Turecek family receives 2016 Leopold Conservation Award
The Tureceks have ranched and farmed on the eastern plains of Colorado since 1910. Over the last 36 years, Keven and Sandi Turecek have combined land from both sides of the family to create what is now the Stacked Lazy 3 Ranch, a cow/calf and dryland wheat business comprised of 5,000 acres of farmland and 30,000 acres of pasture.
Under the leadership of Keven and Sandi, their land has undergone radical changes from what it was when their predecessors managed it. Mo-board plows and tandem disc used to be commonly used tools on the farm, however the lack of moisture on the desert plains where the ranch is located compelled the family to switch to mostly no-till, helping conserve the little rainfall they receive.
For the Tureceks, beef production is secondary to grass production. The family raises an Angus cross cattle, selected for their smaller size and other notable attributes. The smaller cattle eat less grass while still maintaining a good body score. When October arrives, they switchback rotational graze and move the cattle to allow the grass to recover until spring. They’ve also replanted a considerable amount of native grass to conserve topsoil and prevent erosion.
The Tureceks believe the wildlife are as much as part of the ranch ecosystem as the grass and water. It’s not uncommon to see golden eagles, bob cats, antelope or even an occasional mountain lion. Striving to maintain a healthy balance between the wildlife and their business, they leave solar pump watering stations on during the winter for the animals.
“Keven is aware that in an industry as climate sensitive as agriculture, the potential threat of climate change takes on an even greater significance…” said Jim Unger, Southwind Insurance Agency. “He knows that practicing conservation tillage, residue and manure management, crop rotation and cover crops all contribute to carbon sequestration while accomplishing sustainable resource management goals.”
Sand County Foundation
Sand County Foundation is a non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County’s mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources are found on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that ensure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is the state’s only nonprofit trade organization exclusively representing Colorado’s beef producers. Founded in 1867, CCA is the nation’s oldest state cattlemen’s association. CCA serves its members by speaking out on behalf of Colorado’s more than 12,000 beef producers.
Recognizing the need to help Colorado ranchers and farmers protect their agricultural lands, in the face of growing development and economic pressures, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in 1995 formed the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.
Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association is a wholesale electric power supplier owned by the 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts it serves. Tri State Generation & Transmission Assoc. generates and transports electricity to its member systems across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
Founded in 1916, American AgCredit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, and is the nation’s 6th largest Farm Credit cooperative. American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers throughout California, Nevada, Central Kansas, Northern Oklahoma, Central and Western Colorado, and Northern New Mexico –as well as to capital markets customers in 30 states.