n addition to being the primary income producer for our business, our cattle herd is also used as an important tool for manipulating the surface of the ground to achieve conservation goals. We use cattle for prescriptive grazing programs in areas that we determine need more intensive management: this can mean grazing a large number of cattle in a small area and moving them several times a day. On the other end of the spectrum, it may mean resting a pasture for a year or more in order to promote vegetative vigor.
Even the most careful management may be in vain without detailed monitoring. We utilize a program known as Land EKG, which is used predominately for analyzing plant and animal communities and the associated ecosystem processes: water and mineral cycle, energy flow, and succession. We also maintain seasonal bird banding stations, and work with scientists from conservation groups such as Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and The Nature Conservancy to generate information that will better our ecological management methods. Through careful examination of the effects of our management program, we’re able to adapt and adjust where necessary, and also learn which strategies have succeeded in furthering our goals.