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Tools

Planning

Cattle & Bison

We use grazing animals in coordination with a highly focused planning process to achieve our ecological goals. Rest for grasslands is a fundamental tool that we use in coordination with grazing, and fire has a place in some instances. We use mechanical and chemical means only in rare circumstances where livestock grazing has to be supplemented.

A group of men conduct a meeting in the office to review grazing plans.

Planning

Planning is of paramount importance in our land stewardship programs. Every year we set aside several days for intensive grazing planning sessions, one before the growing season, and the other before the dormant season. We frequently invite outside experts to participate in our meetings to make sure we’re incorporating fresh perspectives. During these sessions, we plot where every single animal on the ranch is going to be during that season, taking into account many things including: stocking rates, stock densities, adequate rest for the land, water availability, drought contingencies, and points of special ecological need that require particular focus. This plan then forms the basis for our cattle moves, and is easily updated as environmental conditions dictate.

A calf stands in green grass

Cattle & Bison

Our cattle and managed bison herds are consolidated into herds as large as possible in order to allow for intensive animal impact, if needed, followed by maximum rest for the land. Large herds allow the animals to significantly impact the surface of the ground through numerous natural processes that aid in maintaining healthy grasslands. The herds are moved in accordance with the grazing plan to achieve optimal results for both the livestock and the land, taking into account the over-arching needs of the entire ecosystem and wildlife. This is the fundamental grazing pattern that grazing ungulates have exercised in the evolution of the world’s great grasslands. Our goal is to continue learning about this natural dynamic as we work with each landscape.

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