UC Rangelands Winter 2018 Newsletter

Knocking Out Noxious Weeds on Rangelands Workshop: February 20, Santa Maria, CA

Join the fight to reduce noxious weeds on rangelands and get the latest management tools at the final Knocking Out Noxious Weeds Workshop set for February 20th at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria! The workshops is designed for ranchers and land managers, featuring a dynamic list of speakers covering a range of land management topics associated with invasive species.



The workshop will:

  • Showcase effective strategies to manage invasive species
  • Highlight cost-effective approaches that maximize success
  • Feature reduced-risk practices while promoting biodiversity
  • Discuss the economic losses caused by invasive species on rangelands

For complete agenda and to register please visit the workshop website.The course has been approved for 4.0 CEU for DPR; CEU for SRM is pending.

For questions, please contact Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension Livestock & Range Advisor serving Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, mwkshapero@ucanr.edu, 805-645-1475

NEW! UC Rangelands Livestock- Predator Hub

Predators and grazing livestock rely upon rangeland habitats throughout California, and so livestock-predator conflicts are perhaps inevitable. UC Rangelands has recently launched a new “Livestock- Predator Hub” that brings together research-based information and resources for rangeland livestock producers and wildlife managers on mitigating and managing potential conflicts.

Visit the Livestock-Predator Hub HERE.

Just published! Cooperative Extension is Key to Unlocking Public Engagement with Science

The need for scientists — and ecologists, in particular — to engage with the public is well known. UC Rangelands’ Leslie Roche co-authored an article addressing how the U.S. land-grant mission and the Cooperative Extension system have initiated, developed, and implemented models of public engagement for the past 100 years. Cooperative Extension engages through trusted and established relationships, and collaboration and co-development of projects with the public.

Click HERE for the full article.  

Nitrogen Management App 

ATTENTION RANCHERS who are regulated under the Central Valley Irrigated Lands Waiver Program. UC Rangelands has created a tool to assist you with completion of your Nitrogen Management Plan (NMP).

Nitrogen dynamics within irrigated pasture are unique compared to other harvested crops regulated under the program. The pasture N app is based on research conducted within California, in collaboration with scientists at University of California, Davis, Water Board staff and irrigated pasture managers to ensure accuracy and functionality for the expected purpose. 

Complete your NMP today with assistance from the app by clicking here. 

Please check with your local Coalition regarding the need to have your plan certified, or need to submit data regarding nitrogen use on your farm to be in compliance with the program.

3 Steps to Take When Finding a Suspected Livestock Predator Kill

Tracy Schohr, UCCE Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, Plumas, Sierra, and Butte Counties 

This blog post was adapted from the UCCE Plumas, Sierra, and Butte Counties Newsletter – December 2017  

In California, livestock depredation is a growing concern across rural counties with mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and now wolves in the landscape. When you encounter a suspected livestock kill at your home ranch, leased pasture, or public allotment, it is important to take critical steps to preserve the site so a formal investigation can take place.

  1. If you suspect predation, because you’ve seen signs of a recent predator, call:
    • Kent Laudon, CDFW at 530-215-0751
    • Wildlife Services State Office (916) 979-2675
    • Local Wildlife Services (District Supervisors)
      • North District – Jim Shuler (530) 336-5623
      • Sacramento District – Ryan McCreary (619) 666-6418
      • Central District – Brian Popper (209) 579-2891
      • San Luis District – Eric Covington (661) 765-2511
      • South District – John Turman (619) 561-3752
    • If you can’t get a hold of the above contacts, then try:
      • Local Game Warden – Game Warden Dispatch 916-358-1312
      • CDFW Regional Offices
        • Northern Region (530) 225-2300 / Field Office (707) 445-6493
        • N. Central Region (916)-358-2900
        • Bay Delta Region (707) 944-5500
        • Central Region (559) 243-4005 ext. 151
        • South Coast Region (858) 467-4201
        • Inland Deserts Region (909) 484-0167 
  2. Photo credit: USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

    If you don’t immediately suspect predation, when initially inspecting the site, follow the below steps:

    • Minimize your own impacts. Watch where you step and do not step on any signs (e.g. tracks). The fewer steps you make the better.
    • If you happen to discover tracks while initially inspecting the carcass, cover them with a can, pot, etc. to protect them.
    • Take a picture of carcass and surrounding areas.
    • Mark location with camera picture, flagging, or GPS – this can be helpful for investigators to find the site.
    • Protect the scene by restricting people, dogs, and
    • livestock from disturbing evidence.
    • The carcass should be protected by covering with a tarp to avoid further feeding on the carcass.
  3. Officially report incident to the Department of Fish and Wildlife via the Wildlife Incident Reporting System.
    • This will provide a formal record of the incident.  Such reports may result in the issuance of a depredation permit (permit to take animals creating property damage) for designated species requiring a depredation permit by California Codes and Regulations (this does NOT include wolves).

