Kelly — SDSU Extension Range Management Field Specialist
“Cattle grazing is a very important component of our prairie ecosystem and a key component for the profitability of South Dakota cattle ranchers,” said Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director & Professor. “Sean will provide a strong regional and statewide leadership. His experience as both a cattle producer and range science professional will be valuable as he develops and delivers research-based programming to livestock producers and landowners.”
Kelly will office from the SDSU Extension Regional Extension Center in Winner, providing research-based information to South Dakotans on developing grazing systems, range and grassland management, soil health, ecology and other range-related topics.
“I’m eager to work with livestock producers and landowners to help them improve their grasslands. Healthy range management is the foundation for a ranching operation,” Kelly explained. “Determining proper stocking rates for the current carrying capacity of a ranch is the one leverage point which ranchers can control to make sure they remain sustainable.”
More about Sean Kelly
A Winner native, Kelly grew up working for Tripp County farmers/ranchers. After receiving an ag business associates degree from Western Dakota Technical Institute, Sturgis, Kelly worked fulltime for an area farmer and began building his own cow/calf herd.
He returned to school in 2002 to pursue a Range Science degree from South Dakota State University. After graduating, he went on to receive a masters in Ranch Management from Texas A&M Kingsville, King Ranch Institute for Range Management.
Before joining SDSU Extension, Kelly worked for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Montana and Nebraska as a Soil & Range Conservationist. While working with NRCS, Kelly began volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the local volunteer ambulance and fire department. He found the work fulfilling and returned to school to get his Registered Nursing degree.
In 2009, Kelly returned to South Dakota. In 2012 he began working in the ER at the Gregory Hospital and building up his own backgrounding and feeder cattle operation.
Eager to work in agriculture fulltime, when Kelly saw the opportunity to join the SDSU Extension team, he applied.
“I have a passion for helping people,” said Kelly, who remains involved in healthcare as a volunteer EMT and RN. “Whether it’s in a trauma situation or on the ranch, helping livestock producers make range management decisions that will increase grassland health and production. That’s why I wanted to join the SDSU Extension team, because helping South Dakotans is a focus of what we do each day.”
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News