Importance of pasture burning highlighted as many prepare for summer grazing

Aerial view of a burned pasture in the Flint Hills region
Aerial view of a burned pasture in the Flint Hills region(Sen. Roger Marshall's Office)
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 11:44 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas’ junior U.S. Senator has highlighted the importance of the practice of pasture burning as farmers and ranchers prepare for the summer grazing season.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) has highlighted Kansas’ voluntary efforts to better care for the environment as the spotlight remains on the state throughout the 2023 Farm Bill legislative process.

“While we hold hearings for the 2023 Farm Bill, I want to highlight the fact that Kansans are working hard every day to protect our environment and conserve precious resources our ag economy needs to thrive. Kansas farmers, ranchers, growers, and producers are finding unique and practical ways to preserve our land and protect our water and air. Their efforts are worthy of everyone’s praise,” said Sen. Marshall.

Marshall spoke with rancher Joe Carpenter as many in the Flint Hills prepare for the controlled burn of pastures ahead of the start of the summer grazing season. With the area being the last tallgrass ecosystem in the U.S., he said it is crucial that landowners preserve the landscape and ecosystem

According to the Senator, ranchers like Carpenter use controlled burns to do so. He said everything in the Flint Hills is shaped by fire - animals, grass, shrubs and trees. For thousands of years, fire has been set to prairies to kill invasive species and encourage new growth to attract bison for hunting.

Marshall said the need for fire continues as plants, animals and the economy still rely on it. He said the tallgrass prairie once covered 170 million acres from Texas to Canada to Ohio. Now, less than 4% remains intact - mostly in the Flint Hills.

Marshall noted that without routine fire, the Flint Hills would disappear. For more information about Flint Hills burning, click HERE.