Soil Health Labs

42 Rangeland Specialist Encourages Grassland Diversity to Achieve Resilience

Episode Summary

“.. everything works together. The more diverse a pasture or grassland is, the healthier it is, the more resilient it is to any disturbance that comes at it. So, if we can have that diversity it’s going to reduce the inputs needed and the landscape can be more resilient as well”. - Emily Helms USDA-NRCS’s State Rangeland Management Specialist in South Dakota. If you find yourself in a meeting or in the field where farmers or ranchers are demonstrating or discussing good grazing practice (like Rotate, Rest, Recover), whether East or West River, you’re likely to find Emily Helms, USDA-NRCS’s State Rangeland Management Specialist in South Dakota. While Emily is not one to draw attention to herself, anyone who is interested in rangeland function and diversity would do well to pay close attention to what Emily says. While most of us would walk by an obscure-looking plant, Emily is likely to stop and say “Oh! This is a …..” and she’d take you to school about the plant above and belowground, it’s story, its function in the prairie and how or when it can be grazed. Soil Health Lab’s Joe Dickie and Buz Kloot sit down to chat with Emily Helms about rangeland, it’s value, the threats to rangeland, what can be done to mitigate the threats and we discuss a number of examples of what folks are doing right to restore function to grasslands in South Dakota. In the podcast, Emily walks us through four threats namely: 1. Woody encroachment on rangeland 2. Urban encroachment 3. Conversion to cropland 4. Cool season invasive species Finally, in the last few minutes of the interview, Emily walks us through why the grasslands are important, why diversity is important to resilience and why this groundswell of partners and partnerships has the potential to restore grasslands in the state, and elsewhere. We hope you enjoy the podcast! Other Links Mentioned in the Podcast: USDA-NRCS South Dakota Range and Pasture website that includes the SD Drought Status and Drought maps, Drought Tool, South Dakota Range Planning Tools and South Dakota Prescribed Burning - SD Grasslands Coalition - The Central Grasslands Roadmap: Book by Owen Wormsley - Lawns to Meadows Mid Missouri River Prescribed Burn Association: Prescribed Burn Videos, Podcasts and Blogs: Drought Management Videos, Podcasts and Blogs: