Beef and Biodiversity – How Do We Get Both?

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is working with ranchers and other partners on research that will tell us which grazing management gets us the most bang for our buck. Thanks to Jan Suszkiw, and the ARS's AgMag for this article!  Justin Derner likens the Central Plains Experimental Range (CPER) in northeastern Colorado to a “living laboratory.” That’s because the 15,500-acre site near the town of Nunn, Colorado, affords a unique opportunity to conduct large-scale research addressing the diverse interests of cattle ranchers, conservationists, land managers, and other stakeholders. The CPER is one of 18 sites in the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Long-Term Agro-Ecosystem Research (LTAR) network. As research leader of the ARS Rangeland Resources and Systems Research Unit, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Derner directs a multi-disciplinary team of scientists in both states. The team works to develop science-based approaches to maintaining the health and productivity of semi-arid rangeland areas in the Great Plains. The region, if outlined from space, might resemble a giant right footprint that extends from parts of Canada southward into 10 U.S. states, ending with the “heel” resting in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Getting Stakeholders Involved In September 2012, Derner’s team hosted the first in a series of stakeholder workshops to chart a course of action in using the CPER to evaluate various livestock management and conservation practices. The 1

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