Community Agriculture Alliance: Your dream comes with responsibility | SteamboatToday.com

Community Agriculture Alliance: Your dream comes with responsibility

Marsha Daughenbaugh/For Steamboat Today

Now, you did it … you finally own a piece of property in beautiful Routt County. Your dream of having a horse is about to come true. Maybe you are thinking about purchasing cattle, sheep or something exotic, like llamas. But, as you look across your acquisition, reality starts to set in, and the questions begin to mount. Is that grass or weeds? How many head of livestock can I graze during the spring and summer? When can I start to graze? When do I have to start feeding hay? Can I grow enough hay to feed during the six months of winter?

Community Agriculture Alliance and CSU Routt County Extension Office would like to help answer your questions. We invite you to attend an evening workshop to visually learn grazing principles that encourage you to plan and implement effective grazing management. The workshop is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Rocking C Bar Ranch, 41505 Routt County Road.

Retta Brueger, range management specialist with Colorado State University Extension, will lead the workshop with help from local rancher Doc Daughenbaugh. Discussions will be held on plant diversity, nutritive values, how different plants respond to different grazing methods and how to avoid overly stressing your plants.

A section of time will be devoted to stocking rates for different animals. Did you know that horses do not equal cows? Or that different soil types produce different quality of feed from the same plant? And that water is necessary for plant growth? Sure, you knew that — but do you know what to do when water is not available, and the rain does not come?

You will be tasked with finding and identifying plants. Since there are more than 1,000 species of grass in the United States, this sounds like a daunting task. But Brueger is an expert who will surprise you with her vast knowledge, while helping you take an inventory of all the different plants within a short walking distance.

Grazing management starts with knowledge. The more you know, the better your decision making will be. Good decisions lead to happy landowners, productive grounds and healthy animals. Results don't happen overnight but if you start this fall, you will see better results within two years.

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Partnering with Community Agriculture Alliance and CSU Routt County Extension for this class is the Steamboat Field Office of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Their programs and technical support can be a valuable resource for landowners who have questions and concerns about grazing management.

Special thanks to Mountain Valley Bank for sponsoring our current Land Stewardship 202 Course. This Sept. 12 grazing management class is one of seven stewardship classes offered to help you better manage your natural resource assets.

If you would like to attend or have questions, call Community Agriculture Alliance at 970-879-4370. There is no cost to participate with this class.

Marsha Daughenbaugh is executive director of Community Agriculture Alliance.

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