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Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission

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Range stewardship leads to thrifty grasslands, improved weight gains for livestock in Eastern Idaho

Blackfoot, ID

In the broad, sweeping valleys under the shadow of the Blackfoot Mountains in Eastern Idaho, sheep and cattle graze on lush grazing lands where trappers and explorers once found plentiful game and herds of buffalo.

"This is a beautiful place in the world, and we certainly try to take care of it," says Ken Wixom, a cattle and sheep rancher who is the president of the Eastern Idaho Grazing Association. "This is where the big game herds were, the big horn sheep and the buffalo. This is where the early trappers came to hunt."

The same virtues that drew game herds to the area are paying dividends for the Eastern Idaho Grazing Association, a group of about 40 family cattle and sheep ranchers who collectively manage 90,000 acres of land in the area. The families run a total of approximately 6,000 head of cattle and 10,000 head of sheep in the rolling, grassy hills between Blackfoot, Idaho, and Blackfoot Reservoir, during the summer months.

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