Wyoming Farm Wins Top Environmental Award
For Immediate Release
Thaler Land & Livestock is ESAP Region V Winner
Washington, D.C. (July 11, 2006) – Thaler Land & Livestock of LaGrange, Wyoming has been selected as one of seven Regional Winners in the 2006 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The Annual ESAP Awards recognize ranchers who demonstrate innovative and cost-effective approaches to land stewardship on their working cattle operations.
Located in southeastern Wyoming, Thaler Land & Livestock was selected to represent the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA’s) Region V, which includes Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. They were nominated by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
“Thaler Land & Livestock and the entire Thaler family have proven their commitment to range and resource preservation on their Wyoming cattle operation,” explains Stacey Katseanes, coordinator of the program. “I am honored to recognize them for their outstanding commitment to resource enhancement and conservation. Not only does their commitment to the land embody the true meaning of environmentalism, but it serves as an exceptional example for ranchers throughout Wyoming and across the nation.”
Homesteaded in 1916, Thaler Land & Livestock has been active in area conservation efforts since its founder, Joe Matje, worked to establish the South Goshen Conservation District nearly a century ago. Today, the third and fourth generations are represented by Dennis and Sandra Thaler along with daughter and son-in-law, Brandy and Kevin Evans who together operate the 1,500 head commercial cattle ranch.
“One of the most important natural resources to Thaler Land & Livestock is the native range,” says Katseanes. “Their pioneering efforts in pasture irrigation, rotational grazing and preservation of the nearby Ogallala aquifer have become an example for area cattle producers to follow.”
The spread of noxious weeds is an increasing concern for land owners in their area of Wyoming and across the West. Among their environmental accomplishments, the Thaler family has worked in cooperation with local, state and federal agencies to minimize a leafy spurge infestation that once spread over 200 acres to less than 50 acres.
“Utilizing carefully managed irrigation and rotational grazing, Thaler Land & Livestock has worked to convert their pastures back to the native grasses that once existed,” says Katseanes. “With only two pastures left to convert to native range, the Thalers are proof that managed grazing is a powerful tool in restoring and enhancing rangeland conditions.”
In addition, Thaler Ranch uses gated pipe irrigation, low pressure center pivot sprinklers, and flood irrigation practices to irrigate orchard grass, regar brome and alfalfa. This allows them to let the native pastures go unused until September 15th. This practice reduces over grazing and provides more feed for their cattle herd during the winter months. Recently they received an award from the Wyoming Chapter of Soil and Water Conservation Society for their efficient grazing system and irrigation accomplishments.
The Thalers have also managed environmental challenges that come with owning a feedlot and backgrounding operation. “With the cooperation of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) they have designed a feedlot that ensures all runoff is contained by a dike, and eventually it is used to fertilize a nearby meadow,” says Katseanes. “A windbreak was planted to provide shelter for the cattle and serve as a buffer against soil leaching. They have an integrated nutrient management plan that outlines uses for animal waste byproducts.”
“One of our biggest conservation accomplishments has been transforming a 200 acre parcel of land that was over run with leafy spurge into the best haying ground we own, says Brandy Evans. The family collaborated with the Goshen County weed and pest supervisor and constructed a plan to eliminate the spurge. “It definitely had a positive environmental impact,” says Brandy. “Now, we use no chemicals on the ground, and we are able to put up 5 tons of hay per acre.
“In addition to the land reclamation from the leafy spurge and their efforts to restore and enhance the native rangeland, the Thalers have set their sights on leading by example,” explains John Etchepare, Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, “the Thalers have been outstanding leaders in Wyoming in not only talking about environmental stewardship, but by setting the example for agriculture producers throughout the state.”
“Through coordinated resource management and devoted stewardship, Dennis Thaler and his family have improved the landscape in southeastern Wyoming,” states Terry Cleveland, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “He has successfully brought all interests together, including neighbors, sportsmen, wildlife interests and local, state and federal agencies, and the entire community has reaped the benefits.”
The Environmental Stewardship Award Program, now in its 16th year, is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences LLC and USDA’s NRCS and is administered by NCBA. The 2006 National Winner will be selected from of the seven ESAP Regional Winners and revealed at the 2007 Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, Tennessee next February. For additional information, contact NCBA’s Washington D.C. office at 202-347-0228.
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