Region VII: Slovek Ranch near Philip, S.D.
Owned by Bill and Pennie Slovek
Slovek Ranch, owned by Bill and Pennie Slovek of Philip, S.D., was recognized as a 2012 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner during the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. Slovek Ranch is the Region VII ESAP award winner and will compete with six other regional winners for the national ESAP award, which will be announced during the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention and Trade Show in Tampa, Fla.
The ESAP award is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); U.S. Fish and Wildlife; the National Cattlemen’s Foundation; and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).
Slovek Ranch is a family-operated cow/calf and yearling operation consisting of 13,200 acres of pasture land and 800 acres of hay ground. Since cattle provide the primary income for the ranch, pasture and feed management are imbedded in the Slovek Ranch management practices. One important grazing tactic introduced was incorporating rest for grass growth to build plant vigor. The Sloveks are very conscious about the number of days a pasture is able to rest. Management-intensive grazing practices have resulted in seasonal rotation of pasture, requiring each pasture to be grazed in a different season each year.
Due to drought and invasion of exotic plant species, some pastureland has been dominated by undesirable plants. By participating with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, in the Coordinated Restoration of Native Grasslands project, Slovek Ranch participated in a controlled burn to aid in the promotion of native grasses. Slovek Ranch also participates in the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and recycles 100 percent of all farm lubricants. They store all oils, fluids, and greases and send them to a recycling program. Responsibly managing waste helps protect the quality of groundwater and other natural resources.
“By implementing innovative techniques while practicing sound management decisions, Slovek Ranch has demonstrated intelligent and outstanding environmental stewardship,” said Paul Flynn, in a letter of recommendation from the South Dakota NRCS. “They have been a great example for neighbors and future generations.”
Through a dedication to responsible environmental practices and conservation, NCBA has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy. As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.