Kansas Ranchers are invited to the Ted Alexander Ranch for a tour sponsored by Kansas Graziers Association focusing on the current drought and how to best manage ranch resources to survive the upcoming grazing season.
Registration for the tour will start at 9:30 a.m. nineteen miles west of Medicine Lodge on the north side of Highway 160. The tour starts at 10 a.m.
Morning presentations will focus on Managing Drought on the Ranch by Ted Alexander, David Kraft and Dwayne Rice; lunch catered by Buster's followed by Afternoon Ranch Tour. A Wrap-Up Social at Buster's will follow the tour.
Registration is $10 to cover lunch and handouts.
RSVPs are requested for lunch count.
Registration form - www.kansasfarmersunion.org
Questions contact Mary Howell - firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-562-8726.
For drought information - www.kglc.org
Sponsors for this event are Kansas Graziers Association, Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation, Kansas Grazing Land Coalition, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Alternative Crops and Kansas Rural Center.
Ted is an award winning rancher. He was the 2007 National Cattlemen's Beef Association Region VII Environmental Stewardship Award Winner.
Watch the video:
About Ted Alexander
Ancora Imparo -(I am still learning) is the philosophy by which rancher Ted Alexander lives and works. He reminds his fellow ranchers and others that he doesn't have it all figured out, but he has the passion to push onward to improve.
Ted's ranch covers 7,000 acres in the heart of the Red Hills in Barber County; located in the Comanche Pool area just a few miles north of the Oklahoma - Kansas line.
His ranch has flourished as a custom-grazing operation for nearly 30 years. However, this was not so when he began managing and operating the ranch in 1984. Alexander, who affectionately refers to his occupation as 'a used sunlight salesman,' will tell you that the ranch was an "over-grazed, under-utilized, under-watered, cedar forest ranch."
Often stocking between 500-700 cow/calf pairs or 2,500 yearlings, the operation runs on a rotational grazing method. Stocker cattle are custom grazed during the spring and early summer. When beneficial to the management of the stockpiled forage, Alexander custom grazes cattle during the winter.
Ted cleared all the hilltops of cedar trees resulting in water returning to the creeks. "The forage resource is in excellent shape on those hilltops, and now I'm concentrating on the riparian areas to improve the habitat for multiple species," Ted said. Alexander installed practices recommended by NRCS, such as cross fencing, ponds, and other water developments. Environmental enhancements to the land include removal of invasive Eastern Red Cedar trees, development of livestock water sources, improvement of forage productivity, and increasing the native plant and wildlife diversity. All of these enhancements and more were completed while accomplishing one overarching goal--maintaining a profitable and viable ranch business.
The ranch is divided into three grazing cells, each consisting of smaller paddocks of acreage. The paddock system utilized by the Alexander Ranch has allowed them to continually improve the pastures and to operate with the environment in mind. Cattle thrive because of the range improvements and stewardship practices. In addition, the ranch has enhanced and developed several innovative water systems.
In recent years out of necessity and for energy efficiency, Alexander has installed an extensive livestock-water system that uses solar energy since electric power lines do not cross the ranch. The solar-powered pumps carry water from a pond to a storage tank. The water then flows to tanks as needed. Solar energy also powers energizers for electric fences that set the grazing cell boundaries needed for his Management Intensive Grazing System.
The culmination of the Alexander Ranch's grazing lands management practices has contributed to an increase in stocking rates of over 100 percent from the 1984 level, maintained individual animal performance, and increased the pounds of beef produced per acre while upholding the management goals to improve water quality, water quantity, soil health and native rangelands.
"Drought-proof your ranch as thoroughly as possible before it quits raining," are the first words in Alexander's drought plan that he follows faithfully." Ted also suggests to, "Hope for the best, and plan for the worst!"
Although Alexander is recognized for his stewardship and environmental practices on the Ranch, he is certainly appreciated for his eagerness to share his knowledge and experience with others. With an art educator's background and a love for the ranching business, Ted Alexander never misses an opportunity to lead, teach, and mentor; especially young rancher.
Note: Info for this article was found on NRCS's website, "Success Stories - Ranching with a Passion" written by Mary Shaffer.