New guide provides tools for ranchers, others in sage-grouse country

Young sage-grouse congregate along an irrigation ditch in a freshly cut hay field. Photo: Leanne Correll

According to its authors, Landowner Guide to Sage-grouse Conservation in Wyoming: A Practical Guide for Land Owners and Managers is meant to enhance understanding and conservation of sage-grouse in Wyoming.

The new guide, which provides tools and resources, is available as a free download from University of Wyoming Extension at

“It condenses scientific findings into a practical format that is easy to use and understand,” said Derek Scasta, a UW Extension range specialist and co-author.

In 70 compact pages, the guide covers basic sage-grouse biology, life stages, habitat needs, predator impacts, conservation planning and sagebrush monitoring.

More than 40 original Wyoming photographs and seven state-level maps illustrate the lives of these birds that coexist with cattle, other livestock and approximately 350 vertebrate wildlife species, including songbirds and small mammals.

Full-color photos show males in fall mating displays, the sagebrush shape that provides winter cover for nesting females, and the broadleaf flowering plants (forbs)  and insects that provide protein-rich food for chicks in spring. A wire mesh escape ramp in a livestock tank is presented as a simple alteration to reduce sage-grouse drowning.

“Sagebrush ecosystems are complex, and efforts to conserve sage-grouse are multifaceted,” said lead author and photographer Leanne Correll.

Correll heads an agriculture and natural resources consulting business in Saratoga and earned a master’s degree in rangeland ecology and watershed management from UW in 2017.

Wyoming is a sage-grouse stronghold, encompassing almost a quarter of the range-wide habitat and 37 percent of known male populations – more than any other state.

“Those who own or manage sage-grouse habitat play a critical role in conserving this umbrella species in Wyoming and the West,” said Correll. “They were the catalyst for developing this guide.”

Landowner Guide to Sage-grouse Conservation in Wyoming co-authors with Correll are Rebecca Burton and University of Wyoming professors Scasta and Jeffrey Beck.

Contributing support and expertise were local ranchers and conservation experts, other UW faculty members, and representatives of county, state, and federal agencies, including the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The guide is one of many free publications available at, covering sage-grouse, sagebrush, grasslands, grazing, conservation, and ranch economics.

For more information, contact Scasta at (307) 766-2337 or

Douglas sessions highlight ranch management skills transition

Scott Cotton
Scott Cotton

University of Wyoming Extension educators want to help start conversations between parents and siblings that transfer the whys of decisions made on ranches.

The workshop is Thursday and Friday, May 7-8, starting at 1 p.m. both days in Douglas. The focus is transferring agricultural management skills, said Scott Cotton, extension educator based in Natrona County.

Sessions are at the UW Extension Converse County office, 133 West Center.

Educators have worked with producers identifying some of the challenges of passing essential skills along, he said. The workshop focuses on opening the conversations and how to pass those skills to the next generation, Cotton said.

There is a fee to attend. The event-planning page Eventbrite is being used to register. Participants sign up for both days. Go to for information and registration.

For more information, contact Cotton at 307-235-9400 or

New publication highlights farm, ranch succession strategies

Cole Ehmke
Cole Ehmke

Farm and ranch managers and owners describe how they are bringing in a new generation to the land in a new free publication.

“‘Western Farm and Ranch Transition Strategies’ details methods 10 farms and ranches are using to build management capability, capital/equity or autonomy so a new generation can take over the family businesses,” said Cole Ehmke with the University of Wyoming Extension and an author of the publication.

“The risks of not having a transition plan can vary widely— ranging from having increased stress and family strife to developing a low-profit trajectory,” said Ehmke, an agriculture entrepreneurship and personal financial management specialist. “Not building a well-designed transition plan remains a blind spot for many farmers and ranchers.”

Continue reading New publication highlights farm, ranch succession strategies

UW Extension offers Ranch Management Institute in Lander


Wyoming Master Cattleman team members are gearing up for another Ranch Management Institute for producers Monday-Wednesday, June 9-11, in Lander at Central Wyoming College’s Sinks Canyon Center.

An intensive focus on ranch management including marketing, financial, budgeting and investment analysis, range management and livestock risk protection is on the agenda for the three-day workshop, said Bridger Feuz, UW Extension livestock marketing specialist.

All past Ranch Management Institute attendees said they would recommend this program to others, said Feuz. The institute represents the next step in learning tools to make good management decisions on a ranch.

Participants will learn how to use specific software tools, practice in real ranch situations and walk away from the program with all of the knowledge and software from the Institute, said Feuz.

The institute is limited to 10 participants. The $200 fee will cover two nights lodging, meals and all software tools if participantsbring their own laptops. The fee is $500 if they would like a new laptop pre-loaded will all applicable software tools.

Participants must register by May 23. For more information or to RSVP, contact Feuz at or 307-783-0570.


High Plains Ranch Practicum takes applications for classes in Laramie, Riverton, Kimball

Examining pasture forage.
Examining pasture forage.

A national award-winning livestock extension program is again being offered for 2014-2015 beginning in June and ending in January.

The High Plains Ranch Practicum School is an in-depth, ranch management school hosted jointly by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension and University of Wyoming Extension.

Classes are in Laramie, Riverton and Kimball, Neb.

“If you have ranched all your life, or if you are new to ranching, this school will teach valuable, necessary skills for running a successful ranch,” said UW Extension educator Dallas Mount, an instructor in the program. “Dad taught us how to build a fence and feed a cow, but he didn’t teach us how to build a business that generates an economic profit and supports the people who are building the fence and feeding the cow.”

Enrollment is limited to 35. Participants must submit an application by May 5.

For additional information or to obtain an application, contact Mount at 307-322-3667 or, or visit the website at

Continue reading High Plains Ranch Practicum takes applications for classes in Laramie, Riverton, Kimball