Montana Padlock Ranch Environmental Stewardship

Padlock Ranch among regional Environmental Stewardship award winners

Montana Padlock Ranch Environmental StewardshipNCBA Press Release

DENVER – Seven cattle operations from across the country were recognized as 2013 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winners during the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo., today. The seven regional winners will compete for the national ESAP award, which will be announced during the 2014 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn.

ESAP, now in its 23rd 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 ESAP award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences; USDA-NRCS; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA); and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.

The regional winners are Mountain Meadows Farm, Sudbury, Vt.; Kissimmee Park Properties, St. Cloud, Fla.; BitterSweet Acres, Greenville, Iowa; Frank and Sims Price Ranch, Sterling City, Texas; Padlock Ranch Company, Ranchester, Wyo.; Kualoa Ranch, Kane‘ohe, Hawaii; and Gracie Creek Landowners Association, Burwell, Neb.

Regional and national award winners have been commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle operations. The common trait among all winners is the desire to leave the land in better shape for future generations while also inspiring the next generation of land stewards.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are passionate about their land, and it shows through conservation and environmental stewardship efforts,” said NCBA President Scott George. “The cattle industry is continually improving upon our environmental sustainability, and these seven finalists set an example that we should all strive to achieve. We look forward to naming one of these seven great cattle operations as our 2014 national ESAP award winner in Nashville next year.”

Young Farmers and Ranchers Call on the Capitol

Young Farmers and Ranchers at the Capitol Montana MFBF – Twenty young farmers and ranchers from across the state had the opportunity to sit in on hearings, have breakfast with legislators and meet with various state agencies during the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers (MFBF YF&R) and/Montana Young Stockgrower’s Calling on the Capitol Feb. 24-25 in Helena.

“The legislative breakfast provided a great opportunity to sit down and visit with your local legislator about any concerns,” noted Aaron Phipps, who sits on the MFBF YF&R Committee. He and his wife, Mollie, attended the event. “You really see how important agriculture is to Montana when you travel to Helena for the session. The legislators are very interested in what we have to say.”

The group met with the deputy director of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, with Montana State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski and Dept. of Livestock Executive Officer Christian MacKay, as well as with President of the Senate Jim Peterson and Speaker of the House Mike Milburn.

“I can’t stress enough that you must become an advocate, if you are going to protect your rights as a property owner and ag producer,” advised Milburn. “There are a lot of tough issues out there, like the current eminent domain one. There is a real need for transmission lines, but at the same time, the rights of the property owner need to be met.”

Peterson said as he looked around the room of young producers, he was very optimistic about agriculture, the state’s largest industry. “It seems agriculture is what’s going to lead this state out of its economic depression,” Peterson said. “This is the first time in a long time that agriculture is leading this show and you young people are the ones who are going to lead.”

In addition, they learned about working with the media and legislators in a session conducted by Ariel Overstreet, MSGA and Nicole Rolf, MFBF.

Overstreet encouraged the group to accept media interviews, gave them tips on getting their message across, and how to put a positive face on a story. Rolf told the group that before they testified, “Read the bill, make sure your comments are relevant, be factual, and tell your story in a concise manner.”

“This was an amazing opportunity to sit in on the hearings and see the legislative process in actions. Several of our group testified on a predator bill,” noted Charlie Rein, chair of the Montana Young Stockgrowers’ from Big Timber. “We were able to sit in the gallery and watch the Senate floor session, another really good experience. I feel privileged to have been able to meet one-on-one with our legislators, talk directly to agency leaders, and even have a guided tour the Capitol during this excellent event.”