Sandy Arrow Ranch of Saskatchewan was recently announced as the 2013 recipient of The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. The ranch, operated by Allen and Lillian Patkau, received the national honour at the CCA Semi-Annual Meeting in London, ON., going on this week.
Sandy Arrow Ranch is located east of Hanley, Saskatchewan, just to the south of the sand hills that run along the South Saskatchewan River. The Patkau’s run a cow-calf operation as well as a rotational grazing system
CCA Environment Committee Chair Lynn Grant presented the Patkau’s with a $1,000 cheque and an engraved belt buckle. The CCA’s national annual award, TESA has recognized the outstanding stewardship efforts of Canadian beef producers since 1996.
The CCA’s press release had this to say about the ranch:
Sandy Arrow Ranch is the latest example of producers using innovation to overcome and enhance challenging environments to achieve beneficial and sustainable outcomes, Grant said. Saline soils are extremely difficult to deal with and the judges were impressed by the management practices the couple deployed to create productive land.
“The Patkau’s have paid particular attention to the soil health of their land and have implemented practices that reflect a long-term approach to the sustainability of their farm,” Grant said..
The ranch land is mostly open, with tree rows scattered along some of the land’s section lines and quarter lines. At one time, the land was considered broken farmland and, being in the sand, it was prone to erosion; however, the Patkaus’ passion for ranching led them to slowly convert the rough terrain into workable grassland.
Over the years, the Patkaus have implemented an environmental farm plan and holistic management practices to improve their land. They also cross-fence their pastures with electric fence, and water lines are used to keep cows in pre-defined areas, resulting in less soil impact and more control over manure. The Patkau’s also use a remote winter watering site to winter the cows in a specific area of the ranch that needs additional organic matter, and that also relieves pressure from the home well.
The Patkau’s hope to soon increase their carrying capacity and to further improve the land through bale grazing, which can help build soil and facilitate increased water retention. The Patkaus’ philosophy has always been to manage the grass and the land the best way possible and financial success will follow.
Sandy Arrow Ranch took the CCA’s top environmental honour after taking the provincial title, awarded by the Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Sandy Arrow Ranch was up against provincial environmental stewardship award recipients from British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.
In the photo above (left to right): MNP’s Scott Dickson, Lillian and Allen Patkau, CCA Environment Committee Chair Lynn Grant and CCA’s Fawn Jackson