Range Practicum offers learning opportunities for ranchers

Are you interested in learning how to handle livestock with less stress to yourself and your cattle?

Are you a woman involved in ranching or would like to be and looking to connect with other ranching women?

Would you like to know the process the US Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management uses to train wild caught horses?

Do you struggle to effectively pack a horse or mule?

Do you need a refresher on calibrating a sprayer?

What are some options for providing stock water in winter?

Ever wonder how to safely burn a pasture?

If so, mark the Range Practicum on your calendar for Feb. 20. The Range Practicum will be a hands-on land and livestock training at the National Western (Stock show) Complex in Denver, Colorado. It will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Registration is only $85 [$45 for students] and gives you access to all the sessions occurring that day.

The practicum features an array of hands-on educational events. The highlight is a low-stress livestock handling workshop led by Whit Hibbard of Montana. Whit is a Bud Williams protégé and a decades-long student of low-stress livestock management. This includes horsemanship, ranch roping, and facilities design. Hibbard brings critical thinking, evidence-based wisdom, and practical research skills to working livestock.

Why would any rancher who’s been moving cattle his entire life want to learn more about it? The answer is simple, says Hibbard. “It will save you money and make you money.” Hibbard’s workshop will focus on all the aspects of low-stress livestock handling based on the work of Bud Williams.

Thursday also features a Women in Ranching Forum. This keynote event highlights leading women in ranching across the West. The diverse panel includes women with non-ranching backgrounds and those whose families have been ranching for many generations. Topics will range from “Betting it All” to “Using Bison to Regenerate Grasslands” to “Regenerative Ranching.”

The BLM, USFS, and Mantle Ranch (Wheatland, Wyoming) will host a day-long wild horse training demonstration. Topics include handling fresh trapped horses, first touch and halter starting the untrained horse. Wild Horse and Burro issues will be addressed along with other topics. At the end of the day there will be a trained wild horse auction.

There will be several horse and mule packing sessions. This hands-on class is introductory through intermediate packing. Advanced packing demonstrations will also be given. The class will be flexible and focus on Decker style packing and sawbuck style packing demonstrations. Class participants’ requests will guide the discussion and demonstrations.

Other events include planning winter livestock water, monitoring protocols for BLM allotments, and herbicide sprayer calibration. Participants can learn how to tell the differences between soils and thus range productivity potential and limitation. A Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Scientist will be on hand to guide the learning.

Ranchers can see how grazing impacts water soaking into the soil and runoff during the rainfall simulator demonstration. There will also be a prescribed fire demonstration and Western States Reclamation and Restoration equipment will be on display throughout the day.

As an added attraction, there will reception at the National Western Complex Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. James Rogers, general manager of the Winecup Gamble Ranch in northeastern Nevada, will be the featured speaker. The Winecup Gamble Ranch is one of the largest ranching operations in the country. It is involved with the Outcome-Based Grazing Demonstration project initiated by the Bureau of Land Management. The project works to develop flexible management plans that have a positive impact on the range. Responding to on-the-ground conditions while ensuring economic sustainability of ranching operations is key. Rogers’ presentation titled ”Why Management Pays” will focus on what is important in management and how to get it done.

For more information or to register, go to www.srm2020.org and click on the header "Range Practicum." Exhibitors and vendors are encouraged to attend

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