Professional Development Program






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Unit 2: Applying Ecological Principles


A goal of this course is to understand the interplay between management decisions and the ecology of farms and ranches. Armed with that knowledge, producers will be better able to develop systems that are productive, conserve and enhance natural resources, and improve profitability for their business. Within that general framework we can now turn to two of the key practices utilized by sustainable livestock producers: pasture and rangeland management, and management intensive grazing. As you work through this section, note how these practices relate back to the ecological principles we covered in Unit 1.
In an overview course such as this, we have time to cover only the most basic information about these key practices. For each, we provide a brief description of the practice (noting some of the benefits and challenges) and highlight the factors that farmers and ranchers may need to consider in making decisions about that practice. A farmer profile is also included to show how the practice is being applied in a real farm/ranch setting. Finally, we round out the discussion with a brief list of resources that will allow you to explore the practice in greater depth. As noted at the beginning of this unit, keep in mind that each of the practices presented here has been modified and adapted in thousands of ways to fit the context, environment, and needs of different farm and ranch systems.
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