The NRCS, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is the federal agency responsible for conservation of natural resources on private lands. NRCS assists private land users in the development and implementation of conservation plans that promote a healthy and sustainable environment. The NRCS is committed to providing high quality conservation technical assistance by working hand-in-hand with the American people to conserve natural resources on private lands, and to foster an understanding and appreciation of how natural resource systems relate to each other and to all of us.
Since the formation of the national Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative in 1995, the NRCS has been a partner in the effort to bring ranchers and landowners to the table in providing direction for grazing lands stewardship programs. Likewise, the Nebraska NRCS has supported the work of the NGLC with financial support and in-kind and matched donation since its inception. The Nebraska NRCS has provided support to accomplish the following projects:
- Develop informational brochures and create banner stands
- Conduct demonstrations and educational tours
- Conduct seminars on improved management practices
- Carry out multi-species grazing project as demonstration for invasive plant control
- Offer rangeland monitoring program to assist land owners and managers
- Provide seminar on managing grazing lands in times of drought
- Train Cowboy Logic Stewardship Network participants
NGLC is grateful for the support from Steve Chick, Nebraska NRCS State Conservationist; Dana Larsen, State Rangeland Management Specialist; and all the NRCS employees across the state.
Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund
The Nebraska Environmental Trust was established in 1992 to conserve, enhance and restore the natural environments of Nebraska. It was created on the conviction that a prosperous future is dependent upon a sound natural environment, and that Nebraskans could collectively achieve real progress on real environmental issues if seed money were provided. The Trust seeks projects that bring public and private partners together collaboratively to implement high-quality, cost-effective projects. The Trust values projects that leverage private investment in conservation and emphasize long-lasting results.
Grant money from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund has allowed the NGLC to develop ideas into projects and to grow as an organization that is now producing effective results.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund has funded two major projects of NGLC:
- Cowboy Logic: A Stewardship Networking Project Using Grazing Strategies for Invasive Plant Control — This project has allowed for the development of regional networks and individual ranching stewards who are willing to share information and ideas with others across the state. This network has created a “sharing” mentality in developing and improving grazing land conservation.
- Grazing Lands Monitoring Program for Plant Health and Soil Quality — This project, scheduled to begin in spring 2009, will assist landowners and managers in developing rangeland monitoring sites to improve management decisions. The program will provide on-site assistance, plant and soil analysis, and results and interpretation of the data.
NGLC would like to thank the Board of Trustees as well as Mark Brohman, Executive Director; Lisa Beethe, Grants Administrator; and all of the staff at the Trust for their longtime support.
Nebraska Rural Development Commission (Value-Added Agriculture)
A variety of NGLC projects involving co-species grazing and the Cowboy Logic Stewardship Program are funded by a grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, administered by the Nebraska Rural Development Commission through the Value-Added Agriculture grant program created by LB90 in 2005.
This VAA grant has allowed NGLC to focus on enhancing sustainable profit of Nebraska ranchers with mentored training to implement multi-species grazing for profit, weed control, and utilization of marginal forages while improving rangelands.
Projects have included:
- Conducting two “Co-Species” seminars – one in central Nebraska and one in the Panhandle;
- Conducting two field tours to demonstrate co-species grazing sites;
- Training for candidate volunteer mentors in the Cowboy Logic: Stewardship Networking Project;
- Developing and distributing two publications on “Multi-Species Grazing” and “Practices to Conserve Nebraska Grazing Lands;”
- Promoting conservation of grazing lands at five Nebraska grazing-related conferences.
NGLC would like to sincerely thank Linda Fettig, Director of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, and the Rural Development Commissioners for their support.
Sandhills Task Force
The Sandhills Task Force is a non-profit organizations consisting of a board of Sandhill ranchers and conservation agencies. The organization’s focus is on affecting sound environmental and economic practices in the Sandhills of Nebraska. This is accomplished using a variety of approaches including promoting research, education, technical assistance, and on-the-ground conservation practices.
Funding from the Sandhills Task Force has allowed NGLC to host a seminar on managing grazing lands during times of drought. Future plans for grant money from the Sandhills Task Force include developing Cowboy Logic Stewardship Networks participants and a grazing association in the Sandhills.
NGLC would like to thank the Sandhills Task Force Board members, Jim Van Winkle, Kyle Graham and Gene Mack for their support.