With Great Prairie Comes Great Responsibility

| 6/5/2012 7:30:09 AM

A profile pic of MaryNorth American prairie is a special natural resource.  The location of prairie on the planet makes it a mega food producer.  Our prairies get the right amount of precipitation, warm temperatures, and cold temperatures to create a unique ecosystem that can only occur in the central part of America and Canada.  And once discovered by settlers, prairie has, and is, providing food and fuel to the world.



Rangelands are different from pasture lands in that rangelands grow primarily native vegetation, rather than plants established by humans. Rangelands are also managed principally with extensive practices such as managed livestock grazing and prescribed fire rather than more intensive agricultural practices of seeding, irrigation, and the use of fertilizers.

Vast grasslands remain and function as rangelands, a type of agriculture. Rangelands provide a balance between maintaining natural ecosystems while providing meat products for human consumption. Cattle thrive on the short, warm-season grasses such as buffalo grass and blue grama of short grass prairie, which are rich in protein.

European settlers brought agriculture and domestic livestock to the mixed grass and short grass prairie.   Due to a more rugged topography and less precipitation, this mixed grass and short grass prairie did not undergo the conversion to agriculture that occurred in tall grass prairie regions.   Thus great deal of the land remains in native grass, which is used as rangeland for cattle.

6/7/2012 2:34:00 PM

Mary, praire grass land is pretty scarce in Eastern Nebraska. Maybe out in the western part of the state one could find some but most of the land has become dirt for raised corn or beans. I say dirt and not soil because most of the life has been fertilized out. Chemical weed control has left the soil as nothing more than a medium to hold up the corn or beans until harvest. Thousands of acres and massive machines are needed to make a living in the farming industry. Thank goodness the homestead is making a grass roots come back. During the 70s and 80s life was good, gas was cheap, and supermarkets were the most wonderful thing for cheap food. However, as we now realize transporting food from thousands of miles away is an unstainable thing. More and more folks are realizing the value of local food even if the cost is a little more. Free range grass fed beef, pork, and chicken are making a come back. I agree that our country has been blessed with land like no other place and it's an important thing to take good care of it. Have a great day out on the praire.

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