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2009 Environmental Stewardship Award Winner

Region VII: Daybreak Ranch, Highmore, S.D.

Jim & Carol Faulstich, Adam & Jacquie Roth - Nominated by S.D. Grasslands Coalition

South Dakota Ranch Wins Environment Award

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Daybreak Ranch of Highmore, South Dakota is a 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award winner.  Representing Region VII of the National Cattlemen’s  Beef Association, the Faulstich and Roth families were recognized at The Cattle Industry Summer Conference for their commitment to protecting the environment through sensible conservation practices.

Daybreak Ranch is a commercial cow-calf operation that manages approximately 350 pairs utilizing 5,027 acres.  The managers of the ranch are Jim and Carol Faulstich and their daughter and son-in-law Jacquie and Adam Roth.  Together they also no-till farm corn, sunflowers, oats, wheat, run a commercial hunting enterprise and custom graze yearling heifers.

Since purchasing the operation in 1973, the family’s focus has been on improving water quality, increasing the bio-diversity of the range, controlling erosion and planting trees to develop wildlife habitat, and establishing farmstead shelterbelts and field windbreaks. Daybreak Ranch has made these improvements while sustaining profitability in their livestock, even through severe drought by developing a drought management plan.

“The Faulstich and Roth families are doing many different things successfully,” said Dave Petty, chairman of the Environmental Stewardship Award selection committee and 2001 national award winner. “Their whole-farm approach to managing their natural resources including energy, wildlife, manure handling, water, air, plants and animals makes them sustainable.”

The Environmental Stewardship Award – now in its 19th year – is an initiative of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, with funding from Dow AgroSciences and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“The Faulstich and Roth family’s passion and dedicated conservation approach on and off the ranch have been demonstrated by their leadership in protecting and conserving all of our natural resources, said Chuck Pyle, Wildlife Biologist, South Dakota Partners For Fish and Wildlife Program.  To that effort, the family has implemented a number of practices aimed at protecting and improving the land upon which they make a living. These include:

  • Established over 60 acres of food plots for wildlife that are left standing over the winter to provide cover
  • Operate under proper Beef Quality Assurance certification
  • Dormant-season grazing of native grasses, cover crops and crop aftermath to reduce supplemental feeding, saving both time and money.
  • Rotation of the calving pastures to reduce herd health problems by eliminating disease cycles.
  • Development of multiple water sources to improve grazing distribution.
  • Establishment of native warm-season grasses on marginal farm land to complement existing grass forage resources.
  • Erosion prevention through rock crossings on creeks and no-till rotational farming
  • Management of wetlands for wildlife and for additional forage during extremely dry periods
  • Use of blended fuels, such as soy derived biodiesel and ethanol
  • Planted thousands of trees in farmstead shelterbelts and field windbreaks to provide wildlife habitat.

Daybreak Ranch was nominated for the Environmental Stewardship Award by the South Dakota Grassland Coalition.  The family has partnered with the Coalition on technical assistance in the Management Intensive Grazing demonstration project and have hosted numerous tours.  In addition, the Faulstich and Roth family have partnered with South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Society for Range Management, South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, South Dakota State University, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, Ducks Unlimited, Hyde County Conservation District, Pheasants Forever, Environmental Protection Agency, FFA and 4-H.

“Daybreak Ranch demonstrates how sensible conservation will help achieve the goal of a profitable ranch with longevity built into it,” said Petty.  “Their proactive approach in adapting their operation to meet the needs both environmentally and financially, make them stewards.”

The Environmental Stewardship Award has recognized the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers for almost two decades. Regional and national award winners are honored for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitat while operating profitable cattle operations. For information or to nominate a cattle operation, visit the Award section.

The National Cattlemen's Foundation advances the future of the beef industry with passion and urgency for the benefit of consumers and cattlemen.

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