The tradition of cattlemen and women serving as stewards of America’s natural 2016 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting with the announcement of the six regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winners, who will compete for the national ESAP award, which will be announced in February 2017.
Huntingdon Farm, of Alexandria, Pennsylvania, was one of the winners honored last week in Denver. The operation is a privately owned and managed business of John and Kathryn Dawes, and is an American Angus Association member farm that is home to a registered herd of 50 head with 36 brood cows.
In addition to premier Angus genetics, at Huntingdon Farm the environment is a primary consideration. Huntingdon Farm is managed for maximum conservation, not maximum production. From the extensive best management practices (BMPs) utilized to the care given to their cattle, sustainability is the overarching ethos.
“John has been an active voice in the protection of the environment in the mid-Atlantic region in a way that still allows our nation to make full use of our natural resources,” said Bob Hough, retired CEO of the American Red Angus Association of America. “Common sense is the best way to describe his environmental activities for the good of industry, farmers, society and our land.”
Another winner was Smith Creek Ranch, of Austin, Nevada. Originally operated as a Pony Express station, the 230,000 acre ranch includes many historic buildings and is important habitat for Lahontan cutthroat trout and sage grouse, and Smith Creek Ranch’s stewardship efforts have included restoration of more than two miles of creek bed on the ranch. Additionally, Smith Creek Reservoir on the ranch provides habitat for migrating waterfowl and irrigation water while meadows on deeded lands supply hay and provide habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife.
Cherry Creek Ranch, of Terry, Montana, was also recognized with an award. The commercial cow-calf operation, located in eastern Montana, is one of the few remaining original homesteads. That legacy drives the management philosophy for the operation’s owners, who place a strong emphasis on rotational grazing as a way to manage pastures and maintain soil health.
The final regional recipient of the award was Black Leg Ranch, McKenzie, N.D., and the Doan family. Homesteaded in 1882, the ranch was named for the Angus cattle that were imported to stock it, some of the first Angus imported to the United States. Today, the ranch comprises 17,000 acres in central North Dakota, where the Doan family partners with farmers on 3,000 acres of cropland. The family guides crop rotations, no-till practices and cover crops, while also providing residue for cattle forage.