Virtual fence could lead to more conservation

Photo courtesy of Envato Elements

From staff reports

The Nature Conservancy District is partnering with Kansas State University, National Park Service and the Grazing Lands Coalition to collaborate with producers on a virtual electronic fencing project. 

The project is being tested in the Flint Hills of Kansas. It is an effort to manage cattle without traditional fencing systems, which take time and money to maintain. The virtual fencing is also expected to help cattle managers improve conservation and soil carbon management because the cattle can be moved without the fence lines. 

The virtual fence works by using GPS tracking that works with the collars that the cattle wear. K-state received a $435,000 grant from the Natural Conservancy to study the conservation piece of the project along with $2 million of additional funding coming from the other project partners to study sites in Colorado and New Mexico as well. Besides soil carbon information, that study will also evaluate the sites for water conservation, vegetation improvements and if there are any changes to birds that live within the area of the virtual fencing.

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