AoR 30: Transformation & Translation, SRM’s 2020 annual meeting and training

Join Julie Elliott, Chuck Butterfield, Hailey Wilmer and Matt Barnes as they discuss their new approach to the Society’s 2020 annual meetings. Interaction, conversation and hands-on learning rather than presentation is the outworking of a planning process that capitalizes on the integrative nature of rangeland science and rangeland people and the process of translating and transforming the Society’s meetings and trainings to the 21st century. Find out more at http://www.srm2020.org/ 

Transcript

[ Music ]

>> 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 artofrange.com.

[ Music ]

We're going to try a new approach today with a discussion among several folks who are responsible for planning and running the Society for Range Management's annual meeting. But before we get into that, I want to mention that we have a brand new survey up to try to get a better idea of who is listening to the Art of Range podcast. The podcast is a good format, but it doesn't afford much opportunity for two way communication with listeners unless people write directly to me. You can find the survey in the episode Description, or the show notes, whatever you want to call it, in your podcast feed. If you scroll down past the introduction to the episode topic and speaker, and below that you'll see the words we need your feedback followed by the link. It's only 13 questions. It should take less than two minutes to fill this out. But this data really is more valuable than you might think for reporting to funders on the results of the podcast effort, and also helping to direct future content. The Society for Range Management has been a sponsor of the podcast since day one. And I've been involved with the SRM since 1995 when I started as a range student at the University of Idaho, and have been attending the majority of the meetings in about the last 20 years. I've been peripherally connected to some of the other professional societies. But the SRM really is unique. It's been known as an organization and a conference that promotes really good interaction, not just presentation, and not just from people who are the, you know, top tier research scientists. And this year's conference really is a, looks like a little bit different approach than how the conferences have been structured in the past. I understand the Society for Range Management did a survey back in 2017 to get some feedback on what members want. And before we talk about the survey, I think we'll introduce everybody who's going to be part of the discussion today. Let's see. We have Chuck Butterfield who is one of the conference planners. Chuck, can you give just a brief introduction to who you are and how you came to be involved in the conference?

>> Thanks, Tip. Enjoy being part of this podcast process. Been a member of SRM since 1979. Been going to all these meetings since '79. Missed two of them. So, got a bit of a background there. All three of my degrees are in range. Originally from North Central Wyoming. And am back in Wyoming. And I'm glad to be working with Julie and Justin and Hailey, Matt, Randy, the whole group planning this meeting. So, we hope that people find the change interesting and refreshing. So, look forward to it. Thank you.

>> Thank you. One of our other participants on the podcast today is Hailey Wilmer. Hailey, can you give us a brief introduction of how you got roped into this?

>> Hi, Tip. Yeah, I'm [inaudible] at the Agricultural Research Centers in Fort Collins, and I've been involved with SRM since I came to grad school in 2012. So, since we're planning this meeting jointly with the Colorado section and the Wyoming section, I got roped into helping plan the technical program as a Colorado section member.

>> Great. Welcome. Julie, can you tell us who you are?

>> Sure. I'm Julie Elliott. Grew up in the Eastern Plains of Colorado. I do have a bachelor's degree, but not in range, it's actually in wildlife. But I had a minor in range. And the only place I've ever worked professionally is in range. I'm located now in Northeastern Colorado. I actually am employed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. And I got roped into this by the infamous Roy Roth. I put together a lot of workshops, been doing workshops for about 20 years, and he thought I would make a good general co chair to help make this meeting happen.

>> Great. Glad to have you. And Matt Barnes is our other, and the last person we have to introduce. Matt?

>> Hey, Tip, this is Matt. I've been a member of the Society for Range Management since about '97, I believe, and had the good fortune to work on rangelands and ranches up and down the Rocky Mountains. Currently, I work through a non profit called the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, and a small range science and consulting business [inaudible] horizons and land management.

