Claim: Grazed grasslands trump cover crops on long-term carbon sequestration
In the debate over how to use agricultural lands to sequester carbon and help mitigate climate change, no-till and cover cropping get most of the attention. But studies are starting to show that grazed perennial pastures, where the soil is rarely disturbed and continuously covered, may be the best strategy for locking carbon in the soil long-term, according to experts on a recent Environmental Working Group webinar.
Audubon enlists grass-fed meat brand to conserve critical bird habitat
The National Audubon Society today announced a partnership with Perdue-owned Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats that will add nearly a million acres to its Conservation Ranching Initiative. Audubon has focused recent conservation efforts on privately owned rangelands, where 95 percent of grassland bird species live, and the deal with Panorama boosts the total acreage in its ranching program to 3.5 million.(No paywall)
In Oregon, an effort to build grassland biodiversity while helping ranchers succeed
In eastern Oregon, an experiment is underway to determine whether conservationists and ranchers, two groups often at odds, can work together to stave off development, support ranch economies and preserve biodiversity on the Zumwalt Prairie, America's largest remaining native bunchgrass prairie.(No paywall)
This burger fights climate change, a new study says
A new Michigan State University study offers a ray of hope to America’s climate-concerned, burger eaters. Raised the right way, the study says grass-fed beef could be a part of a carbon-neutral—or even carbon-negative—diet. The study was led by professors Paige Stanley and Jason Rowntree and published in the journal Agricultural Systems.
Important cattle grazing grass could shrink 60 percent, says study
Big bluestem grass — one of the most important forage grasses in the Midwest for cattle — is predicted to drop as much as 60 percent drop in stature and growth over the next 75 years due to climate change, according to a study published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Zinke won’t dismantle any national monuments, though some might get smaller
After a controversial four-month review of 27 U.S. national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke won’t recommend that the White House do away with any of them. He did say, however, that “a handful of sites” could see their boundaries changed or shrunken, says the Associated Press.
As hot weather deepens drought, USDA expands emergency grazing area
Drought is intensifying in the northern Plains and a quarter of North Dakota, a cattle and wheat state, suffers extreme drought, according to the weekly Drought Monitor. With hot and dry weather expected to continue, USDA vastly expanded the region where ranchers can graze livestock on Conservation Reserve land, normally out of bounds.
Cattle and sage grouse might not be enemies after all, says study
Long considered ecological foes, some kinds of livestock grazing might actually benefit endangered sage grouse, says a study in the journal Ecological Applications.
Decision on grazing sheep in wilderness area takes longer than expected
The Forest Service is wading through public comments on its proposal to continue to allow ranchers to graze up to 5,600 sheep in the largest wilderness area in Colorado, which is three-quarters of the size of Rhode Island, says The Associated Press. Despite hopes that a decision on the year-old proposal would be announced this winter, it could be months before that happens, according to a Forest Service spokeswoman.
When city comes to country, livestock go to town to graze
Fast-growing Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and home to 4 million people, is sprawling ever-further into the countryside and "gobbling up chunks of pastureland," says the New York Times. The result is a "growing clan of metropolitan herders" who graze their cattle and goats along four-lane highways, on the lawns of wealthy homeowners or in cemeteries.
Reversing desertification through livestock grazing
The troubles for the villagers of Sianyanga, Zimbabwe, began in the late 1980s, when the Nalomwe River, which watered the village, went dry. Soon, the shade trees died and the villagers' cattle herds suffered for lack of water and forage, says a Pacific Standard story produced in partnership with FERN.
Bighorn sheep case could shape grazing rules in the west
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Idaho Wool Growers Association and others in a case that could have implications for grazing rules across the west.
Ranchers gather in Boise to call for control of public lands
Boise, Idaho — The Storm Over Rangelands property rights conference got underway sharply last Saturday, with protestors outside the city center shouting “Public lands in public hands!” and “Biodiversity not bullies!”
Malheur occupation turns deadly, with eight arrested and one killed
After more than three-weeks of national media attention, the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon took a violent turn Tuesday afternoon when federal officials stopped several of the militia members on a state highway outside of Burns, Oregon, reports the New York Times.
Grassland conservation application period opens Sept. 1
Landowners can apply beginning Sept. 1 for federal payments for preserving grasslands, rangeland and pastures while keeping the land in production, said the USDA.