April 13, 2017
Montana ranchers have something in common. They all love the land, and they all care about protecting it for the future. For more than 25 years Montana Stockgrowers Association has sponsored and honored ranchers across the state for those efforts with the Environmental Stewardship Award Program.
Today, the program works in partnership with the Montana beef checkoff, and conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, to share the full picture of the impact ranchers have with their environmental stewardship practices.
The program recognizes the role ranchers and private landowners play in the stewardship and conservation of healthy ecosystems in the state. And nominations are now open for the program.
This program is an opportunity to honor and showcase those ranchers who go the extra mile in conservation, preservation and enhancement of the natural resources on their land. Ranches can be nominated for the award before May 15 at mtbeef.org.
Nominators come from a range of areas. For example, Reukauf's Cherry Creek Ranch, a 2016 honoree, was recommended for the award by the Prairie County district conservationist; a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks coordinator of landowners/sportsman relations; and the local Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist.
The ESAP committee is chaired by Jim Steinbeisser, a Sidney, Mont., rancher. The committee is a team of ranchers with the Montana Stockgrowers Association who are focused on showcasing how innovative stewardship and good business go hand in hand.
Steinbeisser notes that the award program is an opportunity to open a dialogue in ranching communities and Montana cities about how ranchers care for land and livestock. "Ranchers in general are just humble people. We don't want to brag or pat ourselves on the back, but that's not what this award is about," he says. "It's about sharing the facts of environmental stewardship and the story behind what matters so much to us. We know it's imperative to our livelihood that we reach out to our customers and show them what we do and how we do it, and to encourage our fellow ranchers to do the same."
The award nomination process is an opportunity for county conservation districts, water districts, wildlife organizations or other local and state agencies focused on conservation and multiple land use to recognize partnerships with ranchers who help them accomplish mutual goals. Any Montana Stockgrowers Association member who is actively working to leave the land better for the next generation would be an ideal candidate.
Nominations may be submitted online at mtbeef.org before May 15. The winning ranch will then have the assistance of a professional writer and photographer to capture the ranch’s story — the family’s legacy of caring for the land and livestock — to represent Montana in the regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program. The winner will be recognized at the Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention and Trade Show in Billings this December.
Source: Montana Stock Growers
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