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K-State Today

November 6, 2019

Great Plains Grazing receives award for promoting sustainability of the beef industry

Submitted by Amber Campbell

A project that aligns the efforts of four Midwestern universities and two other groups dedicated to improving grazing practices for beef cattle in the Great Plains has received national recognition for its work.

The Great Plains Grazing project has been selected for a 2019 Research, Education and Economics Under Secretary's Award. These awards recognize noteworthy accomplishments that significantly contributed to the advancement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's strategic goals and objectives including sustainable intensification of agricultural production, responding to climate and energy needs and sustainable use of natural resources. The team was presented with the award on Nov. 5 in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this year, the team received a Partnership Award for Multistate Efforts from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which cited the group's "outstanding efforts to strengthen the stewardship of private lands through technology and research."

"This award is a testament to the significant efforts of all the collaborators involved in Great Plains Grazing," said Dan Devlin, project leader and director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment at Kansas State University. "This research is important not only for projecting how climate change will affect the beef grazing industry but also how to manage that industry more successfully through future drought conditions."

Devlin noted that protecting the nation's vital beef production from the stresses of climate variability is a key to ensuring the success of ranchers in the Southern Great Plains and maintaining valuable ecosystem services for the country.

The project involved partners from Oklahoma State University, University of Oklahoma, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Noble Research Institute and Tarleton State University.

The interdisciplinary project included 45 scientists, and more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers assisted with the research. Together, they successfully measured the net greenhouse gas emissions of grazing cattle in the Great Plains and were able to develop and quantify the impacts of improved grazing management practices on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with Devlin, K-State faculty and staff who played significant roles in Great Plains Grazing include Charles Rice, Peter Tomlinson, DeAnn Presley, Romulo Lollato, Walter Fick, Dorivar Ruiz Diaz, Jaymelynn Farney, Jason Waggoner, Gerad Middendorf and Amber Campbell.

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