Just a few days ago, NCBA announced six regional winners of the annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP).
These beef operations have shown success in a combination of stewardship and economics. Beef Producer will feature one of these operations each day for the coming week, recognizing their excellence. (No nominations and so no winner for Region II.)
The Region I winner is Huntingdon Farm, Alexandria, Pennsylvania, owned and operated by John and Kathryn Dawes.
Located about halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the 300-acre farm has 210 acres in forage and 90 acres in managed forest. Enterprises include a 36-cow seedstock Angus herd, processed beef and timber.
The farm has implemented at least 30 best management practices (BMPs). Among them: Streams are fenced to provide riparian buffers, and cattle are limited to engineered access points. Rocks, hemlocks and other vegetation have stabilized the stream channel and provide fish habitat. Storm-water runoff is managed via a two-acre wetland that captures sediment and nutrients. A solar-pumped, gravity-flow water system provides stock water.
Forest habitat for the endangered Indian bat is under a perpetual conservation easement. A 10-kilowatt windmill provides the farm with supplemental energy
John purchased the farm with partners in 1970. John and Kathryn are sole owners today.
John is one of the coauthors of the book Breeds of Cattle with professor Herman Purdy of Penn State University. He also serves as executive director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds.
The Dawes were nominated by Earth Wise Consulting of Saxton, Pennsylvania.
The Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) was started by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in 1991. It recognizes cattle producers whose efforts benefit both the environment and the bottom line, reflecting true sustainability – ecological and economic.
It is administered by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and funded by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Any individual or group may nominate a cattle producer for the award. Winners are selected by a committee of from both within and outside the cattle industry. The selection committee chooses a regional winner from each of seven regions, then a national winner is named at NCBA’s annual convention each winter.
Nominations are due in March.