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Hector Grazing Association

Field headquarters of the Hector Grazing Association
District Ranger Martha Twarkins, Forest Supervisor Paul Brewster, and Bernie Buckamier, Ranch Manager, at the field headquarters of the Hector Grazing Association.

Hector Cooperative Grazing Association
53 Years of Public Grazing
Finger Lakes National Forest, New York

The Hector Cooperative Grazing Association is one of the oldest public grazing facilities in the country. They were incorporated in April 1946 for area farmers, who utilized 1,700 acres of grazing land of the State of New York. From 1939 through 1971, the cooperative made use of other resources of the land by harvesting timber, cutting and selling posts, leasing hay lots, and cutting and selling Christmas trees and firewood.

In 1941, sheep were the primary livestock grazed by the Co-op. The cattle included both beef and dairy and small herds of horses. The initial numbers of members were 138 but dropped to 64 in 1992. Currently, there are 35 dues paying members.

Cattle seek shade in the pasture on a hot summer day
Cattle seek shade on a hot summer day.

Today the Association grazes 4,500 acres with 35 pastures and 80 miles of fence. The Association is administered under a one-term grazing permit and manages the allocation of the cattle to the members. The Association provides the greatest flexibility and ease of management of the Finger Lakes National Forest.

The required range improvements are constructed and maintained through the utilization of Fee Credits allowed toward the annual grazing fee in accordance with Forest Plans and Allotment Management Plans. National Forests and Land Utilization Projects in the Eastern United States strategically utilize this direction to maintain needed range improvements and grassland openings. Each year District Ranger Twarkins and her staff works with the Association Board of Directors to negotiate the range improvements to be maintain or constructed and the amounts of Fee Credit needed. Usually, up to one year of Fee Credit is allowed.

Without mowing, ragweed and goldenrod will become dominant. Mowing is an approved practice. Pastures are mowed to keep invasive species (ragweed and goldenrod) in check. Without mowing, ragweed and goldenrod will become dominant. Mowing is coordinated with the nesting requirements of birds species. A distinct habitat relationship with upland birds exist with the grass and forb communities. The mowing of tall-grass forb pastures was found to be critical for the Henslow's and Grasshopper sparrows according to Dr. Charles Smith, Cornell University.

US Forest Service, RGE
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop Code: 1103
Washington DC 20250-1103

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Last modified: Thursday, 28-Mar-2013 15:56:26 CDT