Kansas Winter Grazing Conference will feature Steve Kenyon

Submitted

Steve Kenyon of Alberta, Canada, a rancher who manages Greener Pastures Ranching Ltd., will be the featured speaker at two locations: Red Rock Ranch, 4340 270th Road, in Soldier, Kan., on March 8 and the Knights of Columbus Hall, 212 Iowa Street, in Olpe, Kan., on March 9. Workshops will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no charge to attend. Refreshments and lunch will be served; registration is requested for adequate meal planning!

Kenyon operates a custom grazing business in Alberta where they regeneratively manage approximately 2,500 acres of lease land and run over 1,100 head of cattle each year. The mission statement of the greener pastures is “Economic and Environmental Sustainability for Generations.”

Kenyon believes it is important to provide an enjoyable, profitable and sustainable business for future generations. It is a priority to maintain healthy soils and to build biodiversity to ensure that our agricultural businesses remain profitable and sustainable. Kenyon has traveled around the world consulting, teaching and putting on workshops. He has written for over two decades for Canadian Cattleman and Stockman Grass Farmer.

Topics for the day include:

1) Understanding Carbon Sequestration

2) Fixing the water cycle

3) Matching your natural resources to the needs of your livestock.

There are three processes needed to sequester carbon and store it in the soil:

• Photosynthesis – pulls carbon out of the air,

• Exudation – the plants push glucose out through the roots into the soil and

• Soil biological conversion – we need an active living soil, full of biology to convert and store the carbon in a stable form.

We need living roots in the soil for a longer season with more ground cover. A full canopy of plant cover will capture more sunlight, and sequester more carbon. Livestock helps with the management of a perennial polyculture of grasses and legumes. The plants, along with the “underground employees” help sequester carbon. Photosynthesis takes the carbon out of the air and pushes it into the soil with exudation. That base material with increased organic material creates topsoil.

Water is our most important nutrient! There is a huge difference between the actual rainfall that we measure, and the amount of rain that soaks into the ground for plant use. Farmers and ranchers can increase the amount of available water by managing runoff, evaporation and infiltration.

We can help fix the water cycle by increasing the water holding capacity on the ranch. We need to leave more residue and build soil through root growth, make sure the ground is covered, by using live or dead plant material to protect against runoff, erosion and evaporation, and leave plenty of organic material to hold onto the water. Ranchers do have the ability to improve their water cycle!

Ranchers should strive to build a polyculture using a variety of plants to feed their animals and improve the ecosystem. Ruminants play a crucial role in the ecosystem and pasture regeneration. It is also very important to match the nutritional needs and life cycle of the animals up to be in sync with the highest nutritional quality of the available forage and the best season to give birth.

Make plans to join the discussion! Sponsors for the workshop are Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, Kansas WRAPS, Glacial Hills Resource Conservation & Development, Delaware River Watershed, John Redmond WRAPS, Toronto Fall River WRAPS, Tuttle Creek WRAPS and Greenwood Conservation District. This event is funded in part by Section 319 of the Clean Water Act and Kansas NRCS.

Please register using the following website online by March 5 – https://kaws.networkforgood.com/events/67743-2024-winter-grazing-conference.

To register by phone or for questions, call or text 620-750-0309.

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