Range management specialist in the Panhandle receives NC endowment

by Chabella Guzman

Mitchell Stephenson
Dr. Mitchell Stephenson, left, and Dr. Tommy Wheeler receive awards from Ryan Loseke, center, President Nebraska Cattlemen, at the Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention and Trade Show banquet. Photo courtesy of the NC
December 22, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. —The 2023 Nebraska Cattlemen Annual Convention and Trade Show held its annual banquet on Dec. 7, honoring individuals and businesses important to the beef industry. Among them was Dr. Mitch Stephenson, Associate Professor and Range Management Specialist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln stationed at the Panhandle Research, Extension, and Education Center in Scottsbluff.

Stephenson received the Nebraska Range & Conservation Endowment. It honors professors or instructors who are providing cutting-edge research and/or student instruction in a range management and conservation-related areas. One area of his research has been focused on understanding how grazing management decisions influence livestock production, grazing behavior, plant communities, and soil health in the central and western Great Plains.

“Really understanding the timing of grazing is an important concept in range management. As we understand it more, we can start rotating timing on pastures to better match livestock demand with strategic rangeland objectives,” Stephenson said.  

Stephenson’s research has found that the timing of grazing can be a positive or a negative. For example, targeted grazing at the right time can be important for managing species like cool-season growing annual invasive grasses, but repeated grazing of pastures during the elongation period of some of our more desirable perennial grasses can reduce their abundance.

His research includes virtual fencing and other precision livestock management tools for defined objectives, targeted grazing and other cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) management, drought management response, and patch-burn grazing in the Nebraska Sandhills.

“I really appreciate the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation for providing this award and the support they give for rangelands in the state, not only for beef production but also for conservation and all the other ecosystem services they provide.”

The Nebraska Range & Conservation Endowment was established in December 2011 and provides grants to range management and conservation research and/or teaching positions at Nebraska post-secondary educational institutions.

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