All ranchers or interested participants are invited to the Forest Grazing Workshop Sept. 12 at the Triangle Hall 15 km west of High Prairie for a day-long information session on grazing methodologies.

The workshop will focus on several topics running from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Northern Sunrise County’s environmental program coordinator Katie Bartman says the workshop is being hosted in collaboration with Northern Sunrise County, Big Lakes County, Peace Country Beef & Forage Association (PCBFA), Cows & Fish, the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society (AWES), and members from Agriculture & Irrigation & Alberta Wildfire.

“Anyone interested in learning about enhanced grazing management, as well as forward management when dealing with natural events like drought, floods, and wildfires (should attend),” says Bartlet.

“We will start the day with an ‘in-class’ portion at Triangle Hall, which is about 10 minutes west of High Prairie, where we will have short presentations from the many collaborators, as well as an opportunity for ‘speed dating’ for attendees to have a more in-depth conversation with presenters regarding specific topics of interest,” she adds.

Topics discussed will include Weed and Plant ID and Management, Riparian Areas, Forest Restoration, Basics of Wildfire Preparedness, Forest & Forage Recovery/Forward Management.

“In the afternoon, we will head out for a pasture walk near the Iroquois Lakes, where Louise Liebenberg of the Grazerie will show us how she manages grazing her cattle in forested land, while still maintaining a healthy and functional ecosystem,” says Bartlet.

“We’re excited to host this workshop as it’s an opportunity for attendees to learn about lands that they may not have seen as potential grazing lands, and how to manage them for long-term sustainability and resiliency in times of difficult growing conditions.”

Organizers will need at least 15 pre-registered in order to confirm the event. Lunch will also be provided.

“We are hoping this workshop will be an opportunity for attendees to learn land management techniques they may not have known, link them with organizations and programs/ support available, as well as provide a deeper understanding of the workings of a healthy ecosystem and how to manage the land for sustainability and resiliency,” says Bartlet.

“When managed properly, they can benefit us and our livestock, while still performing important functions for the environment,” she adds.

“When a forest is healthy, they provide numerous benefits including proper moisture infiltration to recharge ground water, water filtration of excess nutrients and sediment, air temperature mitigation, and critical habitat for many different organisms. When a forest is over-grazed and there is nothing left in the understory, it can result in bare soil which leads to erosion and water quality concerns, and the possibility for invasive plants to move in.”

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 30, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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