In September of 2023 the Routt County Conservation District (RCCD) was awarded a Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (GLCI) grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service with a total budget of $272,280. The purpose of the two year project is to improve forest health, soil health, and wildlife habitat by demonstrating the feasibility of prescribed grazing management using virtual fencing. Goals include increasing awareness of the benefits of managed grazing through development of Grazing Management Plans in Routt County, and demonstrating the effectiveness of virtual fencing as part of those plans.
RCCD believes that providing grazing technical assistance, demonstration projects, peer-to-peer education, and monitoring effectiveness will help ag producers develop and implement grazing plans that are essential to maximizing successes and opportunities presented by prescribed grazing. Additional benefits include improving wildlife habitat, soil health, water conservation and water quality, carbon storage and sequestration, drought resiliency, and wildfire fuel load reduction.
This project will focus on providing grazing technical assistance to participating ranchers on forest and rangeland in conjunction with a Virtual Fence Demonstration Project using the VENCE (Virtual Fence) product originally developed by a USDA ARS Researcher to monitor and control cattle in situations where actual fences are not a feasible option.
Routt County Conservation District Deliverables:
RCCD will be assisted by a contracted project manager and range conservation technician to perform the following:
- Develop two to five grazing plans
- Purchase and install up to five base stations for the virtual fence technology
- Lease up to 500 collars and batteries for two consecutive grazing years
- Assist the ranchers with software/programming of the virtual fences
- Monitor and track grazing plans in soil, rangeland, and forest health
- Conduct 3 field tours for ranchers, public, and federal agencies demonstrating the virtual fence technology and report on findings
Routt County Conservation District Selection of participants
- Need/Usefulness on the operation
- Readiness to use virtual fencing
- Desire to use virtual fencing
- Complementarity (cluster of partisans)
RCCD invites ranchers to apply in February and March of 2024. For more information, please download the full description of the selection criteria by clicking on the link below: