Learn soil health practices from ranchers and farmers to maximize resilience and profits.
We’re Changing the Way Ranchers and Farmers Think About Soil
Ranchers and farmers are often told that better production means higher inputs—but at what cost? In the face of skyrocketing input costs, many producers across the nation are being forced to ask this question. Does a better and more cost-effective way to regenerate exist? Ranchers and cropland managers are telling us yes, it does even as they reduce operating costs and increase their bottom line.
Top Bale Grazing Advice from Dakota Ranchers
We get together with ranchers Drew Anderson (Lemmon, SD), Bart Carmichael (Faith, SD) and Harold and Jodie Gaugler (Grant Co., ND, also ranching near Thunder Hawk SD.) to discuss their experiences with bale grazing. Special thanks to Drew Anderson and Jodie and Harold Gaugler for additional still images and explanations which were so crucial to this story.
Here's How Ranchers Are Making
Their Ranches Drought Proof.
Prescribed Grazing—Our ranchers are rotating livestock, resting grazed land, and thereby allowing their land to recover.
Increasing Diversity—A great indicator of healthy soils is diversity. Our ranchers are managing their land for diversity so that their forage base includes a wonderful mix of native warm and cool season grasses and forbs.
Grazing More, Feeding Less—As their forage base increases, our ranchers are making more money per acre by grazing more and feeding less.
Being Adaptive— Our ranchers embrace the fact that nothing in life is set in stone and that flexibility is an asset. As SD rancher Bart Carmichael says, “We make plans, assume we’re wrong, then adapt as the weather or livestock dictate”. Plan, observe, adapt, repeat.
Changing their Mindsets—Through embracing free resources, such as those provided by the SD NRCS, the SD Grassland Coalition, the SD Soil Health Coalition and this platform, our ranchers are changing their thoughts about what successful, profitable ranching can be.
The range management techniques we highlight are tools that any rancher can use to change and improve their land.
Our partners at the South Dakota Grassland Coalition just launched their "Pray for Rain. Plan for Drought." project.
Click below to find out more;
Struggling With Drought?
The ranchers and technical advisors listed in the downloadable document below are ready talk with anyone interested in weathering the worst impacts of drought. Give one of them a call.
Talk To A Drought Expert
What Ranchers Are Saying
The time savings doing something like this has for me. I was going to have my wife come out and talk to you. She’s complaining I’m around too much now.
Reid Suelflow, Rancher
Don't Know Where to Start?
Ask A Mentor!
If you're looking for an agricultural expert to help you improve or expand a certain area of your operation,
consider joining our Mentor Network where you can reach out the experienced producers in various agricultural fields who provide technical and planning assistance to South Dakota farmers and ranchers.
Less Time in the Field = Less Stress
(and More Time With Family)
Two things are always out of a rancher’s control: the weather and the cost of doing business. But ranchers who have changed the way they think of the land are finding themselves more in the driver’s seat of their operations and their wallets. Through understanding the soil health principles and implementing these to suit their operations, our ranchers are waking up to fewer operating costs, less time needed ‘working the land’ and more down-time enjoyed with their families.
That’s less worrying about money and less time working—all by simply allowing the land (and livestock) to work for them.