Date: 11/30/2012
Citation: Kachergis, E.J., Derner, J.D., Mealor, R., Magagna, J., Tate, K., Lubell, M., Eviner, V., Roche, L. 2012. Characterizing Wyoming ranching operations: natural resource goals, management practices and information sources. In: Proceedings Strategic grazing management for complex adaptive systems. Society for Range Management, 29-30 November 2012. p. 25.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: What are the characteristics of Wyoming ranches, and how do they manage natural resources on 29 million acres of rangelands? In cooperation with the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA)—a predominant agricultural organization in the state—we asked WSGA producer members about their goals, ranching operation characteristics, and management practices via a mail survey. A total of 307 ranchers (50%) responded to the survey. Livestock production and forage production were survey respondents’ primary natural resource management goals, with ecosystem characteristics that support these goals (e.g. soil health, water quality) tied for second. Survey respondents’ ranches had a median size of 10,440 acres, but ranged up to 458,000 acres; 71% of operations included public leased land and 60% included private leased land. The majority of reporting operations grazed cow-calf pairs (91%), with a median of 260 pairs per ranch. Stockers were also common (44%). Most survey respondents managed grazing by moving 1-5 herds of livestock (84%) among two or more pastures (92%) after three months of grazing or less (87%). Most operations also included other activities that affect land management (72%), with extractive recreation (55%), other agricultural production (20%), and conventional energy development (23%) most common. Survey respondents primarily got information about grazing management from other ranchers (97%), although they preferred to receive information through print publications (68%) rather than by word of mouth or the internet. A better understanding of ranch goals, characteristics, management practices, and information sources can inform efforts to improve food production and conservation in Wyoming.

Last Modified: 05/29/2017
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