AoR 119: Change on the Range 2024 in Nevada, with Meghan Brown & Dave Voth

Rangelands and people inevitably change. Managing that change involves people influencing people. The Society for Range Management's international annual meeting is the flagship ecological event of the year, bringing together ranchers, researchers, agency land managers, students, and other professionals from all over the world to share information and encourage one another. Dave Voth and Meghan Brown have worked hard to make this interaction productive and enjoyable. Listen in on this discussion about the content and goals for this meeting in the heart of American rangeland, Sparks, Nevada, including live interview plenary sessions to be broadcast live on The Art of Range. Don't miss this conversation and this important meeting!


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>> Welcome to the Art of Range, a podcast focused on rangelands and the people who manage them. I'm your host, Tip Hudson, range and livestock specialist with Washington State University Extension. The goal of this podcast is education and conservation through conversation. Find us online at

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Welcome back to the Art of Range. My guests today are Dave Voth and Meghan Brown. They are helping run the 2024 Society for Range Management annual meeting coming up in Sparks, Nevada toward the end of January. We tend to run episodes on here that are not time specific, like an event announcement, because not everyone listens to episodes when they first come out. But this is more of a promotion of an annually occurring event. And discussing the pretty broad work of the society. And an invitation for folks to participate in the society. And the annual meeting is one good way to do that. Dave and Meghan, welcome.

>> Hey, Tip, thanks for having us.

>> Yeah, thanks for having us. Appreciate it.

>> Dave, you've been on the podcast before. Some folks may remember us talking about the Good Grazing Makes Cent$ program. So, we're going to introduce Meghan first. And as I understand it, Meghan, you're one of the co chairs of the meeting. How did you come to be the organizer for the international conference? Because I have to confess that the thought of trying to put on this kind of meeting sounds like a nightmare, because I'm not administratively gifted, so I'm wondering if you really enjoy that, or if there's some other kind of co option going on here.

>> Yeah, I'm actually a co chair of the planning committee, so Melanie Aten, who's a long time member of the Nevada chapter of the Society for Range Management, is my co chair. And we have a strong planning committee. So, yes, it's intimidating to be part of planning such an organization, but we have a strong team that represents a broad array of folks from the Nevada section. And luckily the parent society as well has really stepped in in the past couple years to be a great support and I think provide some consistency for membership. So, if you attend a meeting in New Mexico or Nevada or Idaho, you'll have the same sort of structure, which I think is a positive thing, so I really enjoyed that. I've been part in and out of the Nevada section for years. Recently was kind of brought back in actually by Dave. So, been lucky to be part of the chapter as president this year. And also helping to plan this great event.

>> Yeah, thank you. Many people may not be aware of the size of the meeting. I think, I think the 2023 meeting in Boise set a record for attendance. And it was somewhere between 1,600 and 2,000 participants, which is, that's a pretty large number of people. A lot of events going on at the same time. A whole lot of stuff to coordinate. The theme for this year's event is change on the range. Where did that come from?

>> So, when we were chosen for the next meeting, because, you know, to plan these sorts of things, it's a multiyear event, and so about two years ago, we were contacted by the board, asking to have the meeting in Sparks, Nevada, which has a long tradition of hosting this meeting, as well as the nugget itself has had a tremendous history in the ranching community, and supporting events from Cattlemen's Association to range management to youth events, stockmanship, those sorts of things. And so we were excited that the nugget was interested again, and the society was interested in reaching out. So, once the chapter had decided to take on planning the meeting, the initial planning committee talked about themes. And I think especially in Nevada with fire and invasives and some of the other challenges that we face, really felt like the dynamic nature of ecosystems and the change that we're seeing in the Sagebrush steppe specifically, and the risks there. So, we sort of started at that point. I think there's a lot of discussion about how we attack some of those challenges, or frankly I see them as opportunities for growth in our industry, and so I think that's where it stemmed from in our idea to really think about things differently, take opportunities, and maybe we don't, to tackle the new things that we have going on, maybe we need to take a different approach.

>> Yeah, I think that's good. You mentioned that Sparks has a long history of hosting the event. There may be a lot of listeners that are not that familiar with Nevada. I have only recently spent a little bit of time in Nevada. And even as a range person who lives in the West, I'm pretty impressed with some of the features in Nevada, but I don't want to, I don't want to suggest things that are unique that are my ideas. So, you guys both live in Nevada, even if you're not from Nevada, but you may be. What's unique about Nevada rangelands, or the history of range science and grazing there?

