What's New at the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance?

Ready to learn the latest in growing better beef? Please join us in Malta on February 17, 2014, for info on Beef Quality Assurance and increasing feed efficiency in cows. We'll feature live demonstrations of low-stress stockmanship with Curt Pate. Details are found at the Tool Shed tab, in the "Presentations and Training" section. To pre-register (please!) or for more information, contact Anna at merriman.anna@gmail.com or 406.654.1297. See you there!

Our Mission

The mission of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is to promote the ecological, social and economic conditions that will sustain the biodiversity and integrity of America’s northern mixed-grass prairie for present and future generations.

We support cost-effective, sustainable conservation that features private and public cooperation in a working landscape stewarded by profitable family ranches and thriving rural communities. We employ collaboration, education, innovation and sound science to conserve and enhance the natural resources and pastoral heritage of the northern Great Plains.

Compared to the rest of the lower US, the vast prairies of northern Montana have been little changed over the last millennium. Much as chronicled by Lewis and Clark 200 years ago, this immensity of grass and sky is a stronghold for pronghorn, mule deer, elk, prairie dogs, burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, mountain plovers and a dozen more grassland bird species that are disappearing elsewhere.

Photo © Anne Sherwood

For over a hundred years, ranching has been the foundation of our local economy, culture and conservation. Today, third, fourth and fifth generation ranchers care for the land with ethics and skills that would delight Aldo Leopold.

In 2003, about 30 ranching families in northern Montana came together to resolve problems they faced. Since then, the group – the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) – has improved communication and relationships with government agencies and conservation groups while protecting ranching traditions.

Photo © Linda Poole

RSA members worry that economic instability and the continued loss of young people from our area threaten the long-term viability of agriculture here. Because both our rural communities and the abundant wildlife of the area are sustained in large part by ranching, our challenge is to create a vibrant, profitable and sustainable future for this region.

 



Photo © Richard Utt

And so we make wise use of the pivot point where we now stand. Encouraged by exciting accomplishments of partnerships like the Malpai Borderlands Group, the Sandhills Task Force and the Blackfoot Challenge, our community is pioneering unlikely alliances to maintain our ranching heritage while building synergistic solutions for prairie conservation. We seek ways to turn the table so that conservation becomes an economic engine for agriculture, and we imagine future generations wondering, “Did ranchers save the prairie birds, or did birds save the prairie ranchers?”


Photo © Kathe LeSage

While we are still working to craft lasting solutions, this website shares with you how our community is building a beautiful future we previously only hoped could be true. We invite you to ride along with us for the journey.

Photo © Vision Quest Photography

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Website content © Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, 2014.     Header photo © Linda Poole.     Website updated 9/9/2014.