>> Great. Welcome to the show. Let's talk just a bit about the survey in 2017. Again, because we don't have much survey data about podcast listeners, I don't know what percentage of listeners are SRM members, but I know for sure there's quite a few that are not. Chuck, can you tell us a bit about the survey in 2017 that was intended to get some broader feedback on what society members want in the conference and what the results were?

>> Well, I'm going to defer that to Hailey, because she's got a better handle on that than I do. So, I would pass that onto Hailey.

>> Okay.

>> So, I'll let you [inaudible] go from there.

>> Yeah. We, basically, Tip, we just knew that planning an annual meeting is a big responsibility, and we wanted to make sure that it was relevant. I know when you're, you know, you're in a group and you've gone in the meeting all day and you've been listening to PowerPoints, you know, you can go out to drinks with your friends or whatever after and start to hear some of the feedback, and we weren't really incorporating that into the program. So, we acceptability out a basic form for folks online and asked them some questions about why they attend the meeting, what they want to get out of it, what changes they want to see. We didn't have a really large sample size, but the 90 or so people that responded were from across the board. SRM has a great mix of members, as you mentioned, in terms of interaction with federal and state land agency staff, extension, and technical service providers, academics, and researchers. There are a lot of emeritus members, private industry folks, ranchers, producers, non profits, and students. So, it's really one of the only places where that group gets together. Right? And really it's hard to make everybody happy. When we sent the survey out and really started to look at the results, we found that people attend the meetings, they want opportunities to network, they want opportunities for professional development. And there's also a, it's really important for researchers to present their current research when they're interacting with each other, pushing the range sites forward. But at the same time, folks said they wanted more outside perspectives. They were kind of hearing the same things over and over again. And they weren't really getting that diverse range of sort of topics and perspectives on some of the same tough problems that we're dealing with in rangelands. Another interesting thing we noticed is that the format of the meetings have gotten a little bit stuck in kind of PowerPoint mode, and we wanted to break free from that. Our folks said that they were looking for more opportunities to engage with one another, and particularly with producers, with the media, with decision makers. So, just kind of listening to, you know, 10 to 12 minute presentations all day can start to feel like an echo chamber when we know that people sort of, they learn best by talking to each other. So, those are some of the things we learned from the survey. And we brought up a little blurb about it and put it on the media website if folks are interested in kind of the details.

>> What would you say has been the general composition, the species composition, so to speak, of the people who come to the conferences historically?

>> We haven't done a great job of tracking that, which is interesting for a scientific society. But it's probably well distributed. You know, I think it's been tougher to get agency support for travel and meeting expenses. Certainly, producers haven't been as well represented as we'd like in things like the range practicum that Matt's going to talk about later, a huge part of bringing them in. There's just, there are actually a lot of students and young people. We have a really diverse age class, you know, sort of age classes in our community, which is great. But for the most part, the science presenters have been the ones that are the main body of the attendants.

>> Yeah, and I have felt for some time that the SRM feels more than other societies that I've seen, like a bit of an almost, a classless society where you see really strong mutual respect between people who are veteran researchers and folks who are, you know, on the ground, range conservationists and ranchers and consultants, agency biologists, you know, that mix of folks seems like it has historically produced a fairly productive conference, even with, even with some of the historical setup, you know, with 15 minute PowerPoints. So, I'm pretty excited about the way this year is set up. I'll just throw it out there. If anybody who wants to, can someone describe the theme of this year's conference being held in Denver in case we hadn't said that yet?

>> Yeah, we haven't talked about the theme transformation translation. And it's coming from what Hailey was talking about with the change in the approach to the conference and trying to do something new. So, transforming the conference, transforming the way we think about rangelands, both, so both aspects, it's both and, the conference side of it and SRM side of it and the science rangeland side of it, trying to change how we think about all three of those, and transform them so that we realize that rangeland is getting left behind in the public eye. Everybody gets excited about cute little fuzzy animals and impressive pictures of forest fires make everybody warm and fuzzy about the forests. But it's kind of hard to get people, or people tend not to get very excited about grasslands. And so trying to explore that effort of increasing the public interest in rangelands and changing, of course we have to change how we present rangelands to the public, and to ranchers, as far as that goes as well, to increase their appreciation of this valuable resource.