It is imperative to contact CA Department of Fish and Wildlife and USDA Wildlife Services to investigate potential livestock depredations. Depending on schedules, representatives from one or both agencies may conduct the investigation. During their visit, investigators will search the carcass site and surrounding area for predator sign, including tracks, hair, and scat. Therefore, it is important to preserve the site with the steps listed above. The investigators will closely examine the carcass for injuries, bite marks, and tissue damage patterns. Upon completion of the investigation, a “Livestock Loss Determination” report.

Following an investigation that has confirmed a livestock loss from a mountain lion, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife shall issue (depredation) permits when requested by ranchers. For more information on mountain lion depredation, click here.

If a bear has been found to cause livestock depredation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife can issue a depredation permit outside of the bear hunting season. Furthermore, Section 4181.1 of the Fish and Game Code states; “that any bear that is encountered while in the act of inflicting injury to, molesting, or killing, livestock may be taken immediately by the owner of the livestock or the owner’s employee if the taking is reported no later than the next working day to the department and the carcass is made available to the department.” For more information on Black Bear depredation, click here.

Photo credit: Gary Kramer, USFWS

If wolves are present, ranchers can non-injuriously haze wolves near livestock. “Non-injurious harassment is allowed when wolves are within 0.25 mile of livestock, or within 100 yards of a dwelling, agricultural structure, campsite, or commercial facility.1”Additionally, there are non-lethal deterrents that may work in certain circumstance to prevent further depredations of livestock by wolves. At this time, there is no compensation for ranchers who experience livestock loss from a wolf in California. Reporting losses from wolves will help document impacts. For additional information, including tools to discourage wolf presence and legal protections, click here


Tools for California Livestock Producers to Discourage Wolf Presence, Guidance for Suspected Wolf Depredation, and Wolf Legal Status. California Department of Fish and Wildlife – June 2017.

UC Rangelands Fall 2017 Newsletter

Schohr joins UCCE as New Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor

UC Rangeland’s is excited to announce Tracy Schohr as the new Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for Butte, Plumas and Sierra Counties. Since 2012, Tracy has worked with the UC Rangelands team on multiple research and outreach projects. During this time, she earned a Master of Science in Horticulture and Agronomy from University of California, Davis.

In her new role, Tracy will assist ranchers and land managers in addressing livestock production challenges and environmental concerns. She will continue to work with UC Rangelands on a number of ongoing research projects in the region focused on irrigated pasture production, livestock-predator conflicts, and multiple-use management of mountain meadows on public lands.


New Research: Livestock Pharmaceuticals and Waterways

The use of veterinary pharmaceuticals in beef cattle has led to concerns associated with potential impacts to water quality and aquatic organisms. Recent research assessed the transport of common beef cattle pharmaceuticals (oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline, and ivermectin) via surface runoff and from manure in irrigated pasture conditions.

“The research team found the transport of the pharmaceuticals in runoff from cattle waste (fecal and urine) was low, with up to 99% of pharmaceuticals trapped in the waste or in the soil directly beneath,” stated co-author Ken Tate, Ph.D., University of California Davis. “There is relatively low risk to surface water quality from pasture runoff.”

Click here to learn more. For additional information on sorption, leaching, and surface runoff of beef cattle veterinary pharmaceuticals under simulated irrigated pasture conditions click here.


Nitrogen App Created by UC Rangelands for Irrigated Pasture Managers

ATTENTION RANCHERS who are regulated under the Central Valley Irrigated Lands Waiver Program. A new tool has been created to assist you with compliance under the program. Over the past year, UC Rangelands heard directly from a number of producers with challenges to completing the required Nitrogen Management Plan (NMP) for their irrigated pasture under the Central Valley Regional Water Board preview.

