About Range and Agriculture
The Department has three primary areas of focus including the Horse Herd Reduction Program, Tribal Farm, and the Rangeland Restoration activities. The purpose of these activities is to ensure agriculture and range management activities create income and employment for tribal members and that there will be long-term productivity of the agriculture and rangeland resources through conservation use practices. The department also ensures efforts to build the capacity of tribal members to succeed as livestock and ag producers.
Horse Herd Reduction Program
The Horse Herd Reduction Program was created to ensure that the horse populations are balanced with resources.
Why It’s Important to Keep Horse Populations Balanced With Resources:
- Over population of wild horses damage landscapes by trampling vegetation and overgrazing.
- Vegetation around natural springs and riparian areas is eliminated, thereby increasing soil erosion, decreasing water quality in streams and rivers.
- Less resources and habitat for wildlife, including nesting birds, small mammals, elk and deer.
- With virtually no natural predators, herd sizes can double every four years (BLM 2009).
- The invasive annual grasses on the reservation provide lower forage value than native grasses, therefore, fewer horses = healthier horses.
The Tribal Farm is working to establish irrigation systems and plant a base crop of grain hay, alfalfa hay and orchard grass hay for the tribal members’ livestock needs, as well as the commercial agriculture industry. After this base crop rotation plan has been established the farm will continue expanding its portfolio into the specialty crop market of vegetable seed, flower seed, grass seed, legume seed, and grain seed crop opportunities.
With the lower elevation and microclimate associated with Moody Farm and Culpus Farm, the Tribal Farm will have an advantage over other farm ground in Central Oregon. The crop possibilities are endless for years to come on tribal farm ground.
The Tribal Farm has identified several objectives for the business:
- Use of water rights on tribal lands.
- Re-engage farming to generate revenue and begin rebuilding a sustainable industry on the reservation.
- Provide tribal member employment opportunities.
- Provide a pathway for tribal members to develop agricultural aptitudes and skills through educational tours and internships.
Rangeland Restoration and Conservation Activities
Invasive species encroachment is the major problem affecting plant species diversity, water availability, and wildlife habitat on the Warm Spring Reservation. Juniper encroachment and invasive annual grasses have replaced native sagebrush and bunchgrass systems and are the result of many years of overgrazing and fire suppression. Restoration efforts seek to re-introduce biodiversity back into the rangeland ecosystem to improve wildlife habitat and improve forage quality for livestock.
- Brand Inspections – All livestock leaving and entering the Reservation.
- Grazing Plan Coordination – Work with grazing groups on their plan.
- Numerous Maintenance Projects (Cattle Guard Cleanings, Spring Development Repair, Solar System Repair, Community Fence Repair, Highway 26 Fence (continuous), Some Tribal Corral Repair, Deceased livestock Removal, etc.).
- Range Inventories – condition and trend plots, increase surveys annually.
- Livestock Inventories – Cattle=2600, Horses=3800, identify uncontrollable livestock populations and locations.
- Range Improvement Projects – Implement range improvements that meet goals and objectives established by IRMP2 (ie, Fencing, WUI Juniper Control, seeding, etc.).
- EIA Monitoring (Horses).
- Weed Control Practices – Wasco and Jefferson County Weed Contracts.
- Technical Support to Tribal Members.
- Horse Sale – Assist Members in gathering and organizing the Annual Horse Sale.
- Coordinated effort with OSU Extension to update membership on new technology, research, and studies in the Range and Ag areas.
- Close working relationship with Tribal Committees.
- Schoen-Hagan Farm Lease.
- Mangum Farm – Lease and Water Rights.
- Other DNR Program assistance.
- Working with (5-10) summer youth employees each summer, giving them an introduction to the Range and Ag Program and touching on the various other Departments in Natural Resources.
- Range and Ag Employees receive Fire Training and Physical Training for Fire Readiness due to Fire Management’s Budget Cuts.
- Animal ID and Premise Registration Education in Progress.
- Assisted with the formation of a new livestock (cattle) 4-H Club.
- Introduction of Youth Loan through the FSA youth loan process.
- OSU and Range coordinated effort to study nutrition and mineral toxicology in livestock.
Integrated, (Dept. and Branch)
- IRMP implementations, corrections, and Compliance
- RMIDT Actions
- PIDT Participation
- Field Tours
- Project Evaluations (Realty, Roads, etc.)
- WED Placement Support
- Review outside agencies documents and give input.
- Intertribal Agriculture Council
The mission of the Department of Range and Agriculture is to provide services and technical assistance to the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation and its membership for the protection and enhancement of agricultural and range lands to ensure that these resources are properly managed for the use of present and future generations.
Commonly Asked Questions
How does one purchase hay? Contact the Branch of Natural Resource office at 541-553-2001 for availability and pricing.
What kind of hay does the farm raise? Alfalfa, Orchard Grass and Beardless Barley.
How many acres does the farm have in production? 400 Acres.