Foster is new Soil Conservationist at NRCS office
By Annette Tait
There’s a new face in the Natural Resource Conservation Service field office in Center. It belongs to Ryan Foster, a soil conservationist whose responsibilities include helping farmers and ranchers with natural resources plans and issues.
“We like to work with farmers and ranchers to implement [conservation] practices, keeping in mind the resources, the land, and the water,” Foster said. “That’s our main goal—to work hand-in-hand to help make management decisions to benefit them and the resources, all in one.”
Part of that effort involves working with farmers and ranchers to develop conservation plans that may include conservation crop rotation, nutrient and pest management, no-till or residue management, and/or proscribed grazing systems.
Designing a proscribed grazing system involves grass or rangeland inventories where soils and the different species of grass are tested to determine their nutritional values. This information gives the landowner an idea of how many head of livestock can be supported on the soil or forage that is present. Systems may also include installing fencing for pastures and/or paddocks to manage how the land is grazed, and determining grazing rotation schedules to meet respective producers’ needs.
“When working with conservation plans we establish a baseline, a management level, with the producer and then we add to it from there,” Foster said. “The goal is to enhance rather than degrade the resources.