Western SARE’s Research to Grass Roots grants have a simple goal: to get the knowledge gained in recent research into the hands of farmers and ranchers who can use it to improve their practices and profitability.
A newly funded Utah project is a perfect example.
It looks at the results of four previously funded Western SARE projects on sustainable ranching and uses an existing tool – the Wyoming Ranch Tools website – to help ranchers in Utah understand the economics of adopting any of the practices and recommendations developed through the earlier research.
“Western SARE funds a lot of interesting and important research that can help ranchers in the West,” explained Master Stockman Consulting’s Bridger Feuz, the project director of the grant and an extension specialist with the University of Wyoming. “The difficulty for ranchers can be knowing what research might matter to their operations and understanding the economics of it. Can I afford to implement this practice, and what’s the ultimate benefit of it?”
This grant will begin with a series of workshops to walk Utah ranchers through those questions, focusing specifically on ideas and recommendations generated by the earlier research projects. The workshops will teach ranchers how to use the economic calculators on the Wyoming Ranch Tools website to evaluate:
*Dormant Season Grazing using Protein Supplementation (based on SARE project GW17-040)
*Using Fodder Beats as Late Season Forage (based on SARE project FW18-013)
*Understanding Cattle Diets using Advanced Plant DNA Technology (based on SARE project GW17-059)
*Reducing Nitrogen Fertilization by Inter-seeding Legumes (based on SARE project OW10-309)
“Each of these projects has potential application for Utah ranchers,” Feuz said. “The goal of the workshops is to help individual ranchers understand the potential costs and benefits and see which of them can help their operations.”
After the workshops, over the next year, Feuz’s group and Utah State University extension will conduct four on-ranch demonstrations and produce how-to videos documenting the demonstrations and explaining how to use the Wyoming Ranch Tools to estimate economic sustainability.
“This phased approach will effectively take four Western SARE projects from Research to Grass Roots while also giving producers tools for evaluating other research projects,” Feuz said. “We’re excited about the opportunity.”