2nd Annual Grassland Management School, Calving Café Talks, Alumni Event, and host of other grassland opportunities slated for 2019

Pete Bauman
SDSU Extension Range Field Specialist

Last summer the South Dakota Grassland Coalition and partners launched the Grassland Management School in response to landowners and agency staff looking for improved tools and knowledge for managing and maintaining grasslands, grassland plantings, and pastures. We are hosting the second annual South Dakota Grassland Management School July 23-25 at the Watertown Event Center/Ramkota.

The school is open to all who are interested in grassland management, planting, restoration, wildlife, pollinators, stand enhancement, or grazing and will feature classroom and field-based instruction over the three days. Key features are an equipment session and field tours with visits to demonstration sites. In addition, we’ll be offering advanced tours for 2018 school alumni, interactive learning, and expanded opportunity for open discussions and networking.

The 2019 school will allow participants to work through specific background field scenarios such as chemical and fertilizer history, grass crop objectives, and management goals. In addition, expanded opportunity to work individually with grass management professionals and to network with other grass-based producers will be available. Returning alumni will also have the opportunity to re-visit tour sites from the 2018 school.

This course is modeled after the successful platform of the South Dakota Grazing School and the South Dakota Soil Health School. Often, landowners or managers attend one of those two schools and still have a lot of questions about establishing and maintaining grasslands. There is no pre-requisite for attending the Grassland Management School, as the curriculum is independent of the other two schools. We hope to provide the best science behind the tools, regardless of whether it’s a new stand of native or tame grass, native grassland, or a CRP habitat planting.

School classroom and field instruction will include goal setting, grassland history and ecology, grassland soil health, seeding into cropland, seeding into existing sod, choosing seed mixes, agency program support, planning your project, planting and stand establishment, tame and native stand maintenance, fertilization, grass-based enterprises, prescribed fire use, and drought management among other topics. Field trips to a variety of grasslands will be included throughout the school.

Registration for the School is $180, which includes a one-year membership to the South Dakota Grassland Coalition (registration is only $150 for current Grassland Coalition members). Contact Jan Rounds or Pete Bauman at the Watertown Regional Extension Center at 605-882-5140, or for registration details.

Also new in 2019 for those persons who have previously attended either the South Dakota Grazing School or the South Dakota Grassland Management School are invited to an alumni event to be held at the Nix Ranch near Murdo on June 19-20. This event will feature advance topics that will build on the basics presented at the schools, with a focus on grassland establishment, business management, finances, drought/weather resiliency, and identifying advantages/opportunities. RSVP to Judge Jessop at (605) 280-0127 or for more information.

Upcoming events

Please contact Judge Jessop unless otherwise stated. Judge Jessop at (605) 280-0127 or for more information.

  • Livestock Handling Workshop: June 3. SDSU Extension at Mitchell Technical Institute. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • Range camp: June 4-6. Lamphere Campground, Sturgis. Contact any of the following: Krista Ehlert 605-394-2236, Matt Scott 307-399-3425, Tanse Herrmann 605-210-0602,, Carmen Drieling 308-430-3324.
  • 13th annual ranch Bird Tour: June 7-8. Hansen Ranch, Letcher. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • Excellence in Range Management Tour: June 17 (rain date June 20). Soelzer Ranch, Piedmont. Contact Tanse Herrmann or 605-347-4952 ext. 3.
  • Other Excellence in Range Management Tours: TBD. Contact Pete Bauman.
  • Rangeland/Soils Days: June 18-19. Redfield, S.D. Contact Ivy Pazour, Spink Conservation District at 605-472-0102 Ext.3.
  • Alumni Day on the Ranch event: June 19-20. For grazing/grassland school alumni. Nix Ranch, Murdo. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • West river grazing school: June 25-27. Guptill Ranch, Wall/Quinn area. This school is now full. To be placed on a waiting list, contact Judge Jessop.
  • Pasture Walk: July 9. Hanson Ranch, Letcher. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • Pasture Walk: July 11. Ollila Ranch, Newell. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • Additional Pasture Walks: TBD.
  • Leopold Conservation Award Tour: July 16. Johnson Farms, Frankfurt. Contact Judge Jessop.
  • Grassland Management School: July 23-25. Watertown Event Center/Ramkota, Watertown. Jan Rounds or Pete Bauman at the Watertown Regional Extension Center at 605-882-5140, or
  • SD Soil Health School: Sept 4-6. Kurt Stiefvater Farm, Hartford area. Contact Cindy Zenk, 605-280-4190.
  • SD Grazing School: #1 September 9-11, #2 September 11-13. Chamberlain. Contact Judge Jessop.