Perlinski named Nebraska section SRM President
From droughts and wildfires, to weed management and market volatility — rangeland management will present numerous challenges for the next generation of range professionals.
“In Nebraska, we’re a private land state. We hinge a lot on the markets and what’s profitable,” Tony Perlinski, Chadron State College assistant professor of applied sciences, said. “If there’s no market in our range resources, then diversification becomes an issue.”
In the livestock business, producers often become slaves to the weather, Perlinski said. With prolonged and sustained droughts on the horizon, sizable shifts in management have to be made to keep operations profitable.
“If you can’t make money off of [the rangeland], then we’re going to have some problems as far as keeping rangelands in long-term family operations,” Perlinski said. “Healthy rangelands are profitable rangelands, and maintaining those as healthy systems is important.”
Perlinski aims to prepare the next generation of professionals to tackle these challenges head on. He joined the CSC faculty in 2013, teaching courses in rangeland ecology, range management, forage management, range plant identification and habitat inventory and analysis. He also serves as the adviser to the CSC Ag Club.
For the last five years, Perlinski has been a member of the Nebraska Section — Society for Range Management, having served on the section’s leadership council since 2014. Last week, Perlinski assumed the office of section president during the 2017 Nebraska Section meeting at the CSC Student Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 18.
“It takes a willingness to serve,” Perlinski said.
Once elected to the council, a candidate will serve a five year commitment; two years as a council member with a year as chair of the public affairs committee, one year as president elect, a year as president, and then a year as past president. Perlinksi said that new members to the council help bring in new ideas about the direction the Nebraska section SRM should take.
“It’s a lot of new solutions to old problems,” he said. “The things we put on for youth, like range judging contests and a week-long range camp in Halsey, to our annual meetings — we need a budget to back those programs up.”
Perlinski said that while the parent society has a lobbying arm to advocate for range management and natural resource management, the Nebraska Section is mostly focused on awareness and education, such as the meeting and field tours last week at CSC.
Some of that support was seen at the section’s annual awards banquet Wednesday evening, where the CSC Ag Club raised roughly $1,500 through a “crazy auction.” Ninety percent of the proceeds from the auction will go toward travel expenses for 20 CSC range science students to attend the National SRM meeting Jan. 28 through Feb. 2, 2018, in Sparks, Nevada.
“My role as faculty here is to keep those costs as low as possible too,” Perlinski said. “This will be the third year in a row where we’ve actually driven to the meetings instead of flying … it’s a pain in the neck for those of us who have to drive, but it keeps the cost down for the students.”
Opportunities to attend conferences like the SRM annual meeting has the potential to help the next generation of range managers meet CSC’s mission to “enrich the quality of life in the region,” and “contribute significantly to the vitality and diversity of the region.”
“Networking and the student opportunities are huge,” Perlinski said. “They build relationships with the people who will be their peers, and the people they will be working alongside them in the future.”