At its recent annual convention, the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association presented the 2016 Environmental Stewardship Award to Donnie and Trisha Feiring and their family. Donnie and Trisha operate Feiring Cattle Co.
Feiring Cattle Co. is a 1,985-acre purebred Angus operation. It has an intensive grazing system that involves moving cattle every three or four days in the summer, grazing cattle in the winter and bale-grazing cattle when the snow gets too deep for the animals to find grass on their own. The Feirings have planted cover crops in bromegrass pastures to boost the nutrient value of the forage, planted trees for windbreaks and wildlife habitat, and created many new water sources.
Recently, the Feirings added a pastured poultry enterprise to their ranch. Their aim is to diversify their income and fertilize their pastures. The poultry is housed in 10-by-12-foot pens known as "chicken tractors," and the Feirings move them around pastures to distribute natural fertilizer where it is needed.
The Feirings have utilized a Sustainable Agriculture Research Grant to introduce the benefits of cover crops to bromegrass pastures, have conducted infiltration tests on their soil and used nutritional balance fecal testing to assess the nutrition of their grasses.
They have also assisted the North Dakota Grazing Lands Coalition and Golden Valley Soil Conservation District with projects and speaking engagements at the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Conference.
The Environmental Stewardship Award is sponsored in part by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
As the state ESAP winner, the Feirings will compete against other state ESAP winners from South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas for a regional award.