South Dakota Grassland Coalition
- OUR VISION: Grasslands for future generations.
- OUR MISSION: To improve stewardship of grasslands through sustainable and profitable management.
- OUR HISTORY: The National Grazing Lands Initiative (NatGLC) was developed by professional range managers and private grassland producers in 1991, creating a platform to provide technical assistance to owners and operators of private grazing lands as a response to the 1985 Farm Bill.
The South Dakota Grassland Coalition (SDGC or Coalition) is a non-profit organization that seeks the voluntary improvement and protection of privately owned grasslands for the long-term needs of the resource and its various species. The Coalition’s goal is to provide local leadership and guidance in a cooperative effort, while providing the appropriate tools and training for grassland managers. Given the correct assistance, grassland managers will be better prepared to make cost-effective and environmentally sound management decisions.
In 1997, agency staffers and private ranchers in South Dakota pursued coordination with NatGLC for a statewide grazing organization on the heels of the success of the South Dakota Bootstraps program. While other states adopted names reflecting ‘Grazing’, the South Dakota founders decided early on that the South Dakota organization would not only focus on grazing, but would encompass all aspects of grassland management and in 1998 the grassroots, producer-led South Dakota Grassland Coalition was founded.
Original volunteers to the 7-member board of directors were Lavern Koch, New Underwood; Odeen “Skee” Rasmussen, Belvidere; Ron Ogren, Wessington Springs; Mark Sip, Geddes; Dave Fischbach, Faith; Larry Stomprud, Mud Butte; and Ron Mackaben, New Underwood. Since that time the board has grown to nine producer Directors and the Coalition has over 500 members throughout South Dakota and the surrounding region.
Partnerships have always been a key ingredient to the success of the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, and the Coalition prides itself on exploring any partnership that will benefit public and private grassland conservation and producer longevity through profitability of grassland products and services. Traditional partnerships with agencies such as NRCS have expanded into partnerships and cooperative projects with other federal agencies such as the USFWS and Joint Ventures, state agencies such as SD DENR, SD GFP, and SDSU Extension, and a variety of non-government (and sometimes non-traditional) organizations such as SD Cattlemen’s Association, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Audubon Society, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and the Sand County Foundation through the annual SD Leopold Award.
SDSU Extension Collaboration
SDSU Extension Range Management and Livestock staff work closely with the South Dakota Grassland Coalition to ensure quality education to landowners and livestock producers. This educational relationship focuses primarily on grassland management, soil health, and profitability under sustainable and holistic grassland management premises.
Take some time to visit the South Dakota Grassland Coalition website and get started on your journey.
Healthy Grasslands Article Series
This 31-part Healthy Grasslands article series was developed in partnership between the Coalition and SDSU Extension. All articles are borrowed from a recent publication of the same title. It is our intent through this series to introduce the reader to the general concepts of managing grasslands for health and profitability. Below is an introduction to the SD Grassland Coalition.
The Healthy Grasslands article series is provided by the South Dakota Grassland Coalition in partnership with SDSU Extension. Contributing editors: Sandy Smart (SDSU Extension Rangeland Management Specialist), Pete Bauman (SDSU Extension Range Field Specialist), and Joshua Lefers (South Dakota Grassland Coalition Board Member, 2015–2017). © South Dakota Grassland Coalition 2017. View the full document for more information.