Putting grass back

  -On a quarter section in this country, no one could've or should've been expected to make a living."


* South Dakota rancher


Clarence Mortenson





A map of South Dakota's Spring View Township from 1890 shows a landscape plowed and fenced off by homesteaders, lured by grandiose claims of what the plains might produce. In reality, that wasn't much, and the grasslands and woody draws of western South Dakota suffered as families tried to eke out a living in a land of little rain. A new 25-page booklet published by South Dakota State University profiles one family that's trying to restore a sprawling ranch. The Mortenson Ranch: Cattle and Trees at Home on the Range applauds the family's attempts at restoration on a working ranch. The costs of fencing and dropping the size of the cattle herd are offset, the writers suggest, by new income sources, such as native-seed collecting and charging people to hunt on the ranch.


For a copy of the free, full-color, illustrated booklet, write Bulletin Room-Ag Communications, South Dakota State University, Box 2231, Brookings, SD 57007 or e-mail [email protected]


* Dustin Solberg


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