We are excited to announce that Drs. Morgan Treadwell, Melissa Shehane, and Ben Wu will be continuing education and extension Prairie Project efforts after receiving a $1.5 million grant from the USDA-NIFA Extension, Education and USDA Climate Hubs Partnership program area priority within AFRI’s Foundational and Applied Science Program to support a project titled, “Promoting Climate-Smart Agricultural Practice to Reduce Risk and Impacts of Drought, Wildfire and Woody Encroachment on Livestock Production.”
The Great Plain, especially the Southern Great Plains, is the heart of the nation’s livestock production, but sustainability and productivity is consistently under threat from droughts and wildfires, but more alarmingly, woody plant encroachment. New research has shown that climate-smart agricultural practices such as prescribed fire and mixed-species grazing are effective for reducing the risk and impacts of drought, wildfires, and woody plant encroachment, while bringing additional value-added to working rangeland landscapes.
The adoption of these practices as well as the public’s understanding and acceptance of these practices has been limited. The two major goals of this project are to: cultivate agents of change and to develop a diverse workforce that can effectively communicate how climate-smart agricultural practices can reduce overall operational risk, while adding value to livestock production that extends treatment life of current brush management practices. It is imperative that producers, agencies, educators, and researchers continue to develop, refine, and implement scalable approaches to engage land managers and the public to promote resilience and sustainability for the Great Plains grassland savanna ecosystems.
The grant was officially announced in May from USDA-NIFA and is a five-year grant. Be on the lookout for more information regarding these research, education, and extension efforts. Click here to learn more about this grant and the other grants that were funded.