“Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function” is a new teacher’s workbook by Didi Pershouse, now available as a “sneak preview” for educators preparing their fall lessons. The Dixon Water Foundation supported the production of this resource, which was a joint project of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Southern Plains Climate Hub, The Soil Carbon Coalition, and Redlands Community College.
Allen Williams, Ph.D., recently shared his experiences as a consultant, rancher and pioneer in grass-finished beef production during a workshop at Dixon Ranches Leo Unit, co-hosted by the Noble Foundation. Williams offered his perspectives on soil health, adaptive multi-paddock grazing and forage management, high attribute pasture-based meat production, and alternative marketing systems. Presentations from this workshop are now online:
- Grass Fed Beef Genetics & Finishing [ PDF ] [PowerPoint]
- State of Grass Fed Industry [ PDF ] [PowerPoint]
- Adaptive Grazing and Relationship to Soil Health [ PDF ] (36MB)
Williams is a 6th generation family farmer and founding partner of Grass Fed Beef LCC and Grass Fed Insights LLC, and a partner in Joyce Farms, Inc. He has consulted with more than 4,000 farmers and ranchers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South America on operations ranging from a few acres to more than one million acres. Williams pioneered many of the early grass-fed protocols and forage finishing techniques, and has spent the last 15 years refining them.
Kids on the Land returned to Dixon Ranches Leo Unit in April. Kids on the Land outdoor environmental programs teach children about the region where they live, connecting them to the land and a more sustainable future. The foundation’s education partners, like Kids on the Land, frequently visit Dixon Ranches for field days to learn about sustainable land management, watershed health, wildlife, native plants, and other subjects. Learn more about school field programs on this page, and check out the gallery below for glimpses into the fun Kids on the Land brought to the Josey Pavilion this spring.
Texas Wildlife Association L.A.N.D.S. recently held outdoor education programs at Dixon Ranches Leo and Bear Creek units. In December, AP Environmental Science students from Fort Worth Country Day School learned about wildlife tracking, watershed health, and other conservation topics at the Josey Pavilion. McLean Middle School students visited Bear Creek for a field day at the end of November. We are grateful to our education partners like TWA for using our ranches to put young Texans more in touch with their local ecosystem.
The first Chihuahuan Desert Riparian and Pond Management Workshop will be held at on April 13 at the the Dixon Water Foundation’s Alamito Creek Preserve. This workshop is a collaboration between the foundation and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Sul Ross State University, Borderlands Research Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Nature Conservancy.
Registration is set from 8:30-9 a.m. at the Marfa National Bank, 301 S. Highland Ave. in Marfa. At 9:15 a.m. participants will caravan to the Alamito Creek Preserve for the remainder of the workshop.
“This workshop will be fast-paced and held in the field on rough terrain and walking to various sites will be required,” said Jesse Lea Schneider, AgriLife Extension agent in Presidio County and a workshop coordinator.
She said proper dress, for example sturdy shoes and a hat, are a must.
“Please bring your own lunch and plenty of water,” she said. “In the event of inclement weather, the workshop will be rescheduled.
“Our Chihuahuan Desert Riparian areas are some of the most misunderstood and underappreciated of the ecosystems. Our hope is to make this an annual event to bring educational opportunities to landowners and enthusiasts across the area.”
Individual registration is $10. RSVP by April 11 by calling 432-295-0342.
Topics and speakers include:
– Introduction to Dixon Water Foundation, Alamito Creek Preserve, Robert Potts, Dixon Water Foundation president and CEO, Presidio County.
– Pond Ecology and Fish Stocking, Peter Woods, AgriLife Extension fisheries program specialist, Bay City.
– Riparian Vegetation and Best Management Practices and Ecohydrology of Streams and Springs, Jeff Bennett, National Park Service physical scientist and hydrologist, Big Bend National Park.
– Linking Pasture to Stream, Dr. Alyson McDonald, AgriLife Extension range specialist, Fort Stockton.
– Grazing Riparian Zones, Dr. Bonnie Warnock, Sul Ross State University professor, Alpine.
– Water and Wildlife, Benefits and Nuisance Control, Dr. John Tomecek, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, San Angelo.
– Waterfowl and Wetland Management in Desert Landscapes, Dr. Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Sul Ross assistant professor.
– Farm Bill Programs, Carrie Koennecke, Natural Resources Conservation Service district conservationist, Marfa.
– Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Landowner Incentive Program and U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service, Arleen Kalmback, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department landowner incentive program coordinator, Austin.