>> You know, and as I kind of pointed out too, that, you know, and I think Hailey backed up there, that we have kind of been doing the same thing over and over again for decades. You know, I remember back in the days when it was a slight show. Then we went to power point. And we've been trapped there ever since. And several years ago, we changed the title of the meetings to annual meetings and trainings. And we have not done real good on the trainings. So, that's where, you know, we're pretty excited about the hands on, the practicum that is going to take place on Thursday, to really increase that. And then we've also been, you know, as a former, you know, active emission, we're often a lot of times accused of being just strictly academics and research. And one of the things we really as a society need to do is to include the people that provide us our profession. The producer, the ranchers to, you know, the land managers out there, so that's one of the things that, you know, we're trying to do too with especially the practicum, the change in the format, is just put it into a format where, you know, we're transforming how we present this information, and then trying to put it into a format that everybody can utilize, can understand, work that direction. So, thus, the transformation translation that we're trying to do with range. So, this is definitely a new process we're going through. I really appreciate what our program committee is doing, what the practicum committee is doing, and what my co chair, Julie, has just been very, very supportive of. So, new look for us.

>> For those listeners who may be interested in considering the conference and had not previously, is the best website to go to the srm2020.org?

>> That would be the best one. That's where all the hotel reservations are, the program at a glance is at, the trade show information. We've also got a healthy grasslands summit that is going to be held on Thursday. It's another way that we have trying to wrap in the general public in with the land managers to get a better understanding of management of the grasslands and the prairies that Julie just talked about. So, yep, go to, you know, srm2020.org, and that will give you a lot of the information.

>> Okay. I'm aware of some folks that have not ever been to the SRM annual meeting before who are potentially interested in going. And these are, you know, the ranches, people that work for state cattlemen associations. Let's talk through some of the content, because when I have, in the past, showed somebody who does not know about the SRM the kind of content that's in the full program, there are typically shocked at the number and diversity of topics that are in there. You know, everything from soil to wildlife to sociology to research methods and grazing management and ecosystem monitoring. I mean, the list could go on and on. Let's talk through some of the sessions that are planned for this year, maybe just to start with, an overview of the general schedule. There's three, three main full days of meetings. Right?

>> Right, yeah, we've [inaudible] people are going to be tired by Friday if they come. So, a couple of the things that we're doing here is we'll have three fun area sessions. We've got five really great primary speakers going up. Really excited to have Leslie Rosch and Lauren Grensky [phonetic], two amazing women researchers in range science and ecology on Monday at 8:00 a.m. So, I hope folks get there Sunday night and are ready to go bright and early, 8:00, to hear Leslie and Ryan talk about interdisciplinary collaborative research at regions with communities. I really look up to them and am excited to hear what they are to say. And then Tuesday, oh, so, on Tuesday, we're going to kind of shift it up a little built and focus the whole day on students and student success. So, we're bringing in Karen Launchbaugh from University of Idaho who has just a really deep history and wisdom in the field of range science and training students and professionals in the field. We are also going to bring the young professionals [inaudible] on stage. They have their own [inaudible]. And they're going to talk about some of the opportunities, but also barriers students face to remaining in the society and making rangelands for all of it. So, that's going to be fun. I think a lot of young people are wondering if the range profession is still relevant to them. And I think we're going to address some of those topics. And then Wednesday, we have just one primarily speaker we're bringing in. Karim Ali Kasam [phonetic] is a researcher that works in high latitude and high altitude communities that are based in natural resources around the world. And he's going to be speaking about some of his research in the context of basically, I'll read you the title of his, of his presentation, because he's going to bring in kind of this global perspective, Speaking Truth to Power: A Transdisciplinary Research, Indigenous Knowledge, and Wicked Problems. So, those are just some of the, the speakers will be every morning between 8:00 and 10:00. And then we'll go into sessions, workshops, and posters, and then have some time for social interaction in the afternoon. So, I'll let Chuck and Julie talk about some of the other things.

