The 2018 Nebraska Grazing Conference (NGC) will be the eighteenth annual conference in the long history of serving Nebraska’s graziers, a history that began in 2001. It began as a vision of Terry Gompert and Bob Scriven (Nebraska Extension Educators) who recognized a need. They took their idea to Dr. Bruce Anderson (Forage Extension Specialist) and he introduced the proposal to Dr. Martin Massengale. An exploratory meeting was convened by the Center for Grassland Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln on October 20, 2000. Dr. Martin Massengale, Director of the Center for Grassland Studies, Dr. Bruce Anderson, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, and Dr. Rick Rasby, Department of Animal Science, led the discussion. As a result of the overwhelming response from a variety of producers, professional organizations, and state and federal agencies, the Nebraska Grazing Conference Coordinating Committee, which later became the NGC Planning Committee, was established with members representing the diversity of those expressing an interest in a statewide grazing conference. The Center for Grassland Studies was identified as the conference’s host organization. The first conference was held in Kearney, Nebraska on August 13-14, 2001 to serve “ranchers, farmers, wildlife managers, conservation groups, and advisers who wanted to make grazing a profitable enterprise” and manage our grasslands in a sustainable way.
The land-grant philosophy of teaching, research, and extension to first serve the citizens of the state remains the NGC hallmark:
- The NGC is still focused on ranchers, farmers, wildlife managers, land managers, conservation interests, and advisors;
- NGC topics for the subsequent year are provided by an audience survey and a conference planning committee to insure relevance and encompass a wide array of grazing land issues;
- There have been 289 speakers through 2016 and 132 have been producers (46%) emphasizing that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner;
- Both basic and applied research is often introduced that becomes the foundation for future management innovation;
- Translation of research findings to production-level implementation is the focus of extension presentations;
- The NGC has always enjoyed rich collaborations across many state and federal agencies and not-for-profit groups that provide management insights.
The NGC is designed for people with an interest in the utilization and conservation of our grazing lands, and a desire to learn the most current information on grazing livestock systems and their impact on our lands.
Beginning and experienced graziers, land managers, and policy makers can all benefit from attending the NGC. While the focus is on Nebraska, information is applicable beyond its borders, evidenced by the fact that participants come from several states each year. The average attendance at the NGC is 200 participants.
Past conferences have been held in Kearney, NE each August. The event is planned by the NGC Planning Committee, which is comprised of people involved in the state's grazing livestock industry, public and private sector educators, and land managers. The committee uses the suggestions from annual conference evaluations to bring in speakers of interest to attendees, making topics current and relevant.
The next Nebraska Grazing Conference is August 6-8, 2018 in Kearney, NE. Information about the conference will be posted as it becomes available.