The Masonic Village Farm, near Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, has been named national winner of the Environmental Stewardship Award.
The award was presented at the 2012 NCBA convention and trade show in Nashville, Tennessee. The Masonic Village is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community owned and operated by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
The Masonic Village Farm, which has been in operation for more than 100 years, raises 180 cow/calf pairs, maintains a feedlot which finishes about 200 steers each year, and grows corn, soybeans and hay.
The farm uses rotational grazing to maintain its pastures. It uses manure from feedlots to fertilize its fields. It also has "innovative" watering systems across the farm.
Further, the managers invite the public to tour its facilities and learn more about the possibilities of stewardship in agriculture.
Judges also mentioned that the farm has partnered with federal and state agencies and private agricultural organizations to manage natural resources.
The Environmental Stewardship Award Program is now in its 21st year, was created to recognize beef producers who make environmental stewardship a priority on their farms and ranches while they also improve production and profitability.
The award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences; the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; NCBA; and the National Cattlemen's Foundation.
Dave Owens, the range and pasture portfolio leader for Dow AgroSciences, said the award recognizes the work beef producers do to conserve and improve the land and its resources. Dow AgroSciences has shared in sponsoring the program for 13 years.
"All the winners are outstanding. They showcase the types of innovative work that takes place on farms and ranches nationwide," Owens said. "The work they are currently doing not only benefits their operations today but will continue doing so for years to come."
The Masonic Village was nominated by the Pennsylvania NRCS and was recognized during the 2011 Cattle Industry Summer Conference as one of six regional ESAP winners.
"It has been [said] by more than one person at The Village that they take blue sky and green grass and make red meat," said Denise Coleman with the Pennsylvania NRCS, which nominated the Masonic Village Farm. "In doing so, they seek a balance between the land, the cattle, the crops, the residents and the environment to remain a profitable, productive and viable agricultural operation."
The Masonic Village Farm came to the final presentation as winner of the Region 1 area. Gerald Tracy is director of environmental services. Frank Stoltzfus is farm operations supervisor. Steve McMahon is herdsman.
The Region 2 winner was Daigle Farms of Ragley, Louisiana, operated by David Daigle.
There was no Region 3 winner in 2011.
The Region 4 winner was Matador Ranch at Matador, Texas, with Bob Kilmer as ranch manager.
Region 5 winner was M/M Feedlot at Parma, Idaho, operated by Kent and Gloria Mann and Darin and Alison Mann
Region 6 winner was Della Ranches at Grouse Creek, Utah, operated by Blaine and Julie Tanner; Jay and Diane Tanner; Brent and Conny Tanner.
Region 7 winner was Center of the Nation Cattle Company at Newell, South Dakota, operated by Steve and Kay Smeenk and Jeff and Kim Smeenk.
To read more about these operations go to www.environmentalstewardship.org/multimediagallery.aspx.