Star X Ranch recognized as NDSA Environmental Stewardship Award winner

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
Farm Forum

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) has selected the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award recipient, the Star X Ranch, of Baker, Mont. The operation straddles the North Dakota and Montana boarder. The ranch is a 68-year member of the NDSA.

Star X Ranch is a third- and fourth-generation cow-calf operation that has environmental stewardship always on its mind. The ranch was established 110 years ago and remains in the Stark family today. Turk and Toni Stark own and operate the ranch along with their children, Judd (Tawny) Stark, and Amanda (Jay) Berg. Each family member contributes to the practices put into place on the ranch, as well as the day-to-day operations. Turk and Toni credit their children for many of the technological and environmental advancements on their ranch.

The operation is divided into four units and is comprised of private land along with land leased from the State of Montana, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The cattle graze on native range and tame pastures. They also hay cover crops, oats, barley, grass and alfalfa.

Due to their landscape and location, most of the pastureland is open range. The cattle graze freely with an ample supply of fresh water. The Starks utilize twice-over grazing, where a pasture is stimulated for a short time in the spring, given a period of rest and then put back to use later in the summer and into fall. Starks also have installed several watering systems and converted all their windmills to solar panels as a more efficient way to get power to their pastures.

The family has the longest running photo monitoring history of any National Grasslands allotment. Since starting their photo documentation in 1995, they have been able to showcase improvements the rangeland has made over the years due to their grazing management practices.

“Across this great state, cattlemen and cattlewomen alike are committed to the care of the land, air and water resources, and they take their responsibilities seriously,” said NDSA President Dan Rorvig, a rancher from McVille, N.D. “On behalf of the Stockmen’s Association, I want to congratulate the Star X Ranch on this special achievement.”

As the state Environmental Stewardship Award winner, the Star X Ranch will next compete on a regional level with state winners from South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. If successful there, they will move on to the national competition.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is the state Environmental Stewardship Award sponsor.