Source: AgriLife Today
The Texas Section Society for Range Management wrapped up their 65th state convention recently with one of the largest turnouts for this event in several years, organizers said.
“We had a great annual meeting in Marfa and Alpine with more than 250 in attendance,” said Dr. John Walker, Texas A&M AgriLife Research resident director at San Angelo and the organization’s outgoing state president. “This important educational event for the conservation of the state’s rangelands would not have been possible without the strong support of a number of sponsors and many other generous contributors.”
Walker said the theme of this year’s meeting was “Borderland Conservation: Two Countries, One Cause.”
The first day of the Oct. 7-9 event was held in Marfa at the Crowley Theater where an Ecological Site Description Workshop and a Binational Symposium were conducted.
“Topics of importance to the conservation of rangelands on both sides of the border were discussed by experts from Mexico and the U.S.,” Walker said. “One difference that was noted between the two countries was the emphasis placed on livestock versus wildlife. Both are important regardless of which side of the border you come from, but the greater importance of livestock in Mexico made introduced forage species more important and less problematic regarding their potential to become invasive. Conversely, in the U.S., the greater emphasis on native wildlife species resulted in an emphasis for developing seed sources for locally adapted native plants.”
Walker said a social held during the first evening at Planet Marfa featured a reverse raffle that raised $4,600 to fund scholarships for college students studying range management. He credited the raffle’s success in part to the many donations by local merchants.
The second day of the meeting featured field tours and student contests. Participants had to choose from four tours from the desert country of the Big Bend National Park river road to the Ponderosa pine “sky island” at The Nature Conservancy Davis Mountains Preserve. Other tours offered opportunities to learn about rangeland restoration efforts at the CF and 02 ranches or grazing management on Dixon Water Foundation lands.
“After the tours, students competed in plant identification and undergraduate range management exam contests,” Walker said. “Texas A&M University’s team won the plant ID contest and the Angelo State University team won the undergraduate range management exam competition. Linda Stapper from Crockett County and a student at Texas A&M University, was the high scoring individual for both these contests.”
An awards luncheon was held at the Kokernot Lodge where among other recognitions, TSCRA Director Joe Leathers, general manager of 6666 Ranch at Guthrie, accepted the Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship award. Walker said the award is given jointly by the Texas Section Society of Range Management and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in recognition of demonstrated skill and knowledge in practicing sound management and care of rangeland resources.
Logan Boswell, AgriLife Extension agent for Brewster/Jeff Davis counties, received a Grass Roots Award for outstanding AgriLife Extension agent, Walker said. Dandy Kothmann of Menard and Alfredo Munoz from Junction, jointly received Grass Roots Awards for outstanding U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service employees. Jack Ohlrich, Comal County, received the Outstanding Rangeland Management Award.
Other recipients and their respective honors included: Kothmann, Outstanding Young Range Professional; Dr. Bob Lyons, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Uvalde, Fellow; Billy Kniffen, retired AgriLife Extension state water resource specialist in rainwater harvesting, Menard, Outstanding Achievement; and Dr. Larry Butler, host of Out on the Land television show from Weatherford, Outstanding Contributions to Rangeland Management.
Walker said the group had not met in Alpine since 1952.
To learn more about the Texas Section’s mission “to provide leadership for the stewardship of rangelands based on sound ecological principles,” go to http://www.rangelands.org/texas.