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RBC | Tiffany Jehorek, Meeker District Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced last week the Grady and Klinglesmith Ranches Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Tour Tuesday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
Everyone and anyone interested in range management as assisted by NRCS is invited. Mike Grady and Lenny Klinglesmith are providing this educational tour as part of their participation in CSP. Originally rolled out in the 2002 Farm Bill, CSP is a voluntary program in the NRCS tool shed that can assist landowners achieve conservation benefits.
According to Jehorek, “CSP is intended for those operators that have very few, if any, resource concerns, that is, land elements not meeting quality standards. We use this program to assist taking the land and participants’ operations above and beyond typical conservation practice standards.”
Both the Grady Ranch and the Klinglesmith (LK) Ranch “voluntarily entered into the program to take conservation on their land a little further by providing more benefits to soil, water, wildlife, plant diversity, and livestock production,” Jehorek said. “I am pretty excited about the tour; this is an opportunity to showcase how NRCS can assist landowners and, even more importantly, show what some of our Rio Blanco County livestock producers are doing for the land we love.”
Those wanting to participate are asked to RSVP to Mike Grady at 970-321-2053 and to meet at the LK Ranch Klinglesmith house, 7503 County Road 13 (Flag Creek Road). From there the tour will travel up to Lime Kiln and Hay Flats. Those who can are urged to bring a 4-wheeler or side-by-side. In addition to the ranch operators, both FFA and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are expected to present.
Grady said the discussion and tour will focus on how range monitoring and improvements have benefitted the ranch operations. Examples of range monitoring, brush control, prescribed burning, aspen thinning and the use of wildlife friendly fencing will be reviewed.
Grady also suggested that the recent rains should make their efforts look better than they might have as it has until now been very dry on Lime Kiln this summer like most all the rest of the county. He also hopes to talk to the group some about the history of the Lime Kiln area.
A CSP plan is custom built by the operators and NRCS together, Jehorek emphasized. She explained that CSP is for working lands and is the largest conservation program in the U.S. with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled. Benefits can include improved cattle gains per acre, increased crop yields, decreased input costs, better wildlife populations, and more resilience to weather extremes. Also, the program is also expected to result in multiple benefits to local communities including better water and air quality, wildlife habitat, and availability of quality food and fiber.