The Blew Partnership of Castleton has been named one of seven regional finalists for the Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA). Brothers C.J. and Russell Blew operate the cow-calf business, which owns and leases land in Reno, Chase and Barber counties. Regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced early next year during the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio.
Grass production and grazing capacity on the Barber County ranch were greatly enhanced when the Blews installed an improved water distribution system, installed cross fencing and conducted an aggressive cedar tree control project. Their efforts to reduce the estimated 23% to 40% cedar canopy were expedited when the Anderson Creek wildfire went through the ranch in 2016. With the devastation came benefits, as streams that had dried up due to water consumption by the cedars began to flow again and native grasses were restored. Since then, they have conducted prescribed burns on different 2,000 to 3,000 acre sections of the ranch each year.
Russell Blew said sustainability is the driving force behind the strategy used to manage their cowherd and land resources.
“We want to manage for the next 50 years and not the next five months,” he said.
Regional winners were announced July 30 during the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver. ESA was established in 1991 by NCBA.