Pierre, S.D. (PRWEB) June 11, 2012
WHAT: A tour of Mortenson Ranch will demonstrate how farming and ranching families across South Dakota are working to enhance air, water and grassland quality, as well as wildlife habitat.
Tour Mortenson Ranch, located in central South Dakota, to explore the important conservation efforts South Dakota ranchers undertake as part of their agricultural operations.
Meet one of South Dakota’s leading ranching families, the Mortenson family, recipient of the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota.
Learn about the popular South Dakota Leopold Conservation Award, and its celebration of the farmers and ranchers who produce the state’s food and enhance natural resources.
Enjoy a day of events with leaders from South Dakota’s agricultural community.
At the end of the 1940s, Clarence Mortenson began to wonder how all of the water originating on his ranch could be kept there for use over an extended period of time. This idea sparked his effort to restore the ranch to its natural state. Now, his sons, Todd, Jeff, and Curt, who currently operate Mortenson Ranch, have embraced Clarence’s vision. In the 1980s, Todd learned about holistic management that moves cattle across the land similar to the movement of buffalo herds. In the spring, the herds graze on grasses in riparian areas while stamping seeds into the ground to help establish trees and grasses. In summer, the cattle are moved to the uplands. In the 1990s, researchers observed a substantial increase in native tree and shrub species along the ranch’s streams, as well as an impressive increase in wildlife populations. In addition, the Mortensons’ efforts have led to a significant decrease in sediment flowing through creeks on the ranch. Due to practices like these, the family has come a long way since Clarence began his quest. More than 90 percent of the 19,000-acre ranch is back to native grasses, forbs, shrubs and trees.
WHEN: Thursday, June 21
WHERE: Mortenson Ranch, 25091 Foster Bay Road, Hayes, SD 57537
Directions from the South
At the intersection of Hwy 63 & Hwy 34 - On 63, go approximately 22 miles north to the public access for Foster Bay - follow about 5 miles going northeast
Directions from the North
At the intersection of Hwy 212 & Hwy 63 - On 63, go approximately 25 miles south, to the public access for Foster Bay - follow about 5 miles going northeast
WHO: Led by the Mortenson family, recipient of the 2011 Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota. The tour is hosted by the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Sand County Foundation.
The Leopold Conservation Award in South Dakota is sponsored by American State Bank, Belle Fourche River Watershed Partnership, Daybreak Ranch, Ducks Unlimited, Farm Credit, Millborn Seeds, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Partners for Fish and Wildlife, the Rasmussen Leopold Fund, South Dakota’s Conservation Districts, the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, the South Dakota Grassland Coalition, the South Dakota State University Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).