South Dakota Grassland Coalition to offer lessons on grazing management during annual class

South Dakota State University Extension
2021 Eastern South Dakota Grazing School attendees.

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition, in partnership with SDSU Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and others, will be hosting the Eastern South Dakota Grazing School for all types of grazing managers. The class, scheduled for July 26-28 at the Abbey of the Hills near Marvin, South Dakota, is specifically tailored to address grazing management in plant communities found in eastern South Dakota and the surrounding areas.

The South Dakota Grassland Coalition’s Grazing School has been an important part of the educational platform for private livestock managers and public resources managers for over 20 years. The Coalition is always working to expand its capacity and recognize the differences in land types across the state.

Previously, the school has been offered annually in the Chamberlain area. More recently, the school was expanded to include the West River Grazing School and a Grassland Management School. The eastern South Dakota school will build on this tradition.

“The curriculum at all grazing schools is the same, so a person really can’t go wrong attending any of the schools offered,” said Pete Bauman, SDSU Extension Field Specialist. “However, the ability to have the choice to attend a school that more closely resembles your own pastures is a big benefit when we are discussing grazing timing and strategies. With our wetlands, woodlands, and croplands, eastern South Dakota ecology functions much differently than the central and western grasslands, and we are glad to offer this new option.”

Registration fees for the school are $300 per person and an additional $150 per person for those from the same operation. All meals are included in registration fees. Lodging is also available to the participants at the Abbey of the Hills. Those interested can call (605) 398-9200.

“This school is a great value - through grant funds provided by our long-term partnership with the South Dakota NRCS, we are able to offer it at a reduced cost to our students,” said Judge Jessop, coordinator for the South Dakota Grassland Coalition.

Along with the value of the school, students also become eligible for the follow-up Ranch Consultants Program, where they can receive up to 40 hours of additional on-ranch consultation from grazing experts for a minimal fee. The details of the follow-up program opportunity will be discussed during the school by Dan Rasmussen, the Coalition’s Education Coordinator.

Details about the school and online registration can be found by visiting the SD Grassland Coalition website. Participants can also register by contacting Judge Jessop, project coordinator, at judge.jessop@sdconservation.net or Pete Bauman, SDSU Extension Natural Resources Wildlife Field Specialist, at peter.bauman@sdstate.edu. Paper registration forms are also available at the Watertown Regional Extension Center and can be mailed to interested parties by contacting Jan Rounds, SDSU Extension Administrative Assistant, at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Watertown at (605) 882-5140.