Padlock Ranch earns 2012 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award | TSLN.com

Padlock Ranch earns 2012 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award

Montana Stockgrowers Association

HELENA – Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) announced June 20 that the Padlock Ranch in Big Horn County has been selected winner of the 2012-2013 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award, sponsored by MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation. Headquartered in Ranchester, WY, with the bulk of land ownership in Big Horn County, MT, Padlock runs 11,000 cattle on approximately 500,000 acres in three ranch units. Owned by the Homer Scott family and managed by President/CEO Wayne Fahsholtz, the Padlock Ranch is designed to be a profitable family-owned ranch.

Each year, MSGA honors a Montana ranch that exemplifies environmental stewardship and demonstrates a commitment toward improved sustainability within the beef industry. This award recognizes Montana ranchers who are at the forefront in conservation and stewardship and are willing to serve as examples for other ranchers.

The Padlock Ranch focuses much of its efforts on grazing practices that benefit the environment. Padlock’s cattle herd is divided into six units. Each unit has a manager who oversees the grazing programs on their unit to protect riparian areas and improve wildlife habitat.

Grazing plans are designed to leave litter on the soil surface which helps to reduce soil temperature, maintaining a higher level of soil moisture, and reduces surface flows during rainfall events allowing moisture to move through the soil profile and enter the creek through filtration rather than overland flow. These practices allow for optimal hydrologic cycle function which results in increased water quantity and quality, increased riparian cover, and a widening green belt.

Padlock Ranch has also constructed over 20 miles of pipeline to better distribute water throughout its lands. Cross fencing to enhance pasture planning and grazing rotations have also been important components of Padlock’s environmental stewardship efforts resulting in a transition to year-round grazing rather than relying on supplemental feeding of hay in the winter months.

Padlock was selected for this award by a committee that included two past national Environmental Stewardship Award winners from Montana.

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MSGA will work with the Padlock Ranch to prepare their application for the regional and national award competition.

Since 1992, MSGA has honored 19 state winners, eight of whom went on to win the regional award and two named national award winners.

To learn more, visit http://www.mtbeef.org/esap.aspx, or call 406-442-3420.

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