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2012 Environmental Stewardship Award Winner

Region II: Circle Square Ranch

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Managed by E.L. Strickland

Near Ocala, Florida

Circle Square Ranch, managed by E.L. Strickland of Ocala, Fla., was recognized as a 2012 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winner during the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. Circle Square Ranch is the Region II 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).

According to the numerous organizations which nominated Circle Square Ranch, Strickland strongly believes in taking strong leadership steps to set a favorable example to the environmental community. The land provides refuge for wildlife, both protected and endangered species, and serves as a habitat for several plants and grass species.  

Strickland, who has managed Circle Square Ranch for 37 years, believes that ranchers should be proactive in implementing good conservation and good business sense practices. Under Strickland’s management, Circle Square Ranch excels in cattle production, growing forage crops, water quality, low environmental impact, wildlife habitat and establishing ranchers as good neighbors. All areas of Circle Square Ranch are available for passive or active recreation. In addition to walking and hiking, visitors to the ranch can enjoy photography and bird watching.

The ranch also conducts regular prescribed burns which mimic natural fire frequency. Controlled burns set back plant succession, returns nutrients to soil, reduces the risk of wild fire and creates a diverse habitat which encourages plant diversity for many wildlife species.

"E.L. Strickland and Circle Square Ranch have consistently accomplished the demanding goals of operating a successful cow/calf operation while consistently setting an outstanding example of environmental stewardship,” said David Fisk, P.G., in a recommendation letter by the St. John’s River Water Management District. “The ranch maintains significant wildlife value through practices such as retaining areas of native vegetation and forage for wildlife, practicing sustainable silviculture and integrating monitoring of endangered and protected species that call the ranch home.”

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.

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