On Friday, September 18, ranchers and Billings-area residents gathered for a night of beef, wine and fun at Yellowstone Cellars and Winery, hosted by Clint Peck. Proceeds from the event go to support the Montana Environmental Stewardship Program (ESAP).
The night’s events included good wine, fresh beef tri-tip grilled by Chef Megan Jessee thanks to the Montana Beef Council, and several donated items auctioned by Ron Dinkle. The auction raised more than $4,000, which will go toward outreach efforts to help ranchers share their stories of environmental stewardship.
In its 25th year, ESAP recognizes Montana ranchers who go the extra mile to preserve and enhance the resources on their land through management that promotes environmental stewardship, conservation and sustainability. These practices include management that promotes
- Conservation of natural resources,
- Coexistence with wildlife habitat,
- Clean water sources,
- Range health and diversity,
- Healthy, wholesome beef products, and
- Sustainable contributions to rural economies
Each year, Montana Stockgrowers recognizes ranchers at the forefront of conservation and stewardship with a commitment toward improved sustainability within the beef industry. Ranchers must complete an extensive application and share their story of work in the areas of
- Diversity in Rangeland and Wildlife Management,
- Sustainability on the Ground and in Rural Communities,
- Partnerships Toward Improved Ranching, and
- Environmental & Economic Management Goals.
State winners selected by the Montana Stockgrowers Association advance to the regional and national levels. Montana has a strong history of regional and national winners in years since ESAP was established. This year, the American Fork Ranch from Two Dot is the Region V ESAP winner and will continue to compete for the National award, to be announced January 27-29 in San Diego.
The 2016 Montana ESAP recipient will be announced at the Stockgrowers Annual Convention, December 3-5 in Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark in Billings.
To learn more about Montana ESAP or to donate to the program, visit mtbeef.org.