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Conservationist Rancher is Part of the Ecosystem

By   /  September 4, 2017  /  Comments Off on Conservationist Rancher is Part of the Ecosystem

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“Ranchers are not outside the ecosystem managing it,” says Grady Grissom. “They’re in the ecosystem trying to survive. And if you make successively bad decisions on a piece of land, you will go away. Your genes will no longer be in the gene pool and you wont’ be part of the generational ranching population.” It’s part of his conservation philosophy that includes people as part of the environment.

Grady Grissom runs what he calls a “small ranch” in southern Colorado. The Rancho Largo Cattle Company is about 14,000 acres of short grass prairie. With only 11 to 12 inches of annual precipitation, some years he needs as much as 120 acres per cow and others only forty acres per cow. That meant building flexibility into his stocking rate, so he moved from a full time cow calf operation to a sparsely stocked cow calf base with the ability to keep calves, buy calves or graze other peoples’ cattle.

An EQIP contract with the Natural Resources Conservation Service helped him turn his 9 pastures into 36 fenced pastures. Typical graze periods are 10 days, though that can vary greatly, with a recovery period of an average of 250 days, and a year and a half to 2 years through drought.That grazing management has helped him meet his primary goals: a healthy ecosystem as measured in plant and wildlife diversity.

You can hear more about Rancho Largo’s management and Grissom’s thoughts about conservation vs. environmentalism in this 4:49 video celebrating the ranch receiving the 2017 Leopold Conservation Award. Enjoy!

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  • Published: 3 months ago on September 4, 2017
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  • Last Modified: August 15, 2017 @ 2:22 pm
  • Filed Under: Consider This

About the author

editor and contributor

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she’s not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

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