DJ Eastburn on our team created this app to assist irrigated pasture managers and owners to accurately and efficiently complete NMP Worksheet. This is part of UC Rangeland team’s new Irrigated Pasturelands Enhancement Program funded by Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (WSARE) and Dept. of Water Resources.

Nitrogen dynamics within irrigated pasture is unique compared to other harvested crops regulated under the program. The pasture N app is based upon research conducted within California, in collaboration with scientists at University of California, Davis, Water Board staff and irrigated pasture managers to ensure accuracy and functionality for the expected purpose. Complete your NMP today with assistance from the app by clicking here. Reminder, your NMP Worksheet needs to be kept on file at your operation.


The Rustici Livestock and Rangeland Scholarship Winners

Russell L. Rustici was a Lake County cattle rancher and philanthropist with a deep interest in cattle ranching and preservation of rangeland ecosystems. Mr. Rustici left an endowment that awarded over $1.52 million dollars in scholarships to students pursuing a career with a focus on rangeland management, with an emphasis towards cattle and sheep ranching in conjunction with good rangeland practices.

In 2017, the scholarship endowment awarded $177,500 to 36 students attending 4-year and 2-year colleges. Click here to see current and past scholarship winners, including features on scholarship recipients Matthew Delbar, of Potter Valley, Calif. and Alejandro Orozco-Lopez of Galt, Calif.

Riparian Meadow Response to Modern Conservation Grazing Management

In the western U.S., millions of acres of perennial grasslands, shrublands, and forests are held in the public domain and managed by state and federal agencies for multiple land uses. Although riparian meadows account for a small percentage of this landscape, their ecological and conservation values are substantial. These ecosystems provide a suite of benefits—including clean water, flood attenuation, nutrient sequestration, wildlife habitat, and livestock grazing. Local ranching communities rely on these systems for summer grazing, and in turn, livestock provide protein to support a growing human population.

Society has strong contemporary expectations for grazing lands stewardship to balance agricultural goals with social, cultural, and conservation goals. During the 1990s, there was a fundamental policy and management paradigm shift for US federal public lands that initiated the modern grazing management era, in which riparian meadows emerged as critical conservation areas, and production and conservation objectives were co-valued. To meet these new riparian grazing objectives, livestock pressure on western federal lands was considerably reduced (Fig. 1).

At the start of this modern grazing era, the US Forest Service in California initiated a state-wide, long-term meadow vegetation monitoring program (1) to document baseline conditions prior to the new riparian grazing standards; and (2) to examine subsequent trends in meadow vegetation. The riparian grazing standards implemented by the Forest Service over the past two decades established grazing regimes that are much different than those examined in the 1980s through early 1990s (more information here). UC Rangelands and UC Cooperative Extension collaborated with the Forest Service to examine relationships between long-term (1997–2015) vegetation trends, livestock grazing pressure, and environmental conditions under this modern grazing management (Fig. 2).

Fig 1. 2000-2015 change in animal unit months (AUM) on US federal public lands in 11 western states. Data were sourced from BLM and USFS annual reports (2016).

Fig. 2. We analyzed data from 279 US Forest Service National Forest grazing allotments, as well as 52 individual meadow sites (inset map).

Our results suggest reductions in grazing pressure in the modern era have improved the balance between riparian conservation and livestock production goals. Overall, plant species richness and diversity increased over the study period, which were driven by increases in native forbs. Changes in plant community were not associated with either grazing pressure or precipitation at the grazing allotment scale (the administrative scale); however, both grazing pressure and precipitation had significant, yet modest, associations with changes in plant community at the meadow site scale. It is important to note that changing climate conditions (reduced snowpack, changes in timing of snowmelt) could trigger shifts in plant communities, potentially impacting both conservation and agricultural outcomes. Therefore, adaptive, site-specific management strategies are required to meet grazing pressure limits and safeguard ecosystem services within individual meadows, especially under more variable climate conditions.

To read the recently published paper, click here!

Rustici Rangeland Science Symposium Speaker Highlight – Bi-State Sage Grouse Local Area Working Group: Voluntary Partnership Rather than Regulatory Driven Conservation

Steve Lewis, Extension Educator, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Steve Fulstone, Rancher and Member of the Bridgeport Ranchers Organization

Located across 4.5 million acres on the central California-Nevada border, the Bi-State sage grouse is distinctly different from other greater sage grouse populations found across the western United States. The bird was once proposed for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act – citing declines due to livestock grazing, invasive species, altered fire regimes and habitat loss, among other factors. But in April 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision to withdraw the proposed listing based on the clear success of voluntary, collaborative conservation efforts by local stakeholders to recover this species and its habitat. Steve Lewis and Steve Fulstone will discuss the genesis of the Bi-State Local Area Working Group, the The Bi-State Action Plan developed by the partners over the past 15 years to conserve the species, and on-the-ground habitat improvement and conservation efforts coordinated between ranchers, agencies, and conservation organizations.

