Arizona Ranch Is ESAP Region VI Honoree
DC Cattle Company Wins Top Environmental Award
Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2004) – David and Diana Cook, owners of DC Cattle Co. L.L.C near Globe, Arizona, have been selected as regional winners of the 2004 Environmental Stewardship Awards Program (ESAP). The family is one of seven regional winners nationwide. The prestigious program is in its 14th year, and is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences L.L.C and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of USDA.
The annual award program recognizes cattle producers whose stewardship practices are inventive, cost-effective and contribute to environmental conservation. Administered by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Cook family represents NCBA’s Region VI, which includes five southwestern states and Hawaii. They were nominated by the Tonto National Forest District of the United States Forest Service (USFS).
The headquarters of the ranch borders the Tonto National Forest at the base of the Pinal Mountains near Globe, Arizona. DC Cattle Co. provides cattle, hay and reclamation services to a variety of customers. Their core business is the management of the Phelps Dodge Miami Inc. (PDMI) Diamante Ranch. The Diamante Ranch is a cow/calf operation comprised of three USFS allotments, a Bureau of Land Management allotment, and private land parcels, totaling 34,970 acres. Resource management has been one of the key successes of the Diamante Ranch.
“We believe that forage is the most important natural, renewable resource in cattle production,” says David Cook, “and with the proper management, the land can produce even more forage, increasing density and diversity, resulting in higher cattle stocking rates and more wildlife habitat, than it would have without grazing.”
DC Cattle Co. makes cattle rotation decisions based on recorded utilization levels rather than on pasture move dates, allowing them to better monitor range conditions throughout the year. While wildlife is one of Cook’s major concerns, he has worked to ensure that there is always a sufficient watering system available for the various wildlife habitats, even when cattle are rotated from pasture to pasture.
“David Cook has worked hard to develop an excellent partnership with the USFS on the district level,” explains Megan Tipton, NCBA’s Associate Director of Environmental Affairs and manager of ESAP. “He has proven that he can slowly increase the number of cattle he grazes on specific allotments while also improving the natural resources in the area. In order to do so, he and his crew have established new water ways, cut trails to get cattle in un-grazed areas, built/repaired miles of down fence lines, and distributed cattle in areas using salt and portable waters.”
DC Cattle Co. also has 40 acres located east of Perry, Okla. that was purchased to institute a pilot program to determine the financial viability of placing stocker cattle on native pasture. In addition to the stocker calves, Cook has been able to generate income from deer hunting and the sale of firewood from this land as well.
“Mr. Cook has clearly demonstrated efforts to provide professional management on National Forest and private lands,” says Larry Widner, district ranger for the USFS, Tonto National Forest. “He has been instrumental in developing a sound management plan for his next ten year permit, which provides for flexible livestock numbers based on specific monitoring procedures.”
“The rancher was the original steward of the land,” says Cook, “and when it comes to protecting our natural resources, they are just as important today, if not more.”
DC Cattle Co. will be formally recognized as a regional ESAP winner at the 2004 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colorado on August 11th. One of the seven regional winners will be selected as the national winner, announced in January 2005. For additional information on this family or other regional winners, contact NCBA’s Washington office at 202-347-0228.