>> Great question. So, in preparing for this, and trying to learn about some of those sorts of things, I did find that Nevada does have the highest percentage of rangelands in any state. I was curious about that, which is fascinating. Nevada, from an ecosystem perspective, definitely has a variety of different ecotypes, all the way from Mohabi. The majority of the state is range. And the Great Basin ecosystem, a lot of sagebrush, sagebrush steppe. But we also have a ton of mountain and elevation as a basin and range state. And so big open valleys surrounded by beautiful mountains that have, continue that sort of shrub step up into woodland ecotypes. I think it's more cold desert. So, and tend to be at high elevation. So, most of the communities are anywhere from, you know, 4 to 6,000 feet elevation. And then a lot of our mountain ranges go, you know, 7, 8, and our highest ones are at 11,000 feet.

>> I would add from the social side of things and the cultural side of things the amount of public land we have in Nevada makes for very interesting management. We're 185 plus percent federally, federally landlocked. And it really changes the dynamic of how you manage these rangelands and the relationships that you have to build in order to do good rangeland management.

>> And I think just to echo that point from a management perspective, a lot of the low lying, wettest, most productive areas are in private land, are private ownership. And then the surrounding landscapes are federally managed. And so that dynamic of trying to weave the management of both those two different eek logical types from a production perspective is as unique challenge and opportunity.

>> Yeah, those match my limited experience. I've been impressed at, I was surprised the couple times that I've been through Nevada at how mountainous it is, at what the elevation was, and the amount of public land. A couple years ago, I think some people may think that Nevada and some of that part of the Western U.S. is just featureless desert. And in driving through, you know, going north to south, we were on our way to the Grand Canyon, traveling with the family, and I ended up coming in from the west side to get to the Grand Canyon, so we went through, went through Vegas. And I was really surprised at how rapidly there was, you experienced the transition from the sagebrush steppe to the Mohabi Desert. And they looked totally different. And it seemed like just in the space of a few miles, you had this shift from one plant community type to another. It was really fascinating. But the, yeah, the size and the elevation and that basin and range topography is really fascinating.

>> I love driving down 80 and spotting all the different ecotypes as we go. So much so that my family is kind of tired of making that trip with me.

>> I think my husband probably feels the same.

>> Yeah, I might resemble that. My kids are pretty good sports about it. But I never get tired of looking at it. Well, and this is a big event. The Society for Range Management has been holding these annual meetings for a pretty long time. But I think there's been some evolution in the character of the event. One of the things that I like about the society is that it feels like you have a more robust exchange of ideas among the different I guess demographic segments socially than I see in other societies. It feels like there's a much, maybe, I don't know, a higher level of respect, say on the part of researchers toward ranchers recognizing that, you know, this really is I think the queen of applied biological sciences. And so it's really important to listen to the people that are observing things that are really happening on the ground, because those observations are genuine. And I think our goal is to work together to understand what are the causal links and how can we influence them. But these things are so complex that the only way we could make any headway in trying to understand them and manage them is to be listening to each other. So, who is this event for, in your opinion?

>> So, it's for rangeland users, which includes the agencies, the academics, and producers. But the more I learn about rangeland, and the more I think about it, we're all really connected to rangeland. So, it might be big helps, but I honestly think anybody could get something out of this meeting, and the society in general. We're very dependent on rangelands, especially in Nevada, whether you're a producer, grazing, or you're in mining, or, you know, at least in Northeastern Nevada, most jobs come back to the landscape. And so I think it's for everybody. But we probably focus on producers, academics, and agency folks.

>> Yeah, and I think for those people that are interested in finding where their connection is to those, any of those connections, right? So, if you're somebody that likes to recreate and cares about wanting to go out and have that sort of similar experience and you don't want to come out and have seen a fire come through and are interested about why that may happen or how you can support actions to prevent those sorts of things, I think one of the things that I've enjoyed in the transition from my time attending society meetings is really that connection piece. Landowners, managers, federal land managers, and scientists seem to be communicating more and working towards on the ground solutions, and understanding how to step down research to on the ground actions. And then same sort of thing. Questions coming from land managers or permitees to the research community, like hey, we're seeing this, you know, what is going on, and how can we fix it. And I think it's a really great union of all of those. And so I think people that are interested in those types of things, this event is for them.

