The South Dakota Section of the Society for Range Management held their annual meeting Sept. 18-19. The meeting began with an Excellence in Range Management ranch tour at the Dan and Cindi Conner Ranch north of Belle Fourche. About 50 people were in attendance to see the landscape that the Conner’s have managed for the past 40 years, using sheep and cattle to maintain productive working lands. The Conner’s ranch is located within the sagebrush range of Butte County and is home to active sage grouse leks, pronghorn, and other wildlife. The tour concluded with a plant identification contest, where winners were awarded with plant identification books and other fun prizes.
After the tour, the group held their annual social, crazy auction, and banquet at the First Gold Hotel in Deadwood, raising over $1,500 youth education and outreach programs.
The Society also recognized the 2019 Excellence in Range Management Award winners during the banquet. These ranch families were nominated for the awards by range professionals from around the state. Award winners for 2019 were Dennis and Jean Fagerland (Langford), Brett and Lori Nix (Murdo), the Grubl Alkali Ranch (Sturgis), the 777 Bison Ranch, (Fairburn), and Slim Buttes Buffalo Ranch (Buffalo). The award winners were recognized with plaques for their efforts and all will host public tours of their operations during the 2020 season to showcase their great resource management. In addition to winning their region, the Slim Buttes Buffalo Ranch poster was also chosen to go on to the International Society for Range Management Meeting in February in Denver to compete for top honors and show the great activities happening in South Dakota.