Land Stewards

Conservation Award Recognizes North Dakota Ranch

The Environmental Stewardship Award Program kicked off in 1991, recognizing ranches from seven regions as regional winners and selecting an overall winner each year at the Cattle Industry Convention. (Photo courtesy NCBA)

Black Leg Ranch of McKenzie, North Dakota, has won the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award Program for 2017. The award program recognizes ranches across the country for their efforts to protect natural resources.

Operated by the Doan family, the ranch spans 17,000 acres, including 14,000 grazing acres and 3,000 acres of cropland. The family utilizes a rotational grazing program to mimic grazing patterns of bison that once made their home on the plains. More than 65 miles of fencing created 90 pastures across the ranch.

Cover crops on the pasture are used to build organic matter and prevent wind and water erosion. On the cropland, the family partners with farmers and guides crop rotations and cover crops. The cattle benefit from residue as forage.

"We're proud of efforts the Doans have made to demonstrate that environmental stewardship and successful ranching are not only compatible, but logical," said Kendal Frazier, NCBA CEO. "Ranchers all across the country are making these kind of dedicated decisions to better both their operations and the world around them."

The ranch was homesteaded in 1882 and was one of the first to import Angus cattle to the U.S. The multi-generational ranch includes several other businesses, including a wedding venue, hunting lodges, a restaurant and saloon.