Year Inducted: 2012
Blooming Grove, Texas
Gary and Sue Price, owners of 77 Ranch in Blooming Grove, Texas, were recognized as a 2012 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) winners during the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, Colo. Seventy-seven Ranch is the Region IV 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).
Located approximately 50 miles from the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, 77 Ranch has been in operation since 1976. Their conservation and restoration work has been recognized by state and professional agencies through such awards at the Outstanding Rangeland Steward Award from the Texas Section, Society for Range Management, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Leopold Conservation Award for Texas from Sand County Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The enterprises at 77 Ranch include wetland and water development; wildlife management, restoration and leasing for bass fishing, waterfowl and upland bird hunting; quail habitat restoration; turkey population restoration; and harvesting nuts from 150 native pecans.
Wildlife management has focused on bobwhite quail and efforts have centered on habitat management. Involvement in the Western Navarro Bobwhite Restoration Initiative has provided the opportunity to implement landscape scale population monitoring with annual spring call counts and a quail nest depredation project. Water quality has been optimized by the conversion of cropland to wetland. These areas were established in wetland plant species for the primary use of waterfowl. This has minimized sediment loading, erosion and other water quality issues.
The effectiveness of the conservation and restoration work at 77 Ranch has been proven by the trial of the drought of 2011. In a year when all of Texas was in historic drought and when ranchers reduced or completely destocked herds and trucked in hay and water, the Price family was able to sustain their entire herd with their available forage and water resources.
“Gary and Sue Price are consummate land stewards who lead by example. They ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’ to everyone young and old,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of the TPWD. “Their passion is for helping people of all ages understand how to read the land, how plants grow, why plant and animal diversity is important and how working livestock producers who practice good stewardship protect natural resources important to all Texans.”
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.