COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Grazing lands get no respect. Often designated as “undeveloped” land, it is a term suggesting wastelands waiting for a worthy purpose.
“The Nation’s grazing lands, also known as rangelands, are not just in a waiting room to become houses, malls or vineyards,” says Bob Drake, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) chairman. “Grazing lands have many jobs: homes for livestock, sponges for rainfall, wildlife habitat, carbon reservoirs, hiking and bird-watching meccas, hunting and fishing grounds, and much, much more. Sustainably managing all these roles across 600 million acres of grazing lands in this Nation is a huge balancing act and it’s also the topic of our conference,” he summarizes.
GLCI will host its 5th national conference in Orlando, Fla., from Dec. 9-12, 2012, at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center. GLCI conference organizers expect more than 1,200 ranchers, professors, land managers, researchers, public officials, ecologists and students to participate in the exchange of information on successful “cutting edge” grazing management technologies.
This year, Temple Grandin, noted animal behavior expert, author, speaker and professor, will be one of a number of featured presenters. Some of Grandin’s books will be available for purchase and for a book signing that will follow her keynote address on Monday.
In conjunction with hosting the conference in Orlando, the Florida Grazing Lands Coalition (FGLC), a division of GLCI, will provide a workshop with Fred Provenza, Utah State University professor and award winning research scientist and rancher, on Dec. 12.
The conference will continue its past format of providing information along four “tracks” that will include Eastern, Midwestern, Western and dairy grazing issues. Some of the issues to be highlighted include the value of rotational grazing and of riparian habitat, carbon sequestration and the flexibility within grazing systems.
One thing that sets GLCI apart from other conferences is its focus on ranchers as presenters. “We know experts come from academia, government and the nonprofit world, and we welcome them all, but we also look for the “cowboy expert” who has gained his—or her—expertise through long hours with livestock and first-hand exposure to all sorts of elements—natural, economic and political,” says Drake.
Early bird registration of $295 is available through Oct. 15, 2012, followed by regular online registration until Dec. 1, 2012. On-site registration is also available with the regular and on-site price of $365. While most papers and posters for the conference have been selected, some additional submissions may be accommodated. Information on registration, papers, posters and/or exhibitor opportunities can be found at the GLCI's website.