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Beef's environmental stewards shine brightly

Meet the six ranches vying for the cattle industry's top environmental stewardship award.

Now in its 26th year, the beef industry's Environmental Stewardship Award has shone a bright light on ranches from every region of the country, highlighting the many ways that ranchers genuinely care for the natural resources they manage. It may be cliche, but America's ranchers are indeed the original environmentalists.

Not that it's easy, mind you. It's an effort that demands commitment, ingenuity and perseverance. But it's a task that America's ranchers take on willingly. And while environmental stewardship presents each beef producer with different challenges and different opportunities, the underlying ethic remains the same-take care of the land and it will take care of you.

It's an ethic passed through the generations-always there, always part of the management decisions, always a concern. It's the ethic of stewardship. Caring for the land, for the animals it sustains.

Of the six operations profiled here, one will be named the winner. But indeed, the entire beef business is a winner, as these operations show. Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and co-sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NCBA and the National Cattlemen's Foundation, the program provides an opportunity for the beef industry to recognize producers who go the extra mile when it comes to preserving and enhancing the resources on their land.

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