Fire Appreciation Day

A HUGE thank you to Dr. Dale Rollins for organizing Fire Appreciation Day at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch on May 24th!  We had over 80 participants and a healthy mix of stakeholders, agencies, and Prescribed Burn Association members!  Thank you to Dr. Robin Verble-Pearson, Zac Wilcox, Lloyd LaCoste, Matt McEwen, Mark Moon, Chris Ellis, Kent Mills, Barrett Koennecke, Brad Kubecka, Seth Pearson, Ethan McJames and all the other others who helped put this show on!  Thank you for your support in prescribed burning! Click here for more information on the talks presented at Fire Appreciation Day! And check out this link for the radio broadcast presented by Texas Farm Bureau!

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Strike First with Prescribed Fire

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Last week I had the opportunity to participate in Fire Appreciation Day at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch (blog post coming soon on that!) organized by Dr. Dale Rollins.  What a fantastic way to celebrate and learn more about fire effects!  You will find summaries and abstracts of the day’s events under the tab Resources.  I was blown away by the numerous stakeholders we were able to bring together, County Judges, Commercial and Insured Prescribed Burn Managers, producers, Prescribed Burn Associations, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Parks and Wildlife, USDA-NRCS, County Extension Agents, National Grazing Lands Coalition, and many others!  As a result of these efforts, Gary Joiner from the Texas Farm Bureau covered the event and wrote a tremendous story on prescribed burning (which you find here). It’s days like these and stories like these that help tip the fire scale a little bit closer to proactive prescribed burning!  #EveryDayisABurnDay #HappinessIsSmokeOntheHorizon

Managing Heat for Wildlife on Texas Rangelands

I am a really, really lucky Range Specialist!  I get to have one of the most amazing jobs and work across the hall from a very intelligent Wildlife Specialist!  We decided to combine forces and have recently published “Managing Heat for Wildlife on Texas Rangelands”.  You can find the publication here.  Check it out and download it!  It’s free!

100 Years at Sonora

In case you haven’t heard, Sonora is having a party! Well, technically, Field Day first and party afterwards.  Dr. Butch Taylor has decided to retire and go out with a bang at the Sonora Celebration.

This Saturday we celebrate one individual and one Experiment Station that have been inseparable for 44 years.  One man.  One Career.  One location.  Pretty amazing and definitely not something you see everyday.  The Sonora Experiment Station is a magical place to start with.  This is probably the only place in the United States where producers advocated and helped purchase land and facilities to be solely utilized for applied research that producers NEED.  Match that research station with a very dedicated and determined individual and you have the perfect combination of research and outreach.  Here you will find an invitation to the Celebration and all the information you need to know to attend, including directions and a list of hotels.

If you have only heard of Dr. Butch Taylor, please come to the Sonora Celebration and shake the man’s hand.  Butch has done more for Texas rangelands and for Fire Ecology than any other scientist or Aggie for that matter.  But, you would never know that just by talking to him.  He is humble, gracious, kind, and truly in the business of education. I promise to keep a straight face, tear free, on Saturday, and can’t wait to applaud one hell of an amazing man. To learn more about Dr. Taylor’s story and tenure at Texas A&M University click here.


Please come celebrate Sonora with me this Saturday, April 23rd.  More importantly, come meet the man behind the station.

5 Thing I Loved about the Eldorado-Divide Range Contest April 16, 2016

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of watching our District 6 and 7 4-H’ers complete the Range Contest in Eldorado, Texas.  These kids represent the very best of the best and as I watched them calculate stocking rates, forage production, and identify range plants I realized that I am so very blessed to learn from them.  I had the time of my life last Saturday because they #1) actively pursue learning about rangelands EVEN ON SATURDAY, #2) take pride in agriculture, livestock, and ranching, #3) are some of THEE most polite and well-mannered kids I have ever been around, #4) keep me on my A-Game, these kiddos are sharp, stubborn, and smart and they are not afraid to stand up for what they believe, and #5) reminded me why I am a Range Specialist 🙂

I encourage all of you to get your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, pretty much all kids, into a 4-H program and point them the direction of Rangeland Management, because we all know it starts in the pastures!

Congratulations to all the winners!  We will see you all again in Ozona on May 21st and Junction April 27th!

Ring-Fire Ignition

Click here for a fantastic short YouTube video of drone footage on a prescribed burn!  This 70-acre RX Fire was conducted by Conservation Fire Team south of San Angelo.  Thank you to all who helped make this happen!



Texas Section Society for Range Management YOUTH RANGE WORKSHOP

Our Texas Section Society for Range Management 62nd Youth Range Workshop will be June 26 – July 1, 2016 at the Texas Tech University Campus in Junction, TX.  This is a very exciting opportunity for our Texas youth (14-18 years old, completed 8th grade, but have not graduated high school)!

At the workshop, participants will gain knowledge and skills in ecology, range inventory, range management, and evaluation of resources.  More importantly, we teach public speaking, advocacy, and leadership skills so that each student is equipped with the knowledge to effectively educate others on the importance of rangeland management.  I encourage you to forward the application and flyer to any youth that might be interested in learning more about stewardship of our natural resources.  Applications can be found here.  More information YRW 2016 flyer.

Who Started That Fire — Embracing a Fire Culture in 2016

Fire is fire.  That said, I can tell you fire is the answer, but the problem is in the questions.  Is it a wildfire or prescribed burn?  The biggest question for range managers, is how does fire (planned or unplanned) fit into your ranch plan?  Fire is a naturally occurring process that is not centered on if, but when it will happen on rangeland.  As rangeland managers we have the choice as to the type of fire that occurs in our pastures.  Waiting for a wildfire is neither a good offense nor a good defense, similar to the old Marine philosophy, which mountain do you want to die on? It boils simply down to proactive vs. reactive attitudes and perspectives. Check out Who started that fire – Embracing a fire culture in 2016 for more of the story featured in the Progressive Cattleman.