First and foremost, the Coalition provides educational opportunities for producers and agency personnel alike. Among other base needs, grassland management requires knowledge of the whole system: soil, water and nutrients, plants, animals, and their interactions with one another. The Coalition has a wealth of informational tools available and is willingly prepared to share them with others seeking assistance.
Along with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), SDSU Extension, and private consultants, the Coalition offers assistance and information to individuals and groups who are interested in grassland management and are committed to improving South Dakota's grasslands. Many of these supporting agencies also offer grassland management education, technical assistance, and guidance.
Planning is the key to developing a holistic management approach to improving your grassland resources and your financial position. The complex nature of grasslands requires a holistic, integrated management approach. The Coalition supports workshops, tours, seminars, and other educational opportunities to help producers improve skills in decision making on various topics that include their quality of life, environmental stewardship, and creative ways to turn natural resources into financial capital while still protecting the integrity and longevity of those resources. If managed well, grass is a proven renewable and profitable resource, and the Coalition strives to help producers achieve balance between land health, profitability, and quality of life.
The Coalition, in partnership with ranchers across the state, has established a mentoring network to provide valuable hands-on learning experiences for both current and prospective grassland managers. Through mentorship by established producers, the mentee (you!) has the opportunity to see a system in operation and receive guidance from the mentor regarding success and challenges of the system.
South Dakota Grazing School
Our flagship outreach effort is the South Dakota Grazing School. Here participants can learn through classroom and hands-on field instruction the foundational principles of setting goals, grassland ecology, grazing planning, drought planning, monitoring, and financial planning in an integrated setting with other producers and grassland managers from across the state.
To learn more about the Coalition's mentoring program or upcoming schools, visit the South Dakota Grassland Coalition website.
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.