>> One of the big changes we made to the meeting is instead of having everybody just submit their own individual papers, and then the program folks lumping them together as they had similar topics, the call for, the call for proposals was actually sent out saying work together with somebody else that has a similar interest and a similar topic and let's put together a connected presentation so that we don't have these random talks scattered about. Because what would often happen is we'd have, we'd have rangeland ecology one and rangeland ecology two, and sometimes they were running concurrently, and you wanted to listen to the 8:30 talk in rangeland ecology one, and then you wanted to listen to a 9:00 talk in rangeland ecology two. So, you're rushing into the room and then zipping out and trying to rush to the other one, only to find out that that person didn't show up, or the schedule got rearranged for some reason. And that undoubtedly, you ended up missing part or all of the talk that you really, really wanted to hear because somebody got ahead or behind or the order got mixed up. There was a decision made in the room. And then because you were in another room, you didn't know about that decision. So, this is, this is a more coordinated effort to try and put the, put similar talks all together with the speakers coordinating with each other. So, we have what's called a symposium, which is intended to be a couple hour presentation where each person has a limited amount of time, 15 to 25 minutes to talk, and then time for questions. And then at the end, there's a concerted or a planned time for questions. So, you don't get cut off when you're trying, when you wanted to ask a particular speaker a question, because, well, now we've got to move on to our next topic, and, you know, it's going to be four hours from now before you can actually catch that speaker, or you try to catch them in the hallway. So, an opportunity to increase the learning and increase the dialogue between the speakers and the attendees that are interested in that particular topic. So, that's, that's I think going to be a really great change where people aren't trying to, having to rush back and forth between different spots in the, in the building, trying to get to the workshop that they want to go to, or the talk that they want to go to. So, then there's workshops, which is sort of self explanatory. Instead of being death by power point, it's more of an opportunity for audience involvement, for people to learn skills, to actually walk away with something that they can take home and use, or take back to their field and use. So, a practical leadership communication skilled opportunity. And then something called ignite, which is sort of new. Well, it's new to us, but it's not so new to other societies. If you go on YouTube and type ignite, you'll find all kinds of them. But there are sort of the marching orders is enlighten us, but make it quick. So, you have a five minute talk around, centered around a theme. And you've got to keep on time, because each, the sides are supposed to automatically advance every 15 seconds. So, no getting lost and joining on and on on a side and everybody starts wondering what's that little stuck clear off in the corner. The slide is not going to be up there that long. And then at the end of this session, or selection of ignite style talks, by then there's opportunity for everybody to interact. So, more so than what's even in the symposium. But the whole purpose of the ignite session is that you have these short talks, and then a lot of opportunity for everybody to interact and discuss the topic, and to learn from each other, to ask questions, and to really put something together concrete where everybody with walk out and say, wow, I really learned something in that whole session, not just, well, I learned something from that one speaker, but that whole session enlightened everybody and brought us all to a new understanding with each other, and on the topic.

