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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394144

Research Project: Adaptive Grazing Management and Decision Support to Enhance Ecosystem Services in the Western Great Plains

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: King Ranch: Ranching on the edge

item Derner, Justin
item ROBERTS, KENDALL - Producer
item EISELE, MARK - Producer
item Wilmer, Hailey
item Mortenson, Matthew
item FREEMAN, PAM - Retired ARS Employee
item LOCKMAN, REX - Laramie County Conservation District

Submitted to: Rangelands
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2022
Publication Date: 12/31/2022
Citation: Derner, J.D., Eisele, K., Eisele, M., Wilmer, H.N., Mortenson, M.C., Freeman, P., Lockman, R. 2022. King Ranch: Ranching on the edge. Rangelands. 44:411-417.

Interpretive Summary: There are many paths to successful ranching and rangeland management. As social, ecological, and economic conditions change, successful ranchers maintain good communication and social networks, creatively maintain multiple forms of flexibility, seek out new partnerships and knowledge, and find ways to turn challenges into opportunities. We provide an overview of one ranch that for generations has continually adapted to new challenges while operating near Wyoming’s largest city. We offer lessons learned from this ranch to the broader rangeland community. The case of the King Ranch, established in 1911, brings to light some of the decision-making approaches, management strategies, and partnerships that ranchers use to manage complex and uncertain systems for multiple goals. The King Ranch illustrates how this commitment to adaptation can enhance ranch profitability and longevity as well as also creating ecologically and socially beneficial outcomes for rangeland systems by enhancing wildlife.

Technical Abstract: • Infrastructure and associated development pressure from the expansion of cities provide challenges that ranchers can turn into opportunities as they “Ranch on the Edge”. • “Make lemonade when lemons are presented” through creative collaborations enhances economic opportunities to continue involvement of the next generation of family, leverage existing skill sets and ranch assets, and embrace community-centric relations. • Management-science partnerships involving multiple local, state, and federal entities on contemporary issues foster bi-directional knowledge transfer and learning.