Texas’ grazing lands are a critical natural resource and managing them is both a science and an art. With the introduction of the “Grazing Land Stewardship: A Manual for Texas Landowners,” even those who are new to land ownership and/or habitat management will have the tools and information needed to be good stewards of the land and manage for quail, turkey, and white-tailed deer. The how-to manual has three sections that include Grazing Basics (what makes land healthy, livestock nutrition, forage quality, water and fences, grazing behavior), Getting Started (setting goals, land inventories, grazing strategies), and Follow Through (record keeping, managing livestock, managing wildlife habitat).
The Grazing Lands Stewardship manual helps connect landowners and managers with trained professionals in the field. Many of these professionals have received specialized training and have worked with ranchers throughout the state and across the U.S. They have seen have practices have endured and have developed a core set of principles that can build a foundation for successful land management.
The idea for the manual started with John L. “Chip” Merrill of Crowley, at a Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (GLCI) meeting in Boerne, in 2006. Merrill was concerned not by the lack of information available to landowners; but rather, that all the available information was fragmented and not readily available in a reader-friendly format.
With that challenge, the Grazing Lands Stewardship manual was drafted by 30 plus year professor and Texas AgriLife Extension range specialist, Dr. C. Wayne Hanselka; professor and Extension range specialist, Dr. Robert Lyons; and USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) rangeland management specialist, Mark Moseley. Moseley also serves as coordinator for the Texas Coalition, GLCI. The manual was sent to selected ranchers for a peer review, and once their comments were reviewed and utilized, the manual was finalized.
NRCS and the Texas GLCI gave a grant to Texas AgriLife Extension Service to print the book and deliver five workshops at different locations around the state to introduce the manual and teach landowners and managers how to manage their piece of Texas. Four the grazing workshops took place in 2008. More workshops may be planned in the future, if there is enough interest.
“If you have owned lands and are experienced, then this manual will hone your skills,” said Bob McCan, Chair of the Texas Coalition, GLCI. “If you are relatively new to your property, then this manual will be a roadmap to start you on your journey of stewardship.”
To order a copy of the manual, visit the Texas AgriLife Extension bookstore Web site. The manual’s retail price is $15, but for orders of 25 books or more, the wholesale price is $12 each. For more information on technical and financial assistance available for rangeland management and conservation planning, visit your local NRCS office located in USDA Service Centers. To express your interest in holding a workshop in your area, contact Mark Moseley, at 830/249-3508.