>> Yeah, I would echo that. The academic side of things trickling to the producers and land managers. And vice versa, those anecdotal observations from the producers going up to a more scientific approach is incredibly important.

>> Yeah, the older I get, the more convinced I am that we learn the most from people who experience the world and think differently than I do. And I think that's where you get out of the box solutions, epiphanies, which can sometimes be painful. But that's how we make progress. One, another way to get that is by inviting people to participate that aren't even from our country. And the Society for Range Management has tried to be an international society. And I think to some degree has been successful in that. There's obviously challenges in people traveling halfway across the world to go to a meeting. But I do think there's a lot of value in that for those that are able. So, this is intended also for people that are part of managing rangelands in other parts of the world. And you see some of that content reflected in the agenda. Talk a bit about the different ways that international participants, and by international I mean outside of the Continental U.S., we tend to consider the Canadians kind of part of our group, because we're on the same landmass, but what's in this for international participants?

>> Absolutely. And I think hopefully we can get into maybe some specific topics that will be in the workshops and symposias in a bit. But there's opportunity to attend the meeting virtually. We also hope to have some of the plenary live streamed as well. And then our goal this year is for those that, you know, can't participate from a timing perspective, because a 9:00 a.m. symposia in Reno, or Sparks, Nevada, may be midnight for those international. And so we plan to record the sessions so that people can later access those and have access to the information.

>> Yeah, and I would add that I've seen remote participation done badly, and I've seen it done pretty well. And I think the society, with the last couple years for practice, is doing a pretty good job of encouraging remote participation that is actually effective.

>> Yeah, and it's our goal. I would agree. And I think it's our goal to sort of continue to sharpen that pencil, right, and figure out the best way to have engagement, through engagement from those participating remotely, versus just being able to attend and absorb the information.

>> Mhmm. And that remote participation is at a reduced registration rate. Do you happen to know off the top of your head what that looks like?

>> I apologize, I don't.

>> Yeah, it's less than full registration.

>> It is less, yes.

>> And I think it's definitely worth the cost. As I recall, it was quite a bit less. That's pretty exciting.

>> Yeah, and that's one of the goals is to continue to find ways for people that either can't travel or from our international community to be able to have participation.

>> Yeah. No, that's good. I think one other, one other group that maybe in the past has not felt as welcome as they ought to is ranchers. Dave, you are coordinating the rancher forum, as well as the plenary sessions, both of which are intended to, you know, kind of get to the rubber meets the road aspects of range management. What would you say is in it for ranchers?

>> So, that rancher participation has been my goal since joining SRM is to try and increase that. And I can say for myself, I spent a lot of years in production, thinking that SRM was above my pay grade, and didn't really get involved. And the moment I got involved, I could see how valuable it was from a production standpoint. So, specific to ranchers, we have the producer forum, which is going to be that Wednesday. It will be an all-day event. We've got Dallas Mount from Ranching for Profit coming in to do a full, full day's workshop on ranching for profit. We, we expect pretty good turnout for that, because that's, that's a pretty amazing school. And every podcast I listen to on agriculture sites that as one of the best changes they've made to their operation. So, producer forum alone is meant specifically for ranchers. Anybody is welcome to that one. But that's my hope is to draw ranchers in with that. And anything else they soak up while they're there is going to be just gravy for them. Specific to the ranching community, we also have a half day workshop on stockmanship. We're still working out the details. But probably Don Meadow, Wid Hibbard, James Stewart, a couple other big names in stockmanship are going to be there to present in some panel discussions. And kind of do just a deep dive into stockmanship and how we take those old methods and use them in current situations.