– Experiences From a Land Manager, Chase McRory, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department district biologist, Sanderson, and Casey Wade, Dixon Water Foundation manager, Presidio County.
The Southern Soil Health Conference is coming up on January 12-13 in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
This conference for producers and land owners focuses solely on Soil Health, Cover Crops and Grazing. At least 75% of registrants are people directly involved with the land—production agriculture (crops and/or livestock) and land owners. This conference will also be producer driven with almost all the speakers and presenters being farmers. Keynote speakers will include: Dr. Allan Williams, Steve Tucker, John Heerman, and Darin Williams.
In addition, we will have 8-10 Texas and Oklahoma producers sharing about their individual experiences with Soil Health and how it has affected their farming operations. Some of these speakers are Jimmy Emmons, Craig Watson, Yates Adcock, Max Martin and more…
This conference is about knowledge and learning and not selling products. We will not be having a commercial trade show to promote individual companies or products.
The Southern Soil Health Conference is sponsored in part by the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Farm Foundation, No-Till on the Plains, Southern SARE, Texas Grazing Land Coalition, Dixon Water Foundation, Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Sand County Foundation, and the Natural Resource Defense Council.
The sixth National Conference on Grazing Lands, a unique conference for livestock producers by livestock producers, is coming up December 13-16 in Grapevine, Texas. The program lineup includes a tour of Dixon Ranches Leo Unit and soil health presentations by ranch manager Robbie Tuggle and science advisory board members Dr. Lisa Bellows and Dr. Richard Teague.
Learn more about or register for the conference on the National Grazing Lands Coalition website or in this article by Hugh Aljoe, foundation board member and Noble Foundation producer relations manager.
Students in Sul Ross State University’s sustainable ranch management program were featured in an article in the Odessa American. Steve Lang writes:
Despite a steady rain, students learned basic welding techniques in assembling gates on the O2 Ranch.
“They got to use a bit of grit to get the job done,” said Bonnie Warnock, Clint Josey Endowed Chair for Sustainable Ranch Management.
Respect and Vision are other operative words for the new program, which will offer both a B.S. degree and certificate program in sustainable ranch management. Through a combination of classroom and hands-on ranch experience, students will learn how to manage a ranch, literally from the soil up. The curriculum includes classes in soils, range management, wildlife management, animal husbandry and agricultural business…
…Rob Kinucan, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, said the Sustainable Ranch Management program came to fruition through a pleasant combination of personnel and support.
“This has been an aspiration of Bonnie’s since she first joined the faculty, but we never had the mechanism to make it happen until the Dixon Water Foundation created the endowment,” he said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity and we have the perfect person to lead the program. Bonnie has the right combination of an academic background blended with applied life skills in ranching. This is a stellar program that really fills a niche in West Texas.”
Read the full article on the Odessa American website. And learn more about the sustainable ranching program on the Sul Ross website.
Landowners in Cooke County are invited to a one-day workshop on October 2 with Texas A&M AgriLife at Dixon Ranches Leo Unit. From 7:30am to 4pm, participants will learn about recognizing the cross timbers, wildlife habitat management & tax appraisals, range management, conservation easements, soils, and invasive plants. Admission is $20. CEUs available. For a complete program, download a PDF of the Cross Timbers Landowner Workshop agenda.
Our education partner Kids on the Land was at Dixon Ranches Bear Creek Unit in September. Their outdoor environmental programs teach children about the region where they live, connecting them to the land and a more sustainable future. With support from the foundation, Kids on the Land partnered with Morningside Children’s Partnership to provide this program to third through fifth graders from the Edward J. Briscoe Elementary School, which is a neighborhood in Fort Worth that has suffered high unemployment, violence, substandard health care, and low educational outcomes for years. Check out the photo gallery below and the testimonials to see what an impact this program had.
September 17 is North Texas Giving Day, when matching donors will double any contributions made to this great organization. Visit the North Texas Giving Day website to learn more.
Kids on the Land at Bear Creek
“Being a [volunteer] for KOL is the hardest work I have ever loved. Because of this experience many of these students will never look at their world in quite the same way. It is humbling, awesome and a joy to witness the impact one day in nature can have on a child.”—Karen McGinnis, Kids On the Land volunteer
“Teaching students in the Kids on the Land program connects them to their sense of place and the world they live in. It touches their souls and connects them to real world learning in a meaningful life changing way.” —Kathy Cash, Kids On the Land volunteer
“Best day of school ever!” —Charles, Briscoe 3rd grader