Almost 60 producers and ten students gained a new perspective on ranching over the New Year. January 3 offered hope and enthusiasm to agriculture producers in Crook County and the surrounding area as producers traveled from as far afield as Gillette, Belle Fourche, Sturgis and Lusk to hear Jay Fuhrer and Jerry Doan present.
Both speakers hail from North Dakota, where they have been leaders in the soil health movement by practicing what they preach. They are knowledgeable, passionate, enthusiastic and their message is contagious.
They offered insight to a regenerative ranching method that regenerates the land instead of depleting it. The secret is soil. Attendees were encouraged to take actions that build soil biology rather than strip it of its nutrients.
Jay Fuhrer explained that, over the course of a few decades, society has attempted to simplify their operations by focusing on cash crops. He continued to explain that we removed the buffalo, we removed the cattle and we removed the diversity of plants, so there is only one species left, resulting in a mono-culture system.
In a mono-culture system, the most nutritious part of the crop is harvested and sold. Every time we harvest from the land we are removing carbon and carbon drives the soil biological system.
Carbon needs to remain in the ground to become food for living organisms in the soil, which converts nutrients to a usable form for the plant. It was emphasized that over simplification of ranching has slowly degraded our landscape, making it less productive and less profitable then it once was.
It is time for a soil health revolution and Crook County producers are on board to make changes to improve their soil, their management style, their profitability and the future of agriculture in Wyoming. If you are interested in hearing more of what was said please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.comcrookcountyrnd to view video clips.
The workshop was sponsored by Crook County Natural Resource District and NRCS, Sundance State Bank, Plank Stewardship Initiative, Black Gulch Ranch Bed & Breakfast and the Winger Ranchet.
Submitted by Crook County Natural Resource District