Seven beef farms and ranches, representing a wide range of sizes and types of businesses, were selected as regional winners of the 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award. For almost two decades, the beef industry has recognized outstanding commitment and leadership in conservation.
In this 19th year of the award, honorees include a certified organic ranch in Northern California; a farm in southwest Georgia that raises crops, livestock and timber; and a family-owned business with calf operations and feedyards in locations across north Texas and New Mexico.
"The Environmental Stewardship Award program gives us an opportunity to honor the men and women of the beef industry who demonstrate leadership on environmental issues, and provide them with a platform to share their best practices with other farmers and ranchers throughout the country,” said Dave Petty, chairman of the Environmental Stewardship Award selection committee and the 2001 national award winner.
The regional award winners are being recognized at The Cattle Industry Summer Conference, being held this week in Denver. A national winner will be selected from among the regional winners and announced in January at the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas.
Choosing just one family from each region can be challenging for the 22-member selection committee as most of America's cattle farmers and ranchers are proactively employing a variety of sustainable practices, according to data from a recent survey funded by The Beef Checkoff Program. In fact, 85% of farmers and ranchers agree conservation is a key to their success.
egional recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award serve as a model for others seeking to improve and protect the environment. This year they include:
- Region I: Young's Cattle Company, Belmont, Ohio – An Angus-based cow-calf and cattle backgrounding (feeding) operation. Nominated by Belmont Soil & Water Conservation District and Ohio Cattlemen's Association
- Region II: Greenview Farms, Screven, Ga. – A 2,800-acre family business that produces Polled Hereford cattle, hay and row crops including cotton, corn, soybeans, peanuts, pecans, vegetables, annual forages, pine straw and timber. Nominated by the Georgia Cattlemen's Association
- Region III: Eckenfels Farm, Sainte Genevieve, Mo. – An operation managing herds of Angus, Hereford and Simmental cattle in two different locations. Nominated by National Resources Conservation Service
- Region IV: Stoney Point AgriCorp, Inc., Melissa, Texas – A family-owned operation which raises Holstein calves to be sent to finishing yards for further feeding and heifers for the dairy industry. Nominated by Texas Cattle Feeders Association
- Region V: Pape Ranches, Daniel, Wyo. – An operation comprised of more than 10,000 acres of rangeland and irrigated hay land where Hereford Angus Crossbred cattle are raised. Nominated by Wyoming Stock Growers Association
- Region VI: Leavitt Lake Ranches, Vina, Calif. – A certified organic, grass-fed cow-calf and yearling ranch run on 39,000 acres near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Nominated by California Cattlemen's Association and California Rangeland Trust
- Region VII: Daybreak Ranch, Highmore, S.D. – A commercial cow-calf operation whose owners also no-till farm corn, sunflowers, oats and wheat. Nominated by South Dakota Grasslands Coalition
The Environmental Stewardship Award is presented each year by The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and The National Cattlemen's Foundation, and is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Resources Conservation Service. For nearly 20 years, regional and national award winners have been honored for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitat while operating profitable cattle operations.
For more information, or to nominate a cattle farmer or rancher, visit www.environmentalstewardship.org.