>> Yeah, that's, you know, if we can, you know, increase that interaction is one of the main things we're focusing on, we have a number of technical and companion tours. And that, you know, typically we go on these tours, we learn stuff, and then we load on the bus and jump off the bus and take off from there. We're going to have an opportunity at the end to tie everything together at the very end so that, you know, what did you learn, and so that, you know, if I'm on a tour, I can sit there and talk to somebody from Florida as they're looking at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal and some of the restoration work that they've done out there. I would have an opportunity to discuss from their point of view what's there. And from the tour guide, which is the assistant refuge manager, one of the folks from ARS that is going to lead that. So, we really want to enhance the discussion. The posters, what a great opportunity to talk and discuss with other people. But you've got to have people show up. And this way, people can show up. They don't have a lot of time. But then they can get together afterwards. So, really focusing on that. The student events, you know, we've got something called bridging the gap. And the whole opportunity there is for the young professional conclave, the student conclave and all the student attendees, and the professionals at different levels to be able to get together and talk about careers. So, you want to grow up and be a rangeland consultant. What's that like? What do you need to know? What do you need to do? You want to go to work for NRCS. What you need to do there. So, it's just a real focus on communication. And as Julie so well puts it, avoid that death by PowerPoint routine that we have tended to do in the past quite a bit is just be able to have that interaction, have people get together and discuss in a completely different format. I believe this follows what was seen at the International Rangeland Forum up in Saskatchewan. You'll see it with a lot of other professional societies. So, just a new way to get people to present and to interact. The posters, we've got a link on our webpage about posters. You'll put it together as a traditional one with, you know, 3,000 words crammed into, you know, a four by eight space with, you know, 20 graphs, presented so people can look at it, you can have a discussion, whether trying to read an entire methodology section.

>> I love that. I'm definitely familiar with the phenomenon of erasing from session to session, because you're trying to catch the 9:30, and then the 9:50, and the 11:10 that aren't exactly on those time stamps. Well, what are some of the topics that are going to be covered in the symposiums and workshops?

>> Well, we've tried a lot of them out so folks will be able to get to, you know, all the different things that they're interested in. On Monday, we have a symposium on transforming ranching through precision livestock management, and extensive rangelands. We have a workshop called creating success in range management, tapping into our emotional intelligence. So, I'm excited for that one. I think that's just recognizing, you know, this is all about people, and we have had that emotional intelligence to communicate. Another symposium on strategies for sustainable, sustainably, transformations in western rangelands. And then we've got three [inaudible] sessions that morning, social, ecological resilience in the Northern Great Plains, conservation economics on the western working lands, and managing rangelands for pollinators, best management practices, for the research it needs. So, you pollinator buffs will have some new discussions there. We've got a lot of folks working with multiple stakeholder groups or collaborative efforts that they do. In the afternoon, folks can catch a discussion on annual grass managements, applications of the state and transition models to novel resource management issues. And also technological advances for precision livestock management and extend the regions. I'm excited about that one. Folks from [inaudible] from around the Western U.S. are coming together to talk about new technologies, such as GPS callers, you know, sensors on water tanks, things that are going to help people save money and save time and manage their livestock in the 21st century. And we'll also have some social science that afternoon. Range management social science from the LTAR Network, which is an ARS project. Tuesday, we have kind of two things going on. We've got concurrent sessions that are similar. But we're also going to have these campfire conversations. So, a few years ago, I was chatting with Bob Mountain. I don't know if you know Bob, Tip. Okay, yeah, Bob has just retired from the forest service. He was with the forest service for over 50 years. And he really mentored a lot of young people. And he had this kind of velocity about sitting around kind of the campfire, if you will, and chatting about things. Right? Instead of the PowerPoint style. And he said, I wish we could just sit in a circle and talk sometimes at these meetings. So, so, we are working on basically doing that. We're going to take a big broom and fill it with roundtables. The tables will have facilitated conversation on topics that members suggested. And we asked them to send in certain controversial or hot topics. So, we're going to be talking about climate change, federal land management grazing, restoration, wild horses, how to get the next generation involved in range science. Can we ecologically and economically manage rangelands? So, some of the things that we really care about. And folks are going to have two hours to chat with each other about that with no PowerPoint at all. That will happen in the morning. And it will happen again in the afternoon. You can get those if you want to go to the other sessions you can do that time. So, I hope, I hope you'll come to those. It's a little built of an experiment. It's a little bit of a rotational grazing problem managing, you know, we'll have about 200 people doing this at one time. So, I'm excited for that. And that day, we'll focus on topics that center students and center student success in the future of the, future of the society. One of the things I'm excited about is open source range, which is an ignite session that's going to focus on ways that we can get big data or open source information into the hands of managers. We'll also have a session on the Kenyan IRC Conference. So, some folks might be planning to go to Nairobi for the International Rangelands Conference. And they'll have a delegation there on Tuesday afternoon to talk about that, that meeting. We'll have a couple of workshops on Wednesday of folks who haven't worked with stakeholders or facilitated [inaudible]. We'll have a workshop on Wednesday that will talk about how to engage stakeholders.

