Annual range management meeting focuses on producer and youth membership
Albuquerque, N.M. – The Society for Range Management (SRM) hosted their 75th Annual Meeting in the desert of New Mexico with the theme, “Sustainability Through Culture and Innovation.” In their year-in-review, the society shared in 2021 they “advanced the objectives of the society for years to come,” including the undertaking of several initiatives to “increase the strength, outreach and diversity of the society.”
In the 75th year of the society, “SRM is taking better steps to better understand member engagement,” as well as continue their mission to foster collaboration and communication through all channels of rangeland management.
Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, SRM “continued its relentless efforts to inform policy makers on range-related matters. SRM maintains a full-time presence in Washington, D.C.” The society continues to communicate impactful directives on Capitol Hill in support of the many careers and livelihoods that are directly impacted by rangeland management.
Throughout the last few years, SRM has placed a focus on promoting on-the-ground management and working with those who manage rangelands daily – ranchers.
SRM President Poncho Ortega shared, “We have a very strong initiative to bring ranchers back to SRM. I was pleased to see in the plenary session, most questions were asked by ranchers.”
Ortega said this is something he would like to see continue through the years, noting the benefit of producer input to the society.
In addition, the society shared, “SRM staff worked together throughout 2021 to craft the Good Grazing Makes Cent$ Program, which launched in January 2022.” The program “created a new avenue to reach ranchers and land managers in an effort to increase their participation and presence in SRM.”
In recognizing the value of the ranchers’ perspective in SRM, as well as the knowledge base of many SRM members, the 75th Annual Meeting hosted Producer’s Day, which included a stockmanship symposia, producer forum and workshops covering forage evaluation, body condition scoring and cattle diet quality. Dr. Ron Gill presented a low-stress livestock handling and working facility design demonstration. After the workshops and livestock handling demonstration, Producer’s Day closed with the first ever SRM Ranch Rodeo.
SRM’s Annual Meeting provides many opportunities for students – from the high school through graduate degrees.
The society’s High School Youth Forum, a competitive but educational program for high school students, allows students the opportunity to spend a week at the meeting to learn about the basics of range management and present on a topic of their choosing. This year, the top five presentations were made by: Ana Lockard, Colorado; McKinlee Covolo, Wyoming; Emma Amato, Colorado; Rebecca Reece, Nebraska; and Sam McMillan, Nebraska.
Students from the University of Wyoming’s Range Club participated in the plant identification contest and the undergraduate range management exam with great success.
“Bringing young people to SRM is extremely important,” noted Ortega. “I won’t be here in the next 75 years, but I know who will.”
Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.