>> Yeah, I think that's pretty exciting. It feels like one of the changes that we're seeing nationally, I don't know about internationally, is a move toward being a little bit more deliberate about how and where and when and why we place animals instead of just turning them loose. And, you know, any, if you had 10 range scientists in the room, they're all going to say that the limiting factor usually in successful grazing management is animal distribution. And in the past, I think we've relied too much offenses for animal distribution. And there's a pretty encouraging trend toward more I guess old school back to the future ways of managing livestock, like the stockmanship that begins to look almost more like shepherding than it does what's been cynically called the Columbus method, you know, where you turn them out in the spring and see if you can find them in the fall. There's a number of movements away from that, including virtual fence and stockmanship and electric fence. There's a lot more options today than there were 50 years ago. And I think that's an encouraging thing. A funny story, Karen Longeball was talking to me a couple weeks ago about some history that she was reading about barbed wire. And actually her father in law is one of the, has one of the larger collections of barbed wire and has a fair bit of history on it. But she said when barbed wire first came out, they had to have a demonstration. I think the demonstration was in Houston. Because ranchers didn't believe that wire would contain cattle. And so they had these, they had these demonstration events where they had cows inside of a barbed wire fence to show people that it could work. And, of course, you know, I feel like today the irony is that oftentimes barbed wire on large range areas does not contain cattle as well as we'd like it to. And so that's one of the reasons, separate from cost, why people are looking at different ways to control livestock distribution in a meaningful way. So, I'm excited to see the stockmanship school, because I think those have typically been attached to producer only events. And I think there's a lot of value for the folks that are non producer range nerds to know a little bit more about some of these more effective ways in managing cattle well.

>> We do get a lot of participation from non production rangeland folks in these stockmanship deals. And we usually bring it back, instead of distribution, we're usually talking about time. You know, that's kind of our common theme is the amount of time that they're spending out there in a given area and moving them to a new area to spend that different amount of time.

>> And, yeah, I think the value of having this type of presentation at SRM does allow that cross cutting for BLM range specialists that, you know, have a permitee that comes in that's implementing this, and may have challenges, you know, having those land managers understand those nuances I think is a pretty powerful thing to continue to move resource health in a positive direction and allow permitees to have the flexibilities that they need to implement these activities that are beneficial for production, as well as rangeland health.

>> Yeah, just like the barbed wire seminar, it's the same thing, only with old technology.

>> Mhmm. Dave, you're responsible for the plenary topics. And this is often kind of the showcase of the conference related to the theme. What have you got cued up for plenary topics and the people that we'll be listening to.

>> Yeah, thanks for asking about that. This is, we started this conversation off prior to me being the chairperson for this event with a discussion on how to reach a younger audience. And one of the things that came up was podcasts are very popular, especially with the younger group. And so we came up with this idea of hosting a podcast on stage. So, we're going to do this over two days, January 29th and 30th. We're going to host the first group of young professionals, people who are in college, recently out of college, or recently into their career. The topic will be what does change on the range mean to you. And our very own Tip will be hosting that podcast there on stage. These people that we're going to be, who are going to be taking part in the podcast come from a variety of backgrounds from production, agency, NGOs, that sort of thing. And I expect to get different answers on what does change on the range mean to you from within this cohort of younger people. This will be followed up the second day of the plenary with same topic, same format, with a group of more experienced rangeland professionals, including producers, agency, NGOs, and academia. And, again, I expect to get different answers from them within that cohort, but also I'm very interested in what the difference is going to be between those two age groups. And those that are coming up and going to be taking over the reins of rangeland management in their career, I'm very interested to see what they think change on the range looks like.

>> Yeah, I like the question of actually just beginning to think about how to prepare for this. But for one thing, I like open ended questions, because it doesn't presuppose, you know, a certain kind of answer for a category of topics for an answer. But the other thing that I like about it is if people are thinking about this ahead of time, they're going to come up with their own answers to that question. But then once they get into conversation with each other, that will spur new answers, because they're responding to what other people are thinking. And I think that's one of the, that's one of my big goals for a podcast in general that is conversation is that I find that I think about things in new ways. You know, even on topics that I think I know something about, or I've done a fair bit of research on. But you get into conversation with somebody, and their perspective on it, and their answers creates a whole new line of thinking. And oftentimes putting those together is way more productive than what we can come up with on our own.

>> The art of conservation through conversation.

>> Yeah, that's funny. I've got that on the, I think on the website, but I don't hear it or say it very often, and so I forget. And I still like that, I still kind of like that tag line. And I think that is, I think it's actually effective. And I think it works. And so we're looking forward to, I'm looking forward to getting into that with the folks that you guys have picked out to run this conversation.

>> Yeah, I'm really looking forward to this one. I think this is a unique showcase of the plenary, a way to do it differently. And I think we're going to be able to reach a bigger audience for this, both in person and then I assume the podcast will be aired later on, so I'm excited about the, just doing this a different way.

