Kansas Conservation Series: Lesser Prairie Chicken Landowner Alliance and Stacy Hoeme
Scott City, KS – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. is continuing his conservation series highlighting Kansans’ voluntary efforts to take better care of the environment. Stories will be released throughout the 2023 Farm Bill legislative process.
“While we hold hearings for the 2023 Farm Bill, I want to highlight how hard Kansans work every day to protect our environment and conserve precious resources that 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 Senator Marshall.
Decades ago, Lesser Prairie-Chickens (LPC) dotted the southern plains with their bright orange features and unique call. Now, the chickens are much more sparse, and private landowners are leading the charge toward the recovery and rehabilitation of LPC habitats. Due to their population decline in Kansas, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While ESA designations can prove burdensome to farmers and ranchers, Kansans are collaborating with other federal agencies to utilize agriculture production as part of wildlife rehabilitation rather than inhibiting it.
Stacy Hoeme, who ranches north of Scott City, is one Kansas landowner leading such efforts toward the recovery of lesser prairie chickens. As a Lesser Prairie Chicken Landowner Alliance leader, Stacy and his colleagues use “science, policy, and partnership.”
Stacy got involved in the LPCLA through the discovery of prairie chickens on his ranch over a decade ago. After a meeting with a biologist out of Colorado, almost 40 birds were discovered on Stacy’s ranch. This discovery saved the LPC from a potential ESA listing, and since then, Stacy has collaborated with the Comanche National Grasslands as well as area farmers and ranchers to repopulate historic LPC habitats. His ranch now serves as a destination for Lesser Prairie Chicken Enthusiasts, and folks from nearly 40 states and 11 countries have visited his farm.
The mission of Stacy and the LPCLA is to “save our prairie chickens and our ranches”. Their efforts are an excellent example of using collaboration rather than regulation to help our grasslands- and, in turn, our wildlife- survive and thrive for years to come.