I took an impromptu "Spring Break trip" to the Black Hills in Western South Dakota at the end of last week, and I spent a few days enjoying the scenic beauty of the Badlands, Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon, Black Hills National Forest and notable landmarks, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Bear Butte and Roughlock Falls. (If you're looking for a summer vacation spot, South Dakota is the place to be!) Despite the snow-packed hills, I didn't let the weather interfere with my mini-vacation, and I filled my days with hiking through the many trails. While on my nature walks, I discovered a host of wild animals including: mule deer, white-tail deer, bighorn sheep, bison and pronghorn antelope. I noticed that the deer and antelope that were grazing in the agriculture fields appeared much healthier than the ones in the national parks. It occurred to me that this was an obvious example of how ranchers are stewards of the land.
We all know that agriculture plays a vital role in the environment. According to Beef From Pasture to Plate, cattle production has a positive impact on wildlife. A combination of livestock and wildlife management on grazing lands has resulted in better species survival than when these activities are practiced separately. In the Eastern and Central United States, wildlife is almost entirely dependent on ranch, farm and other private lands; so, ranchers play an important role in the survival of native species.
Today, I want to know how we can focus our efforts to be certain that consumers and the media understand agriculture's dedication to environmental stewardship. How do we show people that food production enhances the environment, providing ample food for both people and wildlife? What can we do to prove that ranchers truly care about sustainability of our world's natural resources? I'm looking for your thoughts and ideas; I always appreciate your insights.