>> I just wanted to build off of the Kenyans that are going to be present there. We also have a group from Mongolia that's going to be there. Mexico always sends a strong delegation. I know some that are coming up from Argentina. We've got some interesting stuff coming out of Australia and New Zealand. This e shepherd program using callers to direct grazing. BOM has expressed a lot of interest in that for their targeted grazing on cheatgrass work. But we do, we are an international society. And, you know, we're trying to focus, you know, some of that, and some of the diversity. We've got a Native American drumming group that's going to come in and get us started. The Native American Advisory Council is focusing on a licensure on Sunday. So, we're really trying to increase the diversity of that. Our diversity group is going to have a table that's there so people that, you know, sometimes feel maybe excluded from the science and not only the science but the society, they'll have an opportunity to see the diversity we're going to have. We're sponsoring six Native American undergraduate students. And to be able to increase that. So, we are an international society. And we are trying to focus on that as part of the diversity. And Hailey has been a big lead on a lot of that there. One of the other areas that we tend to, you know, not focus on as well as I think we should is the producers. And that's where the hands on practicum that Matt will talk about is pretty good. But we do have a producer reception at the National Western that's going to feature James Rogers who manages the Winecup Gamble Ranch. I've worked on that ranch quite a bit. And anybody can manage 920,000 acres. And the stock that they have is pretty amazing. So, trying to increase the producer involvement in this. I know that's one of your focuses with these podcasts is try to increase the producers quite a bit. So, we've got a producer forum. Part of that is going to be women and ranching. It's going to focus in on a number of women that have, you know, spent their lives in, you know, ranching. So, we've got that going out there with the range practicum. So, you know, it's just an opportunity to be a little bit more diverse, and, you know, to try to increase that conversation between the land managers and the scientists and a lot of times the action personnel that are in the middle there. As a rangeland consultant, I am very aware of the, you know, middle, between the agencies and the producers. So, there will be some agency focus efforts at these meetings. So, if people want to learn more about BLM's aim monitoring pro cot, there's going to be a good one there. Communications that students need to learn to work with agencies. There's going to be a session there. So, just really trying to, you know, increase that diversity, and then translate, you know, a lot of the technology and the information that we have that doesn't always get shared.

>> Yeah, I'm looking forward to that. That's a good transition to the, to the practicum. Matt, you were involved in, still involved in planning and executing this practicum.

>> Yeah, Tip, that's right. So, this is the range practicum, or we hope in the future it will be looked upon retroactively as the inaugural range practicum.

>> That's right.

