Minnesota Ranch Honored for Stewardship Efforts
DENVER (July 15, 2016) – Stoney Creek Farm in Redwood Falls, Minn., has been selected as one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The award, announced during the 2016 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting July 14, 2016,, recognizes the outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts. This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in February 2017.
Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.
Stoney Creek Farm, owned by Gant and Dawn Breitkreutz, is a 3rd generation commercial Red Angus farm and custom baling business located in South Central Minnesota. The family grazes 138 cows on 465 acres of permanent pasture land and feeds 750 head of cattle annually. The Breitkreutz family also farms 250 acres of no-till corn and soybeans and wheat and 50 acres of alfalfa.
“Grant and Dawn have been innovators of integrating cattle and prescribed grazing systems into conservation farming practices in the state of Minnesota,” said Ashley Kohls, Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association executive director. “The countless hours they spend learning more about sustainable farming practices are matched by the number of hours they spend promoting these practices and the culture of conservation to both fellow cattlemen as well as consumers.”
The Breitkreutzs work closely with the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Minnesota DNR to implement numerous conservation practices to sustainably increase production and improve soil health. By implementing a strategic prescribed grazing plan, they have improved the health of their pastures and went from grazing 58 cow/calf pairs on 128 acres three months of the year to grazing 120 or more pairs for six months of the year.
“Through the use of prescribed grazing, Grant and Dawn have been able to improve every system on their farm, including the addition of extended riparian buffer areas, restoring remnant prairie, improving erosion control measures, pest management and nutrient management,” said Marilyn Bernhardson, administrator of the Redwood County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Breitkreutz family continues to seek education opportunities to improve their operation. In 2015, Grant and Dawn were recognized as the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association Cattlemen of the year. That year they served the Minnesota cattle community by travelling more than 4,000 miles to participate in nearly 75 in-person meetings, 32 of which involved elected officials or government agencies, and 25 media engagements.
“Grant and Dawn have worked diligently to implement rotational grazing, restore used-up pastures, protect riparian areas, incorporate cover crops, and manage nutrient cycling on their ranch,” said Eric Mousel, University of Minnesota Extension Beef Team. “They also have been willing to showcase their many conservation efforts on various public tours and workshops to disseminate what they have accomplished and learned to other producers, agency personnel, and the public.”