BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Ranchers from across the country gathered at the Ramada for the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition‘s Winter Conference.

“It’s a whole educational opportunity for producers, ranchers to come in about regenerative ag,” said Jerry Doan, the president of NDGLC.

A major question presented at the conference is what farmers can do to protect grasslands in North Dakota.

“Our grasslands are kind of under assault. There is only 25% of the native grasslands left in North Dakota,” said Doan.

That’s because grassland is being converted to cropland and while cropland is essential, Doan says there needs to be a balance.

“We are a diverse agriculture. I get that. But the grasslands are what sequester carbon, provide us with a great product nutritious beef product,” said Doan.

That’s why the North Dakota Grazing Land Coalition is teaching farmers more about regenerative ag.

This technique will help farmers restore the grasslands and help heal their land. One way farmers can do that is by planned rotational grazing.

“It’s what the buffalo did. You know the buffalo made the great plains, the grasslands great. What did they do? They came in and they grazed hard but then they left for a year or two,” said Doan.

Darrell Oswald is a rancher who attended the conference. He says the Coalition sheds light on the importance of the state’s grasslands.

“The North Dakota Grazing lands coalition obviously is the voice of the grasslands of North Dakota,” said Oswald.

Restoring the grasslands also creates a healthy ecological system.

“It’s good for our environment, it sequesters carbon in the soil, and takes that CO2 out of the air which is good for plants,” said Doan.

“We talk about a lot about ecosystem function and that’s not always a talked about term in the production ag model but I think we need to think in wholes and when you do that you see how one thing affects the other,” said Oswald.

Doan also states that if North Dakota loses the grasslands, the native wildlife will disappear. So, it’s important for the earth and people to help with the restoration of the grasslands.