>> It's a hands on land and livestock training, all focused on ranchers and folks who work out on the range. So, lots of, lots of different pieces to it. We're particularly excited about the Low Stress Livestock Handling Workshop. That will be taught by Whit Hibbard, who's a fifth generation rancher from Western Montana. He's also the founder and editor of the Stockmanship Journal, which you can read online. That grew out of several stockmanship symposia that we've had over the last several years, which were very exciting and well attended, and a lot of people got to understand what low stress livestock handling is, and how it's not just a kinder, gentler version of what we already do. So, with, after a lot of talking about that in the last few years, we decided that we could have Whit Hibbard do a hands on workshop at the National Western Complex all day on Thursday, February 20th. So, we're real excited about that. That will be an opportunity to work on the ground with cattle, thanks to the trainer cattle company. And you can do that in a bud box. You've probably heard of that. You may or may not know what it is. But you'll have your opportunity to do it yourself with Whit Hibbard. So, that will be set up. And if you really enjoy that, by the way, the panels that we're using are going to be for sale for a really discounted rate, thanks to Jacks Outdoor, which is a preferred [inaudible] dealer. So, we're also going to have a stock packing workshop that will be put on by the folks from the Shoshone National Forest who have the horses and mules that are part of the Rocky Mountain pasturing, so you can learn about packing mules, you can learn about soil horizons. We'll have some soil pits and an opportunity for people to texture soils, figure out how sandy or clay they are. There will also be a session on wild horse trapping adoption and training. That will be put on by some folks from the Mantle Ranch, the Carson National Forest Wild Horse Program, and Barry Perryman from the University of Nevada, Reno. We'll have a prescribed fire workshop put on by Great Plains Fire Science Exchange featuring some actual flames. That will be fun. A demonstration of a rainfall simulator showing how soils that are managed with different types of grazing have different water infiltration properties that leads directly to soil health and pasture productivity. And then we'll have some of the equipment demonstrations as well. So, that will be restoration equipment, pesticides, sprayers, things like that. And also the women in ranching forum that you mentioned, Chuck, that will be at the National Western Complex as well on Thursday. We're really excited about that. That's inspired by the Western Landowners Alliance Women in Ranching collaboratives. And that features a panel of women who are involved in ranching, but from really different perspectives. So, some of them are relatively what you might call traditional for lack of a better word. And others are very much not traditional. So, that will be moderated by Pat File, a rancher from Florida, featuring Mary Budd Flitner from Wyoming, some folks from the, that you may know through the Quivira Coalition down to New Mexico. So, Nancy Ranney who's president of that, as well as the Southwest Grass Fed Livestock Alliance. Julie Sullivan, a really fascinating individual who actually developed the Quivira Coalition's new agrarian program that's a mentorship program where young people who want to get into ranching do these year long apprenticeships on some of the greatest ranches around the west. And she'll have a lot to say about that, I think. Mimi Hillenbrand who runs Bison. And then, and one person who's actually really new to ranching, a really interesting individual, an artist from California who married one of the Hibbards at Seaton [phonetic] Livestock, her name is Ashley Hibbard, and she'll be talking about the radical change in her life that came about from that. And, of course, Seaton [phonetic] Livestock is also the ranch that Whit Hibbard, our Low Stress Livestock Handling instructor is from. So, we're excited about all of that. And if you've got any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer it. Oh, and I should also say that that begins the evening before at the National Western Complex with the producer reception. And that will be a salute to all of our previous Excellence in Range Management Award winners, as well as the presentation by James Rogers from the Winecup Gamble Ranch on wine management days.

>> Yeah, that's exciting. On the range practicum, are there limited spots available for that, or is it come one, come all?

>> That's come one, come all. You can come to the entire conference, which, of course, we encourage you to do. Round out your three days of conferencing with a day of hands on excitement out at the National Western. Or you can just come for that day if you'd like. Either way, you can register online. And if you're at the conference, you can add it onto your registration, or you can show up at the door the morning of. If you do, we recommend you come early.

>> Sounds good. Well, I'm planning to be there, and I'm looking forward to it. Any, any final thoughts from the group on, on why somebody who has not been a member of the SRM may be a livestock producer in the region that's close enough they could drive over? Final thoughts on why that person should come to the conference?

