Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

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Change on the Range: Is a New Generation of Young, Female Ranchers Ready to Adapt to Climate Change?

Female rancher in field

First-generation grazier Ariel Greenwood manages cattle and land on Freestone Ranch in Sonoma County. UC Davis graduate student Kate Munden-Dixon is surveying new rangeland managers like Greenwood to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive. (photo Brittany App/Brittany App Photography)

A new breed of ranchers is bringing diverse demographics and unique needs to rangeland management in California. These first-generation ranchers are often young, female and less likely to, in fact, own a ranch. But like more traditional rangeland managers, this new generation holds a deep love for the lifestyle and landscapes that provide a wealth of public benefit to California and the world.

“When first-generation ranchers succeed, we all succeed,” says Kate Munden-Dixon, a Ph.D. student working with Leslie Roche, Cooperative Extension rangeland specialist with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.

Munden-Dixon and Roche recently discovered that many new livestock managers aren’t plugged into information networks such as UC Cooperative Extension and rancher coalitions that provide science and strategies for making sustainable rangeland management decisions. This lack of connection can make first-generation ranchers more vulnerable when dealing with challenges like drought and climate variability, according to their study findings, which was recently published in Rangeland Journal.

Continue here.

Source:  Ann Filmer, October 16, 2018.  UC Davis, Department of Plant Sciences – College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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