Wyoming’s Cundall Ranch wins regional Environmental Stewardship Award
DENVER — The Cundall Ranch in Glendo, Wyo., has been selected as one of seven regional winners of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program. The award, announced during the 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting on July 30, 2019, recognizes the operation’s outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts.
This year’s regional winners will compete for the national award, which will be announced during the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2020.
Established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, McDonald’s, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.
“America’s cattle producers are the original stewards of the land. They rely on a healthy ecosystem, including land, air and water resources, for their livelihood and they understand better than anyone the benefits of caring for those resources,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “The lands we manage as farmers and ranchers are only entrusted to us for a short time and farmers and ranchers across the nation are committed to passing those resources to the next generation in a manner which ensures their future success.” This year’s ESAP nominees exemplify the greatness of the industry and they share the common goal of bettering the ag industry through outstanding stewardship practices. The Cundall Ranch was originally established in 1917. Some of the ranch, including the original headquarters, was flooded when the Glendo Dam was built in 1957. The current headquarters is now located 14 miles northeast of Glendo on Cottonwood Creek. The ranch also has a significant amount of history associated with it; the Oregon Trail threads its way near the ranch headquarters and includes several marked gravesites along the trail.
“The ranch has been existent in the Cundall family for 102 years. We’re the fourth generation,” Larry Cundall said. “The ranch is approximately 8,000 deeded and 12,000 leased acres.”
With a lifetime of experience on the ranch, Cundall has become an expert at monitoring the range to always help keep it improving. Every decision he is making is intended to better the cattle, the grass and the soil.
For instance, in order to keep their grass in good condition, Cundall and his wife, Ruthie, use rotational grazing, cross fencing and improved water lines. To supplement their grass, the Cundalls use center pivot irrigation to produce hay for winter feeding. Cundall worked with NRCS to put in 18 different solar pumps and over 9 miles of water lines for easy accessibility to water for cattle and wildlife.
“Cattle are now grazing areas that they weren’t able to access before due to distance to water,” said Sydney Burek, USDA-NRCS District conservationist. “So, they’re seeing a benefit there. It’s also benefitted the wildlife as well.”
Whether installing living snow fences, using genetic selection to reduce the size of his cows to better fit his resources or experimenting with bio-char to get more carbon in the soil, Cundall is continually looking for ways to do things better. And he is always willing to share his knowledge with others.
“Larry’s a great spokesman. He’s talked and given speeches in Washington, D.C., and even in Guam,” said Grant Stombough, USDA Farm Service Agency. “All over the western United States he’s given presentations on good range management and wildlife habitat management.”
The management of Cundall Ranch has resulted in a sustainable family operation. The Cundalls have built a legacy of exceptional care for their cattle and their land.
“I’m proud that our family has been here over a hundred years. I think that’s something to be proud of,” Cundall said. “We’ve got more cattle than ever and the grass is looking better than it ever has. I’m also proud of that.” ❖