Skip to main content

Managing and Protecting Grasslands for the Future

Group of ranchers on horseback surveying a vast, rolling rangeland.
Courtesy: USDA NRCS South Dakota

Grasslands are a valuable resource for South Dakota, and many of our core industries rely on the perpetuation of healthy grasslands for agriculture, recreation and tourism. In addition, many other natural resources, such as wildlife and water quality are intrinsically tied to grassland health. Healthy grasslands serve as a model for soil health, and much can be learned about carbon sequestration, organic matter and water infiltration through the careful study of the function of grassland systems.

While the majority of South Dakota’s grasslands are managed for consumptive use under renewable and sustainable strategies, such as haying and grazing, others are managed for non-consumptive uses, such as hunting, recreation or aesthetics.

Regardless of goals and objectives, many grassland landowners desire assistance with short and long-term grassland management goals. The South Dakota Grassland Coalition has strong ties to federal, state and local service providers, as well as public institutions and private range consultants geared to assist the grassland manager. This network provides multiple educational opportunities, including mentorship and technical assistance by resource professionals. Certain partners can provide services that include planning, technical assistance and cost-share with infrastructure ,such as fence and water systems, while others may provide a variety of short-term, long-term and permanent options for grassland conservation and protection.

With these resources readily available, there is no time like the present to establish a successful grass management plan that ensures current and future success!

The Healthy Grasslands article series is provided by the South Dakota Grassland Coalition in partnership with SDSU Extension. Contributing editors: Alexander J. Smart, Peter J. Bauman and Joshua Lefers. © South Dakota Grassland Coalition 2017. For more information, view the full publication or visit the South Dakota Grassland Coalition website.