Click here for more information on this unique social-ecological systems case study in voluntary partnership to conserve a threatened species in a complex setting.

2017 Rustici Science Symposium – Speaker Highlights & Poster Session

The goal of the 4th Rustici Rangeland Science Symposium is to engage ranchers, land managers, researchers, and policymakers in co-developing actionable science, policy, and management to sustain rangelands. The symposium will focus on partnerships surrounding a variety of topics, including: sustaining water resources; coping with drought; habitat conservation; and enhancing ranch profitability. Click here for more details and to register. 

Speaker Highlight –
Collaborative Adaptive Rangeland Management in Semiarid Ecosystems

Dana Bowman, Rancher and member of the Crow Valley Livestock Cooperative, Inc.

Justin Derner, Rangeland Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Social and biophysical barriers exist for implementing management strategies to achieve desired outcomes of sustained livestock production, grassland bird populations, and vegetation structural heterogeneity in the shortgrass steppe of Eastern Colorado. Dana Bowman and Justin Derner will discuss the processes associated with the Collaborative Adaptive Rangeland Management (CARM) experiment, initiated in 2012, which is a novel effort where an 11 person Stakeholder Group comprised of ranchers, non-government conservation organizations and federal/state land management agencies make ranch-scale adaptive rangeland management decisions. Stakeholders and scientists co-produce defensible, science-based management recommendations for multiple rangeland objectives, and build trust and collaborative relationships. For more information on this research project, please see www.ars.usda.gov/rrsr/agm

Poster Session –
The poster session is a great opportunity to showcase your work to ranchers, researchers, land managers, agency representatives, conservationists, and policy makers.The broad focus for the combined mixer and poster session includes any activities related to sustainable rangeland research, management, conservation, and policy.

To submit your poster abstracts (250 words maximum) please contact Grace Woodmansee at gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu.

Submissions are Due Friday, March 17, 2017.

2017 Rustici Science Symposium – Speaker Highlights & Poster Session

The goal of the 4th Rustici Rangeland Science Symposium is to engage ranchers, land managers, researchers, and policymakers in co-developing actionable science, policy, and management to sustain rangelands. The symposium will focus on partnerships surrounding a variety of topics, including: sustaining water resources; coping with drought; habitat conservation; and enhancing ranch profitability. Click here for more details and to register. 

Speaker Highlight –
Sediment and Salmon: Ranch Management Strategies to Conserve Habitat

Dina Moore, Rancher and Member of the Yager/Van Duzen Environmental Stewards (YES)

​David Lewis, Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

With the Endangered Species Act listing of the coho salmon on California’s north coast, landowners, conservation organizations, regulatory agencies, and scientists were charged with finding solutions to in-stream habitat degradation by erosion and sediment. Potential sediment producing activities on private ranches in the region include timber production, livestock grazing, and the road networks allowing access to these rugged lands. The region is also known for high natural erosion potential, and the legacy sediment contributed to stream channels from historic logging and mining activities. Dina Moore and David Lewis will discuss the partnerships between landowners, water resource protection agencies, and scientists to identify the sources of sediment in these watersheds and implement practices to reduce erosion and protect this endangered species.

Poster Session –
The poster session is a great opportunity to showcase your work to ranchers, researchers, land managers, agency representatives, conservationists, and policy makers.The broad focus for the combined mixer and poster session includes any activities related to sustainable rangeland research, management, conservation, and policy.

To submit your poster abstracts (250 words maximum) please contact Grace Woodmansee at gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu.

Submissions are Due Friday, March 17, 2017.

