California Pacific Society for Range Management
Mel George (left) John Harper (right) Photo by D. Defreese
Mel George presented the award to John Harper, UCCE Mendocino Livestock and
Natural Resources Advisor, at the October 16 Cal Pac banquet held at La Gare
Restaurant in Santa Rosa. John Harper received the award for his outstanding
record of collaborative extension education and research in the areas of
rangeland water quality, electronic and social media, and niche market
development for rangeland products.
In addition, he was the initial contact with Russell Rustici and helped
write part of the Russell L. Rustici Endowment, establishing gifts which
perpetually fund three endowed rangeland faculty positions, a rangeland and
cattle research support program and a scholarship program for those
interested in rangeland science and management.
He was instrumental in the development of the Rangeland Watershed Program's
Ranch Water Quality Planning Short Courses and associated educational
materials that led to the development of water quality plans for more than 2
million acres by more than 1000 ranchers in California. In 2012 The Western
Extension Directors bestowed an Award of Excellence on the Rangeland
Watershed Program. He helped start this program and generated many of the
impacts enumerated in the award nomination.
John has been a leader in electronic communications and many of his
colleagues seek his advice on the use of electronic media. John developed
a blog and integrated the use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into his
suite of information delivery methods. In 2012 John took leadership of a
project to improve access to university information and publications by the
California Cattlemen's Association and other agricultural organizations.
John has been developing new content, digitizing and archiving old
publications and revamping the California Rangelands Website and the UCCE
Livestock & Range Beef Cattle Web Page. Both sites are linked to the
Rangelands West and Global Rangelands websites curated by the Rangeland
Over the last few years John has invested considerable time in economic
development in Mendocino and Lake Counties. He has been a central figure in
the development of plans for a multi-species slaughterhouse to service niche
marketers on the north coast. Likewise, he has worked with individuals to
develop wool processing facilities and cheese making enterprises that will
increase economic activity and potentially create jobs. For many years John
has held a sheep shearing school that has been attended by many producers.
Congratulations to John Harper!
CalPac President Matthew Shapero- left, Ned Wood- center and CalPac Award Chair Denise Defreese-right Photo by Allison Rofe
Cal Pacific Chapter of the Society for Range Management awarded the 2019 Excellence in Range Management Award to Ned Wood of Wood Livestock LLC at the California Rangeland Conservation Summit held in Stockton on January 14, 2020.
Ned is a first-generation cattleman raised in the urban San Francisco Bay area near Oakland. He always wanted to be a cowboy, something his banker father thought he would grow out of one day. Instead he attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and majored in Agricultural Management. While attending Cal Poly he made lifelong friends who grew up ranching and continue today. He participated in Cal Poly's Escuela Ranch Enterprise project where he and a selected group of students operated and managed the schools 150 head commercial cow calf herd for a year. His involvement in the Escuela project cemented his desire to become a beef producer.
After graduating from Cal Poly, he began leasing some difficult to manage public lands in the SF bay area needing basic operating infrastructure improvements as well as an adaptive management philosophy to change an un-grazed mustard field back to a grassland.
Nearly 30 years later and slowly building his operation, he now leases nearly 10,000 acres of public and private land in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, as well as ranches in Napa, Colusa and Glenn counties. He raises beef cattle and operates his leases with help from his wife Kelly and almost all grown, four children.
He was recognized for several categories. Community service- he is a Farm Service Agency County Committee member representing Contra Costa County, he helps promote NRCS water development projects to other ranchers after successfully completing 4 solar pumping projects totaling nearly 50,000' of underground pipe using a unique one pass system. Public education, he speaks with UC Berkeley Rangeland students annually in the field about the opportunities and challenges of managing livestock on public lands to provide conservation grazing, in one case they saw firsthand how a quietly grazing herd reacts and how long it took to catch the out of control dog chasing them in the park. He was recognized for his low stress livestock management that includes Temple Grandin style recommended corral construction; genetic management of his herd to develop docile animals suitable for high recreation settings and lastly for his land management practices on the public lands he leases. They included cooperatively working with the land manager Integrated Pest Management specialist to use his livestock to trample and impede milk thistle development that resulted in reduced amounts of herbicide needed on a field and final results of substantial reduction of the pest species as well as for managing his herd to move them off fields with significant oak regeneration to reduce potential summer impacts.
Let’s congratulate Ned Wood!
Range Manager of the Year Award nomination form (pdf)
Range Manager of the Year Award nomination form (doc)