Mitch Stephenson grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills and central Wyoming. He received a B.S. degree in Animal Science from BYU-Idaho and a M.S. degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Range Science where he evaluated the effect of rotational grazing methods and time of grazing on livestock performance and vegetation characteristics in the eastern Nebraska Sandhills.
Following his time at UNL, Mitch worked as a rangeland ecologist in Wyoming and Nevada where he assisted livestock producers in developing sustainable grazing management plans and range vegetation monitoring reports. He completed his Ph.D. in Range Science in December 2014 from New Mexico State University where his research focused on targeting cattle grazing with low-stress herding and low-moisture block protein supplement and evaluating factors that affect cattle grazing distribution behavior, grazing site selection, and social association patterns..
Following his Ph.D., Mitch worked with the University of Nevada -Reno as a Post-doctoral researcher evaluating the use of livestock grazing as a tool to reduce invasive annual grass biomass on a landscape scale. Mitch is currently a Range and Forage Extension Specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln based out of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff, NE.
Jack Arterburn is the Beef Systems Extension Educator for northwest Nebraska. He grew up in Sidney, Nebraska, spending a large portion of his childhood in the outdoors hunting, camping, and fishing.
Jack attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was involved in the Wildlife Club and Range Management Club. During his senior year, Jack was awarded a UCARE grant to conduct a pilot study on the impact of wildfire and grazing on Sandhills grassland.
Upon earned a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife focused on habitat management and minors in Grassland Ecology and Management and Grazing Livestock Systems, Jack was offered a Graduate Assistantship to lead a more rigorous field study to assess resilience and heterogeneity following fire in the Sandhills. He completed his master’s degree in August 2016 and accepted the Extension Educator position serving Box Butte, Dawes, Sheridan, and Sioux Counties.
He currently lives in Chadron with his wife, Emily, and son, Cogan.
Erin Laborie is a beef systems focused Extension Educator for southwest Nebraska. Erin majored in Animal Science and received her Bachelor’s degree in nutrition from The Ohio State University. She attended South Dakota State University for her Master’s degree in Animal Science with an emphasis on growing and finishing cattle nutrition.
Erin currently lives in Beaver City with her husband, John Robert, and twin daughters, Evalynn and Alexandra.
Twila is the Executive Secretary of the Sandhills Resource Conservation and Development office in Mullen, and also serves as the Grants Financial Manager for the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition. She has done the bookkeeping and financial management for the NGLC since the spring of 2008.
Twila and her husband own and operate the ranch that was purchased by his grandfather in the 1930s in north central Nebraska. She is also involved with the Nebraska LEAD Alumni Association, Nebraska Cattlewomen, Nebraska Wine & Grape Growers Association and the Sandhills Cattle Association.
Twila and her husband have six children — two are married, one is in graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, one is in college at Hastings College and two are still at home.
Twila says, "NGLC is important because the organization strives to promote a greater understanding of the value of grasslands through tried and proven grazing practices as well as innovative strategies that promote healthy grasslands."
Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition contracted Ron Bolze as the NGLC coordinator. In this role, Bolze implements workshops and tours across the state, handling grant fulfillment, and conducting communications and public awareness for the organization as part of his job responsibilities. He also oversees the Cowboy Logic Stewardship Network and the NGLC Rangeland Monitoring Program, and serves as the Nebraska representative of the national Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.
Bolze's experience in the beef cattle industry is diverse including beef cattle extension specialist work with Kansas State University and industry positions with Certified Angus Beef, the American Shorthorn Association, the Red Angus Association of America and currently is also employed as Executive Vice President of the Braunvieh Association of America.
Bethany is currently an advisor for the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition Board. She grew up on purebred Angus ranch (very far from anywhere) in the eastern Sandhills. She attended a rural one-room school (yes, they still existed then), before heading to Burwell to high school. After attending UNL for food science and later meat science, Bethany has worked for Nebraska Extension in the Central Sandhills Area for the last ten years. Her high school ag teacher fueled her passion for healthy rangelands, especially in her native Sandhills. She and her husband live on his family ranch near Thedford, with their daughter.
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