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KayDee Gilkey Making a Difference with Stewardship Program
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Open Range
Date: September 02, 13

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There are a group of livestock producers in Washington’s Whitman County who are actively working on a stewardship program with a non-regulatory, non-conflict approach to improving soil and water quality, vegetation recovery and riparian/stream restoration and monitoring on their acreage.

Washington State University Extension Regional Rangeland and Livestock Management Specialist Tip Hudson serves as a technical advisor and spokesperson for this group of livestock producers in the Five-Star Watershed Stewardship Program.

Hudson: “And so what these producers wanted to do was put in place a program where participating producers would be certified by some kind of a third party that their practices are maintaining upland and riparian health, they are maintaining water quality and have some type of feedback mechanism so that you can develop the best plan you can, you execute that and measure the results and then adjust the plan based on those results. So that I think in a nutshell, is what the Five Star Watershed Stewardship program is about. It is about improving soil health, agricultural productivity, water quality, ranch profit.”

Hudson says that the approach these producers are taking is an adaptive management style approach.

Hudson: “I think that is generally the principle behind all of the five stars. You are committed to lifelong learning, you put together the best plan you can and you execute the plan, measure the results and change it if you need to. And document everything.”

The program is in its beginning stages participating producers are submitting their written grazing plans.

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