>> No, I like the idea of broadcasting it at the time of, and then obviously recording it and putting it out for a later release, because that will catch a different audience than the folks that are on there. Yeah, we often say that we need to do things friendly than business as usual. And that's sometimes I think business as usual is good. Like I really enjoy just listening to a good speaker who goes on for an hour. And if they're good, it's worth listening to. But there's a whole different kind of, a whole different kind of I guess synthesis in your mind that occurs when people are doing this in conversation. It's a little bit riskier, because you don't know what's going to happen, or what's going to come up. But I do think that it's productive, and I think it will be useful. And I think you're right that it will get to a new audience. One of my, I guess one of my goals, both for the podcast and in my participation with the Society for Range Management in various ways, is to get more of this work of people like you guys out to the general public. I don't like the term general public, but I'm not sure what else to call it. I had a sociology professor in college who said there is no general public, there are only a lot of different publics. And we can identify what some of those are. But people that don't know anything about rangelands, or when they hear the word range, they think that it's the thing that you cook your eggs on in the morning. But I do think that's one of the limiting factors, because there's a really good story to tell here. And I'm sure people are tired of hearing me say it. But there's not very many, there's not very many aspects of economics, culture, agriculture, where you really can have your cake and eat it too. And I'm still absolutely convinced that if we do rangeland based grazing right, we really can have our cake and eat it too. And I'll mention again the ecosystem services report that I'm not sure has gotten enough traction yet. This report was a recent product of a task force by the Society for Range Management. And we had a podcast episode with Jeff Goodwin and Lauren Prinsky about that a little while back. But, again, this is a big story. And I think it's one that needs to be known outside of our little niched range crowd. And maybe this is one way to do it, to have people with diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives talking about it, and then try to get that out there to the world.

>> I think that general public is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of rangeland, but I'm afraid they're not getting the whole story. And I think podcasts like this, the plenary we're doing, the meeting in general is a good way to get that out there, you know, they're starting to realize that rangeland is important, but they need the entire picture, not just, you know, what they have been segmented out to hear.

>> Yeah, and maybe just a follow up question of that, before we move on to talk more about the actual content of the conference, you've been involved with this Good Grazing Makes Cent$ program for some time, and we did a podcast episode on that. But to what extent do you think that's getting outside of just the producer audience? And, you know, as a caveat there, if it's mostly getting to the rancher audience, I think that would be tremendously productive. But is there anything going on at the conference this year regarding the Good Grazing Makes Cent$ program?

>> Yeah, Good Grazing Makes Cent$. So, our primary focus is to producers, and that is our intention. I think there's some good stuff within it that the general, or no, not going to say general public, that the public at large could glean from. But it's pretty specific, and I don't think that it's going to be applicable to that public at large. This year at the meeting, Good Grazing Makes Cent$ is putting on a renewables presentation. That is a big part of that general public, you know, where their energy is coming from, and what it may or may not do to the rangeland, solar wind. So, that's going to be one put on by Good Grazing Makes Cent$. I think we're also, we do the carbon panel in Boise. And that went over well enough that we're doing two more in the next two months. But I don't think that's going to be at Sparks. The renewables panel is the big one for Good Grazing Makes Cent$ here. There's some other ones we're involved in, but the renewables is where we're hitting heavy this year.

>> And I would say, Tip, and I don't want to belabor the point, but I do feel like renewable energies, renewable energy development is really brought a whole new realm of people into the conversation about what happens when those projects, the scope that they need to happen at, the scale they need to happen at, and where they're going to be located. And to your point of, you know, what is Nevada, and what does Nevada look like, I think a lot of people have a vision of more of a drive through or fly over sort of state, and that there's not biodiversity, and that there's not ecosystems, and all of those sorts of things. And I think people are waking up to that idea, and what that, what does a, you know, 50,000 acre solar project look like? What does a 120,000 acre wind farm look like? And what impacts do those have to Levucia, to the ecosystem, to the sustainability, those were all economies that are going to have impacts from livestock removal. And wildlife, you know, all of those sorts of things. And so it really has, at least in Nevada, really sparked quite a bit of conversation and coalitions that have formed around what is that going to look like in Nevada.

>> Yeah, it's a pretty interesting question. At least from the perspective of people that live adjacent to rangelands, and maybe have paid no attention to them. You know, we joke about flyover land in the Midwest, but this is drive over land in the West, or even the people that live in that area just drive through it, and may see it as a wasteland. But then when there's a solar installation that goes in on that wasteland, I think it does beg the question, or it makes people ask themselves the question, what values do I have for that land? Something catches when they think I'm not sure I like that. But why? And what does it mean? And, of course, renewables is a broad term. There's a lot of difference between wind farms and solar panels, particularly if the solar panels are covering every inch of ground. And we could get into probably a lively discussion with diverse opinions on that. And I expect that's probably what's going to happen at the meeting, which is part of what it's being held for. You've got people that have expertise, and, you know, some understanding of economics and ecology and ranching and succession planning. And some of all of that comes together in this question of what do we do with renewable energy development on rangelands. I think that's, I'm looking forward to that. Just another comment about wasteland that made me remember I've seen a couple professionally produced maps of the world where everything except rangeland is in a color, you know, a vegetation map where you've got forests in green and you have croplands in yellow or orange. And then all the rangelands are a gray with various kinds of, you know, crosshatched patterns on them. But it's like everything that, even the mapmakers forgot and didn't care about. And I'm hoping that one of the things that we accomplish in the plenaries, in the conference, in some of the, you know, more broad public outreach that will be happening in the run up to the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists in 2026 is making people look at it, like the person going down the road who sees solar panels, and now they're wondering, was that land good for something besides solar panels? And do solar panels or other forms of renewable energy enhance or detract from that? I'm hoping that we succeed in making people begin to ask those questions and go looking for answers from folks that know something about it like all of us.

>> Yeah, just, just getting those questions started is important to me. I have nothing against renewables, but let's ask the question if this is the right place for it and the right time.

>> Yeah, so to the content of the workshop, or the conference, you know, one of the things that science is supposed to be good at is asking questions that have some specificity and coming up with answers. And I have to say that this, this event, the Society for Range Management annual meeting, is one of the only things that I attempt to make my way to every single year, because I think it's, by a long shot, the most relevant content that's out there from people that know their stuff on, in the world of range and grazing management. So, can you two review some of the, I guess the different categories of events that are happening at the meeting? Many people may be confused by the different terminology. What's the difference between a workshop and a symposium and a technical training and an oral session? And then what's going to be talked about, what are the things that we'll be asking questions about, and providing some answers on at this conference?

>> Yeah, so I'm one of those people who still gets confused by symposiums and workshops and oral sessions. But we've broken it down broadly into symposiums and workshops. And there are some other fine detail. But these symposiums are going to be a number of presentations from experts on a united topic. And the workshops are a little more in depth discussion on new and developing topics. There's a wide variety of topics in both, but it's just kind of a different format for each.

>> Yeah, and I think of the workshops as more, or at least the ones that I've attended in the past, as more of that presentation question answer where symposia tends to be a condensed presentations back to back related to sort of synergistic topics for people that are interested in general topics. This year, we have a variety of both. Actually, we exceeded the number of submitted symposia and workshop than was at the Boise meeting, which is great and exciting. So, we are really excited. I want to give a shout out to our program chair Paul Mimen and his team, Sean Swanson, and Dan  

>> Dan Harmon.

>> Dan Harmon, who has worked really hard with our parent society to put together a great, I think it's three, yeah, we'll have almost three full days of sessions and symposia and workshops. So, to highlight some of the different types, they cover such things as private lands, conservation, wild horse management, the idea of collaboration and where and when does collaboration make sense, how climate change is affecting rangeland and rangeland management, young professional engagement, both from a what is it going to look like if you become a young professional in the next couple of years, and then how do we continue to foster those new tools for grazing management, or just management in general. And that's everything from GIS to virtual offense to remote sensing, data collection, what happens with data. And then really practical things related to receiving after fires. Dave talked about the stockmanship activities. And then really to the point that we were getting at before, sort of getting engagement from those that may not necessarily be directly adjacent to rangeland management, but have a passion or an interest in rangelands open space recreation and those types of things.

