N.D. Stockmen’s Association recognizes Wing ranch family for environmental practices

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Farm Forum

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) presented the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award to Darrell E., Darrell D. and Jody Oswald of Wing, N.D., during the NDSA’s 84th Annual Convention & Trade Show, “Stand Up, Speak Out,” in Bismarck, N.D., on Sept. 28.

The Oswalds utilize a variety of holistic management concepts, including no-till farming, cover crops and rotational grazing systems, to manage their 2,900-acre cow-calf operation.

Oswalds have been using holistic management practices since 2005, when they first worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service to incorporate a variety of environmental practices on their ranch. Since then, the Oswalds have developed an intense rotational grazing system that utilizes 45 contiguous pastures divided by more than 60,000 feet of cross fence and installed 20,800 feet of shallow pipelines that supply fresh water to 12 different tank sites from five wells on the property.

They also use cover crops to increase soil health and provide additional forage resources for their cattle and area wildlife. In 2012, the Oswalds were able to extend their grazing season to a total of 258 days, decreasing their hay needs and carbon footprint with reduced usage of fuel-burning equipment. These changes have increased plant diversity and density throughout the ranch and have helped increase the land’s carrying capacity for both cattle and wildlife.

The Environmental Stewardship Award is sponsored in part by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

The family will next compete on a regional level with Environmental Stewardship Award winners from South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.