The 2023 Nebraska Grazing Conference (NGC) is the 23rd Annual Conference in the long history of serving Nebraska’s graziers, a history that began at the first conference in Kearney, Neb., on Aug. 13-14, 2001. It began as a vision of Terry Gompert and Bob Scriven (Nebraska Extension Educators) who recognized a need 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. An exploratory meeting was convened by the Center for Grassland Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln on October 20, 2000. Dr. Martin Massengale, Founding 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 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 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 439 speakers through 2021 and 168 have been producers 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.
NGC Planning Committee, which is comprised of people involved in the state's grazing livestock industry, public and private sector educators, and land managers, plans the annual conference, held each August in Kearney, Neb. The committee uses the suggestions from annual conference evaluations to bring in speakers of interest to attendees, making topics current and relevant.