>> Yeah, there really is everything. And we're not going to be able to discuss the everything in this episode. So, people probably should just go take a look at the program. I was going to try to call out the annual meeting link, but it's a little bit convoluted, so the easiest way is just to go to, and then, you know, there's a big logo in the middle of the homepage there with the annual meeting on it. And if you click on that, it will go to the Sparks 2024 annual meeting page. And then there's links there to the program. But there's  

>> Yeah.

>> Yeah, women on the range, carbon storage science and markets, outcomes based grazing, monitoring soil carbon. The list could go on and on and on. It really is quite impressive. So, I've been trying to get more producers to go to this meeting, because, I don't know, people at least around here, they tend to focus on things that are a little bit more, you know, political advocacy, because it feels like that's where you can make some progress maybe. But, again, the older I get, the less I think politics is useful. And the more I think people should be attending things like this that help them actually manage better and do a better job taking care of land, which is also, that tends to improve your bottom line. So, I think I interrupted you there a minute ago.

>> No, I was just going to note that the, to get to the sort of meat and potatoes of the topics, the speakers, and when the meeting will be, is in the technical schedule. So, there's sort of a schedule at a glance that basically kind of has the big buckets for the days of the conference. But if you are really interested, which I appreciate you plugging how to get to the meeting registration, and schedule stuff on, but the technical schedule really does provide some really great information. You'd be able, if you have questions about the sessions, you can reach out to the parent society themselves, or the people that are listed here as the organizers for each of those events to be able to learn more. And, again, really do appreciate those land managers, resource managers, ranchers, and academia that really put in some great topics and workshops and symposia for this year. We've really excited and appreciate all the enthusiasm. And I really do think we have a real breadth on something for everybody throughout the three days of the meeting.

>> Yeah, we'll put the direct link in the show notes where people can just click on it and it will go straight to that page. But, of course, you can also get there by going to, and then just following the link to that page. Maybe one final question for the two of you. What are your hopes for this meeting?

>> One, to pull it off [inaudible].

>> That's right.

>> That's probably number one on my list. And I don't have nearly the load that Meghan and Melanie have. To me, it's that interaction that you don't get in your day to day, as a producer going there and getting to sit down and have a conversation. A lot of times I go to these meetings and run into my range going, and then we have some better conversations in a different place. It's fostering those kind of interactions is my, is my take away from this. But that's where I think the real value is.

>> Mhmm.

>> And I would agree with both segments of that. I want to land the plane. And hopefully everybody enjoys and has a great time at our meeting, enjoys Sparks and our surrounding areas. There's, I forgot to mention too that there's some really great tours that are available, both sort of social and rangeland management specific tours that are available as well. But I really do feel that over the years the connections and relationships that are made at this meeting have resonated throughout my career, both personally and professionally. And so I think, I really want to see people find connection not only from a job perspective, or from a rangeland management perspective, but just in a community of who we are and what we do. And I hope people walk away from the meeting experiencing that.

>> Well, I have high hopes that that will happen. And I think those are not unfounded, because I think that tends to be how these meetings go. Last year was a tremendously successful meeting, both in terms of things going off without too many hitches, good attendance. And I think really good interaction. There was probably some pent up energy last year in that it was really the first big event coming out of the years that must not be named. And so I'm hoping that we have similar attendance this year. It certainly seems like there's that amount of enthusiasm. Well, I want to personally thank the two of you for doing all of the, not all the work, but doing all of the work that you are doing to try to coral the folks that are involved in making the event happen, because these really are quite impressive conferences, and they do take a lot of coordination. And thank you for doing your work.

>> Appreciate it. Thank you.

>> Well, I hope we see everybody who's within the sound of my voice at the Sparks 2024 annual meeting starting January 28th in 2024. Thanks, guys.

>> Thanks, Tip.

>> Thank you.

>> Thank you for listening to the Art of Range podcast. You can subscribe to and review the show through iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so you never miss an episode. Just search for Art of Range. If you have questions or comments for us to address in a future episode, send an e mail to For articles and links to resources mentioned in the podcast, please see the show notes at Listener feedback is important to the success of our mission, empowering rangeland managers. Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey at This podcast is produced by Conners Communications in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. The project is supported by the University of Arizona, and funded by the Western Center for Risk Management Education through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

>> The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed by guests of this podcast are their own and does not imply Washington State University's endorsement.

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Mentioned Resources

Register at the Society for Range Management 2024 annual meeting website.

Virtual registration for the meeting is here.


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