Monday, November 28, 2016

Ranching and conservation go hand in hand on Triple P Ranch

To Michael Peterson, ranching and environmental conservation aren’t separate concepts. In his mind, being a steward of the land means undertaking projects that benefit both the ranch and the wildlife that also call that place home. “Conservation is a really big deal for us,” Peterson said as he drove his pickup around his family’s 7,400-acre cattle ranch based near Nephi. “We feel that the way to survive economically is to be good conservationists.” Peterson has spent most of his life on the Triple P Ranch, with the exception of a mission he served in Korea. He speaks softly and affectionately of all things concerning the ranch — from the eating habits of the cows on the range (they’ll try just about anything, but crested wheatgrass is their favorite), to the aesthetics of the juniper-studded rolling hills that make up much of the ranch. You aren’t struck like with the redwoods, but it really is pretty in its own way. Peterson learned his conserving ways from his father, Cary Peterson, who founded the ranch around 1961, having grown up on an agricultural operation near Cedar Fort in Utah County. Some of the conservation efforts on the ranch are fairly common-sense, such as practicing rotational grazing. Cattle are allowed to graze in a field for a few weeks, before being moved so that field can rest for a year. One initiative for which the Triple P Ranch partnered with both the state Division of Wildlife Resources and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service was juniper chaining. Juniper chaining is the practice of chopping down large areas of densely-growing juniper trees. Though destroying 1,000 acres of trees — as the Triple P did last winter — may seem counterintuitive to conservation efforts, there are valid reasons behind the demolition...more

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