The Roundup -

McGinnis Ranch Receives Co-Operator Award From The Richland County Conservation District


Richland County Conservation District is continuing their tradition of recognizing individuals and entities that see the importance of conservation. We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Co-operator of the Year is McGinnis Ranch Inc. Joe and Dan McGinnis have been co-operating with the Conservation District on their natural resources for over 20 years. McGinnis Ranch received their award at the Mon-Dak Ag Days Banquet Thursday, March 3. The two brothers have implemented several conservation practices on their land in the Sioux Pass area of Richland County.

They have planted over 5000 trees on their property. A cattle windbreak was planted around a dam to give the cows some protection. When Dan purchased a new house the district assisted him in planting a windbreak around his house. If you take a drive to Culbertson and pass the big curve at Sioux Pass you will notice the thousands of trees they planted along County Road 342. After major snow in 2009 they saw the need to put in trees to keep the snow off the county road. They planted 3 rows of trees, Lilac, Black Hills Spruce and Robusta Poplar and weed barrier fabric was laid to help capture moisture and to keep weeds down. Joe helped with the planting in 2010 and continued to help the district in 2011 and 2012 with other tree planting projects. They added other varieties of trees to the design in the following years.

Dan and Joe raise both sheep and cattle so they recognized a need to improve their rangeland, with the help of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program they improved their grazing techniques. In order to accomplish this they have installed several miles of stockwater pipelines and water tanks in order to better distribute the grazing on the rangeland and pastures. Cross fencing was also installed to improve range management. Wildlife have benefited from the addition of water tanks in remote areas.

Joe and Dan utilized the Conservation District dredge to improve the pumpsite and irrigation on a piece of irrigated ground they had rented.

The McGinnis Ranch was one of the first operations to allow the Weed District to release flea beetles to control leafy spurge on their rangeland. They continue to release beetles every year to keep the weeds in check.

Due to the current low crop prices, they have started to reseed marginal cropland back to grass to add in the grazing rotation. This also helps improve the soil health of the marginal cropland. They also participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program, with the local NRCS.

Dan’s son Colby has joined the operation and they are looking to the future and continuing to improve the management of their natural resources.

Thank you to Stockman Bank for sponsoring the jackets for our winners.


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