Year Inducted: 2020
New York Farm HONORED FOR OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP
SK Herefords was established in 1996 in Medina, N.Y., as a partnership resulting from the merger of livestock farming operations owned by Philip Keppler and his wife Dawn and by David Schubel. Philip is a 5th generation farmer whose family has a long lineage in beef cattle production, while Shubel, whose family has roots in the dairy business, started his cattle operation in 1986. SK Herefords is a cow-calf operation and is comprised of more than 1,000 acres of deeded and leased land. Keppler and Shubel shared a vision of creating a genetically based cowherd that produced a high-quality product in an environment that included the challenging weather patterns of Western New York. Underlying their vision was a sensitivity to environment, ethics and economics.
Stewardship at SK Herefords is more than just caring for the cattle. The environment is also key to success. The farm has worked closely with government agencies on multiple projects to improve the land, water and wildlife habitat. Whether improving grazing management, protecting ground nesting songbirds, nurturing 5 acres of milkweed for the monarch butterflies, or making sure the soil is nutrient rich, Kepler and Schubel are continually looking for ways to make the operation better. “The common trait among all Environmental Stewardship Award winners is the desire to leave the land in better shape for future generations while also inspiring the next generation of land stewards. SK Herefords exemplifies these traits,” said Brenda Bippert, Executive Secretary, New York Beef Producers Association.