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Grazing Lands Conference to be held in December

By Bob Conrad

Submitted news release:

On December 13-16, 2009, the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative will host its 4th National Conference on Grazing Lands in Reno. The conference will facilitate the exchange of information on successful “cutting edge” grazing management technologies—especially those with environmental and/or social benefits, applied research on grazing lands, public policy implications of grazing, issues related to the agricultural-urban interface, and the economic and marketing implications of grazing. Early registration of $260 is available through Oct. 15, 2009.

Grazing lands make up between two-thirds and three-fourths of the national land base. The wise management of these lands has environmental and economic implications that exceed common perception or understanding, says Bob Drake, Chairman of the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI). “Any serious student or practitioner of conservation, land use or ecosystem management cannot reasonably ignore the importance of grazing lands,” Drake says. “The sheer quantity of land involved demands a serious dialogue among ranchers, conservationists, educators, environmentalists, economists, government agencies and land managers. We need to share our understanding of the theory and practical application of grazing land functions and opportunities.”

Increasingly, such a dialogue is important not only for the continued viability of ranchers & farmers but also for the well being of watersheds and communities who rely on these lands for hunting, open space, groundwater recharge, hiking, habitat for both common and endangered species of plants and wildlife, recreational opportunities, carbon sequestration and energy collection.

One thing that sets GLCI apart from other conferences is its focus on rancher/farmer producers as presenters. “We know experts come from academia, government, and the non-profit world and we welcome them all, but we also look for the “cowboy expert” who has gained his—or her—expertise through long hours with livestock and first-hand exposure to all sorts of elements—natural, economic and political,” says Drake.

In conjunction with hosting the conference in Reno, GLCI in 2009 will give increased focus to western grazing issues. However, the conference will continue its past format of providing information along four “tracks” that will also include Eastern, Central and Western Grazing Lands and Dairy Grazing Land Management issues. Some of the issues to be highlighted include the value of rotational grazing and of riparian habitat, carbon sequestration, and the flexibility within grazing systems.

Registration information and exhibitor opportunities are available at www.glci.org.

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