Padlock Ranch wins sustainability award

Padlock Ranch, headquartered in Ranchester, WY just won the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Beef Council and the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation’s environmental stewardship award. Padlock Ranch was started in 1943 by the Scott family on 3000 acres and has grown into a 500,000 acre operation employing precision farming and rotational grazing in both Wyoming and Montana.

The ranch has three to four eco-systems. All that has to do with elevation and rainfall and so forth. We have some areas that will average 8 inches of precip and some that could reach 18. – Wayne Fahsholtz

The Montana Stockgrowers blog has a brief Q&A with Padlock Ranch manager Wayne Fahsholtz.

The Padlock Ranch is a great example of how a beef cattle business and the western landscape can co-exist…how can other ranches follow this lead?
One of the things that I have tried to do is to be transparent about how we operate. Over 95% of our population is far removed from production agriculture. We need to be creative in the ways we communicate and educate this population. So, I would urge ranchers to share their stories and ranches with others around them that may not understand about agriculture.

More interesting is the accompanying video.

It details a number of key practices and projects. The most impressive were the reclamation of 450 acres of old mining ground into productive pasture and the clean up and re-direction of the Tongue River. They removed embankments that had been built out of tires and old cars from the river and replaced them with more nature features to steer the river. They have fenced off stream banks to keep out the cattle and curb erosion and improve water quality.

The farming operation includes corn, small grains and alfafa for the winter feed.

It’s really worth taking five minutes to watch the video. It’s an impressive operation.


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About Marc Brazeau

Free lance cultural attaché. Writing at REALFOOD.ORG.

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