GMS is a research and consulting firm specializing in resources, policies and the management of enterprises associated with rangelands and other grazed forage systems.  GMS principles and associates represent many years of proven expertise in a wide array of disciplines and subject matter relevant to terrestrial ecosystem science and management.  Areas of expertise include, but are not limited to: livestock and grazing management, agricultural and resource economics, rangeland restoration, business management, geographic information systems, remote sensing, computerized decision support systems and simulation modeling.

Incorporated in 1990 GMS has been providing research and consulting services to a variety of clients for almost 20 years.  During this time GMS has: 

  • Developed several web-based Decision Support Systems for use by livestock producers and resource management agencies including a brush and weed control technology selection and investment analysis tool (PESTMAN), a Forage Risk Assessment and Management System (FRAMS), and a Burning Risk Assessment Support System for Grasslands (BRASS-G).
  • Provided training in the use of the NIRS/NUTBAL Nutritional Management and other grazingland related Decision Support Systems for a variety of domestic and international agencies, non-government organizations and private producers.
  • Provided expert analysis and testimony in more than a dozen civil court cases involving assessment of “prudent ranch management”.
  • Conducted pre-purchase ranch investment analyses and enterprise feasibility studies for many commercial ranches.
  • Analyzed the technical and economic feasibility of brush management programs for numerous ranching firms.
  • Participated in the development and presentation of an economic and biological assessment of trends in grasslands and related resources of the United States for The Nature Conservancy, The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Ducks Unlimited.
  • Consulted internationally in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Mongolia and Paraguay.
GMS has conducted numerous forage assessments for commercial ranches to help determine proper stocking rates for livestock, wildlife and exotic game. Using a unique set of assessment and computer tools, GMS is capable of providing maps of resources, assessment of desired stocking level and grazing management systems, including livestock husbandry and nutritional management. Among the tools used are the new GSAT - Grazingland Spatial Analysis Tool, POPMIX – Mixed Animal Stocking Calculator, GAAT – Grazingland Alternative Analysis Tool and several GIS and statistical analysis tools. GMS also has the capability to model forage production and animal production using sophisticated biophysical models including the PHYGROW Phytomass Growth Model that models how weather and grazing populations affect the availability of forage over long periods of time in response to weather and selective grazing. The NUTBAL nutritional balance analyzer is a tool that allows assessment of the nutritional status of free-grazing animals through the integration of fecal NIRS profiling. Least cost feeding solutions are possible with this system.

Using a combination of spatial analysis tools and GSAT mixed with the new GAAT or grazingland analysis tool, GMS can provide the ability to help assess the economic viability of potential ranch purchases or simply help you determine the most cost effective land management practices to meet your goals. Whether you need and assessment of brush control techniques or design of fencing for grazing management, GMS has the skills and tools to help you.

Managing land resources requires a broad set of good biological, financial and social skills. In many cases, land managers are faced with the need for good inputs into a particular problem encountered. GMS owners have nearly 100 person years of experience in ranch and grazingland resource management that can help you with those tough management decisions.

Also, GMS has extensive experience in providing expert testimony for court cases involving assessment of past management decisions, land management practices or impact of action of one land holder against another.

Impact assessment of new technologies, management program or policies have been pursued by GMS. We have a wide variety of experiences and tools to address these impacts in terms of the environment and economics from the farm/ranch level to the national level.

ACTIVITIES -----

UNEP-World Bank, China 1990-94.  Established the Sustainable Loaning Program for the Agricultural Bank of China, including training on use of resource inventorying, grazing management planning, land practice planning and investment analysis to insure that loans to pastoralists were sustainable.
World Bank, Mongolia –1992. Provided recommendations on emerging land tenure arrangements for herders on extensive rangelands.

World Bank – 1994-95. Participated as the Temperate/Subhumid Zone Writing Team for the publication on Livestock and the Environment.

Chiapas Cattlemans Union, Mexico – 1997.  Conducted a feasibility study for management interventions to improve cash flow of ranchers to help alleviate civil strife in the region.

Catholic University of Argentina – 1999.  Established a NIRS fecal profiling laboratory and set up a 10-day lecture series on resource planning at the university

EMBRAPA,  Brazil – 1999-2002.  Participated in the development of and subsequent implementation of a joint project with EMBRAPA to use integrated simulation models to assess the ecological and economic impacts of alternative land use enterprises in the Brazilian Pantanal. 

TNC-NCBA-DU – 2001-02.  Participated in the development and presentation of an economic and biological assessment of trends in grasslands and related resources of the United States.

USDA-RMA – 2004- present. Participated in the development and pilot testing of two Pasture, Rangeland and Forage programs of insurance, one based on a grided rainfall index the second is based on a grided NDVI index.

USDA-RMA-Agrilogic, Inc. – 2003-present.  Developed a web-based Decision Support System “Forage Risk Assessment and Management System” (FRAMS).

USDA-RMA – 2004-08.  Developed a web-based Decision Support System “Burning Risk Assessment Support System for Grasslands” (BRASS-G).

USDA-RMA – 2006-present.  Developed a web-based Decision Support System for use by livestock producers and resource management agencies including a brush and weed control technology selection and investment analysis tool (PESTMAN).

PROJECTS -----

BRASS-G Project - Designed and developed a burning risk advisory support system (BRASS) to reduce fire risks of private landowners on grassland ecosystems. Initially funded by USDA RMA, Brass-G is now being implemented by the US Forest Service on the Lincoln, Prescott and Coconino National Forests in New Mexico and Arizona. BRASS-G is also being implemented by the Department of Defense on the Ft. Hood Military Reservation in Central Texas. 2004-2008

FRAMS Project - Provide technical expertise as subcontractor to Agrilogic, Inc to design and develop a Forage Risk Assessment and Management System (FRAMS), a decision support system to help private land owners deal with the uncertainty of buy, feed, or sell livestock trade-off management options. 2006-2010

PESTMAN Project – A USDA RMA Partnership project to design and develop a decision support system for selection of technically appropriate chemical and mechanical brush and weed management alternatives. The program is linked with an economic component that allows users to assess the net present value and internal rate of return of selected technologies applied in their specific environment. 2007 - 20010

PASTURE RANGE FORAGE Project – A USDA RMA project to develop an insurance program for forage-based producers (range, pasture and haylands). The project involves design and development of two methodologies, one utilizing long-term NOAA weather data and the other temperature constrained EROS NDVI data to index deviation from normal forage production as bases for indemnities. The project is now being piloted in (  ) states. 2005-2010.

REGION “L”, TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD Project – Provide an assessment of alternative brush management technologies that have potential to increase water yield and the expected costs and benefits of the application of these technologies in the Edwards aquifer above Canyon Lake, Texas. 2008 – 2009.

Contact:

Grazingland Management Systems, Inc.
Phone: (979) 764-7896

J. Richard Conner, Ph.D
Wayne T. Hamilton, M.S./MBA