>> I would say come to the range practicum, anybody who works with livestock out on the range, this is an excellent opportunity. $85, what a deal for an entire day with Whit Hibbard, learning low stress livestock handling. If you already feel that you've mastered that particular aspect of the business, why, there's all these other opportunities for learning. Understand your soils, because soils drive it all. Soils determine what vegetation is out there, how quickly it recovers. It's the driver of the whole thing. So, come and understand what your soils are and how grazing impacts those soils' ability to take in water, and thus feed the grass, which then feeds your livestock. This is, this is just an outstanding opportunity for ranchers to come and have a great opportunity to learn from each other and from the presenters. And it's hands on. This is not sit and be lectured at all day. This is an opportunity for hands on through the entire program. So, please do check us out.

>> Well, one thing I would say, you know, especially for students, having been in academia for so long, I joined SRM in 1978. And so, you know, that has been, you know, this is my profession. And, you know, that's one of the reasons I should belong to this is this is my professional society. And I work with a lot of people from the BLM, the Forest Service, the NRCS that don't have a clue that there's a professional society. They just do that as a job. You can't be a professional at your job unless you really spend some time learning about what else is going on out there. We're synthesis discipline, so there's so many different areas to range that are out there. And so joining this society, you know, is a key thing there. And I always hear this common thread from people. Oh, what do I get from JRM? I get a free magazine. You know, you get out of it what you put into it. And so I encourage people to do that. And I really would encourage a lot of folks to, you know, consider that the rancher that's out there, there's a lot of times people say, oh, the rancher, they're not professionals, they're just out there ranching. By golly, those guys know more about range than a lot of these academicians do, I'll guarantee you that. And so that's where it's good that, you know, if we get some of those folks out there, we get the James Rogers of the world that, you know, are involved out there, we get, you know, John Griggs that, you know, has spoken before, and we get a lot of these folks that are really progressive ranchers that really, you know, we need to have them in there. So, it is a professional society that is on all sorts of levels. And we need to get them together at least once a year, or at least, you know, having a conversation. So, that's where, you know, your podcasts here, Tip, are a great vehicle for that. You know, I really, I'm pleased to have been part of this at startup. And, you know, I encourage you to keep this going. Just one last pitch for the, you know, practicum and the meetings for the students. You want to get a job? It's always really nice. This is one of the things that we got from our little note board that Hailey talked about earlier, is, you know, how do I get this training, how do I put this on my resume, you know, yeah, I'm a fire guy, I'm going to do fire. But I've got a degree in range, so I can, you know, fall back on that. Well, you know, a lot of times you end up having to have equipment packed into some of these areas on a fire. Learn how to do them packing. You know, I still do that, you know, a couple of years ago, I was all over the grove on on pack animals doing stuff for the forest service. So, just an opportunity for everybody to kind of get together and learn from each other. So, that's why you should belong, because you do get a lot from belonging to your professional society.

>> Thanks, Chuck. I heard somebody say recently that the strength of philosophy is that it doesn't change. And the strength of science is that it does. And I feel like we see that nowhere more evident than in the SRM. I've been saying a lot recently that I feel like I have a lot fewer bad answers than I did 20 years ago. And that's probably the beginning of wisdom and not the end of it. But where, yeah, you're not, you're not, you're not really learning unless you're constantly learning. You don't get it in a four or five or six year degree and then, and then not change from there on out. And this is really where that, both where new knowledge is being generated, as well as people bouncing ideas off of each other and putting ideas together to do something in the real world. I'm pretty excited about that. Well, thank you all again for participating. For those that missed it the first time, you can find out more about the Society for Range Management's annual meeting and training at srm2020.org. And we hope to see you there. 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 show@artofrange.com. For articles and links to resources mentioned in the podcast, please see the show notes at artofrange.com. Listener feedback is important to the success of our mission, empowering the rangeland managers. Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey at artofrange.com. This podcast is produced by Connors 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.

[ Music ]

We want your input

Future funding for the podcast will depend on listener feedback. Please take 1-2 minutes to respond to a 6-question survey after each episode.

Give Feedback

Taking suggestions

Have a question for us to answer on air, or a topic suggestion for a future episode? Email show@artofrange.com