2017 Rustici Science Symposium – Speaker Highlights

Managing Livestock Grazing on Watersheds Supplying Drinking Water

Tim Koopmann, Water Resource Specialist and Manager Emeritus, San Francisco PUC

Ken Tate, Professor and CE Specialist in Rangeland Watershed Sciences, UC Davis

About 80% of California’s surface water supply is either derived from, or stored on grazed rangeland watersheds. Concerns about linkages between livestock as a source of the waterborne pathogen Cryptosporidium parvum, contamination of drinking water, and risks to public health began to arise in the 1990s – following a series of epidemics across the nation. Most municipal water treatment systems do not completely remove this tiny parasite from source waters, making proactive watershed management to prevent pollution essential.  Tim Koopmann and Ken Tate will discuss the partnerships between watershed managers, researchers, municipal water providers, and water quality protection agencies that have led to practical, effective, science-based grazing strategies to safe-guard public health.

Click here for more details and to register

Annual Grasslands as Working Landscapes

Download fact sheet here

California’s annual rangelands include open grasslands and woodlands dominated by an understory of herbaceous annual plants in the state’s valleys and low elevation mountains and foothills. These largely privately owned lands span 10 million acres and produce nearly 70% of the state’s livestock forage base. Therefore, annual rangelands provide a critical economic foundation for California’s rangeland livestock production1—annual gross value of cattle and sheep production exceeds $3 billion.
Through active stewardship and conservation, rangeland owners can manage for agricultural production and a diversity of other ecosystem services across these working landscapes. Managers can use prescribed grazing (the controlled implementation of timing, frequency, and intensity of grazing) as a tool to support and enhance multiple agricultural and conservation goals2—including biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and watershed health (Table 1).


Invasive Plant Management

Figure 1. Invasive weeds like medusahead are a major threat to California’s annual rangelands. Optimal timing of grazing for medusahead control is late spring, when plants are in the late vegetative to seed head emergence stages.

Large-scale weed invasion is a major threat to both conservation and agricultural goals on annual rangelands. Invasive weeds can significantly reduce rangeland health by inhibiting biodiversity, depressing forage productivity and quality for both livestock and wildlife, and depleting soil water resources3. Proper grazing management can maintain or enhance grassland diversity and productivity.
Prescribed grazing can be used to target specific weeds, particularly as part of a long-term integrated pest management program. The most critical components of a prescribed grazing program for weed management are timing and intensity of grazing. Target weeds must be grazed during their most biologically susceptible stages (Fig. 1). Using appropriate grazing timing and intensity can reduce undesirable weeds, such as medusahead and yellow starthistle, and increase desirable plants, such as forbs like clover, while maintaining production3.

Biodiversity and Habitat

Annual rangelands are one of the world’s major biodiversity hotspots, supporting thousands of plant and animal species. California’s rangelands provide habitat connectivity, which is critical for annual migration of many wildlife species. These lands also support important foraging and nesting habitat for wild pollinator populations, which provide crop pollination for many agricultural crops4. Loss of ranching as a land use can impact habitat connectivity and restructure the landscape matrix of ecosystems, often with negative consequences for native flora and fauna4.
Livestock grazing, via appropriate management strategies, can be used to maintain or enhance herbaceous plant diversity. Long-term studies have found that managed cattle grazing can be used as an effective tool to mitigate climate change and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition impacts on annual rangelands4. For example, grazing has been shown to enhance California’s unique vernal pool habitats by controlling exotic annual plants and enhancing herbaceous plant diversity, which can lead to longer pool inundation periods benefiting a diversity of aquatic species, including endangered species such as the California tiger salamander5.


Ecosystem Services Example Services from Annual Rangelands
Provisioning Livestock production, Forage production, Water supply, Timber/Fuel wood production, Genetic resources
Regulating Climate regulation, Water/Nutrient cycling, Pest control,  Pollination, Moderation of extreme events, Resistance to weed invasion
Habitat Plant and animal diversity, Migratory corridors, Genetic diversity
Cultural Aesthetic, Recreation/tourism, Sense of place, Heritage

Table 1. Examples of ecosystem services (the wide range of benefits humans obtain from the environment) provided by California’s annual rangelands.

Watershed Health

More than two-thirds of surface waters used for municipal and crop production in California are derived from rangeland watersheds. Microbial pollution from improperly managed livestock can threaten water quality. Fortunately, researchers and managers have widely demonstrated that prescribed grazing management—used in concert with the natural capacity of rangelands to mitigate microbial pollutants—provides for clean water6-8. Recent scientific literature syntheses have documented a large tool box of effective rangeland and livestock management options that minimize risks of direct deposition or hydrologic transport of viable microbial pollutants from cattle fecal material to surface waterbodies of concern2,9. These collective findings have been integrated into educational materials supporting on-ranch water quality protection10.

Key Points
  • California’s annual rangelands span approximately 10 million acres.
  • Annual rangelands support cattle production, the state’s 4th most valued commodity, and the 2nd largest sheep herd in the US.
  • Managers can use prescribed grazing to support and enhance agricultural and conservation goals, including production and biodiversity.
  • California rangelands provide habitat connectivity, which is critical for the migration of many species.
  • Proper grazing management maintains rangelands’ capacity to attenuate waterborne pollutants and supply clean water.
Further Reading
  1. Roche, L et al. 2015. Sustaining working rangelands: insights from rancher decision making. Range Ecol Manage. 68:383-9.
  2. Briske, DD (ed). 2011. Conservation Benefits of Rangeland Practices: Assessment, Recommendations, and Knowledge Gaps. Lawrence, KS: Allen Press.
  3. DiTomaso JM. Invasive weeds in rangelands: Species, impacts, and management. Weed Sci. 2000. 48:255-65.
  4. Huntsinger, L and JL Oviedo. 2014. Ecosystem services are social-ecological services in a traditional pastoral system: the case of California’s Mediterranean rangelands. Ecol and Soc 19 (1): 8.
  5. Pyke, C and J Marty. 2005. Cattle grazing mediates climate change impacts on ephemeral wetlands. Cons Biol 19:1619-1625.
  6. Roche, L et al. 2013. Water quality conditions associated with cattle grazing and recreation on national forest lands. PLOS ONE 8(6): e68127.
  7. Li, X et al. 2005. Seasonal temperature fluctuation induces rapid inactivation of Cryptosporidium parvum. Env Sci Tech. 39:4484-4489.
  8. Tate, KW et al. 2006. Significant E. coli attenuation by vegetative buffers on annual grasslands. J. Env Q. 35:795-805.
  9. Atwill, ER et al. 2012. Introduction to waterborne pathogens in agricultural watersheds. USDA NRCS. Tech Note No. 9. 90 pp.
  10. George, MR et al. 2011. California’s rangeland water quality management plan: an update. Rangelands. 33:20-24.

Just Published! Coping with Drought via Adaptive Rangeland Decision-Making

Grazinglands support the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. These working landscapes include livestock-grazed rangelands and pasturelands and occupy an estimated one-quarter to two-fifths of the world’s land surface—making them the largest and most biologically and physically diverse land resources in the world. Severe and widespread droughts pose substantial and recurrent economic and ecological stresses to these systems—particularly for rangelands, which are largely rain-fed. Drought also brings substantial uncertainty and stress into the lives of people that depend upon these landscape for their livelihoods.


Using the California Rangeland Decision-Making Survey, this study examined responses of 479 ranchers to better understand the in-place strategies that have been adapted by ranchers over time in response to severe drought.


Results in a nutshell –

  • There were 4 types of on-ranch drought strategies identified. The 4 strategies spanned a gradient of increasing management intensity, ranging from low adoption of drought management practices to high use of both reactive and proactive drought practices.
  • Ranch operation variables driving drought strategy selection included experience with drought, classes of livestock, grazing system, and land ownership types. For example, operations with both privately leased lands and public lands were most likely to have the greatest flexibility in drought strategies.
  • Information resource networks (education, quality and number of information sources, generations in ranching), goal setting for sustainable natural resources (e.g., forage production), and management capacity (number of practices/conservation programs actively used, diversity of land ownership types in operation) all enhanced individual capacity to cope with drought.


Read the newest publication here!


Flexibility in management is a key component of ranchers’ ability to adapt to and cope with drought. Drought policy planning should take into account the diversity of strategies that have been developed by ranchers over multiple generations and within the context of their unique operations, as well as support these working landscapes via a suite of information, management, and policy options to reduce vulnerability across all types of ranching operations. Given the clear importance of information networks, UC Cooperative Extension continues to work with stakeholders to share new tools for peer-to-peer learning, public education, and extending knowledge to larger audiences to increase outreach impact (read more here and here).


This rangeland drought research and extension program was collaboratively funded by the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Postdoctoral Fellowships Program, the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Competitive Grants Program, and the UC Davis Russell L. Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment.

These efforts were made possible through partnership with the California Cattlemen’s Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Wool Growers Association, UC Cooperative Extension, UC Davis, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, and USDA Agricultural Research Service.