Phillips-Rooks Extension District #5
Wildland Fire Action Guide
Phillips-Rooks District Extension Agent
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Fire is, and always has been, a natural occurrence in the wildland. Kansas grasslands developed with fire. Both lightning and human-caused fires have shaped the grassland ecosystem for thousands of years. Fire is an important part of maintaining healthy, diverse rangelands in Kansas. Where precipitation is greater, the amount of biomass (fuel) is also greater, and fires need to occur more often to control fuel loads and remove undesirable vegetation. It is not a question of if, but when, the next major wildland fire will occur. Through advance planning, understanding, and preparation, we can all be partners in the wildland fire solution.
Two types of fires are prevalent in Kansas: prescribed fires and wildfires. Prescribed fires are human-caused, intentional fires to achieve ecosystem management goals such as higher quality forage, excellent grassland bird habitat, and reduced fuel loads. A prescribed fire is carefully planned and occurs only when weather conditions, fuel loads, crew staffing, firebreak preparation, and equipment all fall within pre-determined guidelines (the “prescription”). A wildfire can occur at any time, often in the most adverse weather conditions for controlling the fire. Read More...
Beef Cattle Institute's Dustin Aherin to attend MIT Sloan Visiting Fellows Program
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017
MANHATTAN — Dustin Aherin, a doctoral student in pathobiology with the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University, will be a visiting fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in spring 2018.
Aherin, Phillipsburg, was selected from a competitive field of applicants for the MIT Sloan Visiting Fellows Program. As a fellow, Aherin will work under the mentorship of MIT faculty while developing a systems model that can be used by the beef industry from genetic selection through the birth and growth of calves and beyond.
"Systems dynamics is a powerful tool for decision-making and the assessment of the long-run sustainability of operational and industry practices," Aherin said. "This recognition and opportunity is particularly valuable because faculty from MIT were early innovators of systems dynamics and MIT continues to provide influential leaders in the discipline."
Aherin said his model will have the capability of conducting "what if" analysis based on differences in technology implementation, resource allocation, government policy or other potential variables.
"I am excited to be able to explore cutting-edge methodology in systems dynamics at MIT and apply such tools to aid in decision-making and add further understanding to the beef industry complex," Aherin said. "By interacting with some of the leading minds in the discipline of systems dynamics at MIT, I will have the unique opportunity to learn from world-renowned authorities and to expand the expertise available to the Beef Cattle Institute and Kansas State University."
Aherin is co-advised by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Bob Weaber, professor and extension specialist in animal sciences and industry in the College of Agriculture.
"Systems models provide the only way to test many herd- or industry-level decisions that span multiple segments of the beef value chain," Weaber said. "Experiments to conduct such research would easily reach into the tens of millions of dollars per experiment and potentially take decades to complete. Developing an effective model cuts the time and investment to a fraction of the costs."
"Systems dynamics models provide tremendous tools for exploring areas of discovery that are important for producers, educators, consumers and regulators interested in optimizing the very complex system that is beef production," he said.
"Providing excellent training for graduate students is one of the focus areas of the Beef Cattle Institute," said Brad White, institute director. "Our team provides cross-disciplinary training providing a well-rounded educational experience, and Dustin's selection into the MIT program underscores the Beef Cattle Institute's emphasis on providing the highest level of education to our students."
MIT's visiting fellows program typically requires one or more university degrees and several years of work experience before students may apply to the program. Visiting fellows who successfully complete their course of study receive a program certificate from MIT Sloan.
Aherin earned an associate's degree in animal sciences from Allen Community College, Iola, in 2012, and followed that with a bachelor's degree in 2014 and master's degree in 2017, both in animal sciences at Kansas State University.
The mission of the Beef Cattle Institute is to utilize collaborative multidisciplinary expertise to promote successful beef production through the discovery and delivery of actionable information and innovative decision support tools.