Alberta Beef Producers is pleased to present Ribbon Creek Ranch, owned and operated by Dawn and Jerry Baerg and their family, with the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award.
Calgary, Alberta – Alberta Beef Producers pleased to present the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA) to Dawn and Jerry Baerg and family with an honorary gate sign.
Ribbon Creek Ranch raises cattle on land that Jerry’s grandfather purchased in 1972. The family business has seen plenty of helping hands, including Dawn and Jerry’s three daughters and three sons – the youngest of whom are five-year-old twins.
“Grain, cow-calf, and yearlings. We background our calves in the winter and put them on grass in the summer. I work the cow-calf side with my wife and children. It’s a family farm. And I work with my dad on the grain farm side,” says Jerry.
Initially the farm was 1,500 acres of mostly cultivated land that served primarily to grow grain and hay, with a small backgrounding operation. Jerry got involved in the early 2000s and brought with him a renewed focus on building a viable and sustainable family business.
He transitioned the backgrounding operation into a progressive commercial cattle operation, sourcing genetics and seedstock from producers who were prioritizing environmental stewardship within their own farms and ranches. And in 2013, Jerry started the cow herd.
That part has been a lot of fun for me, building the herd on my own… I’ve always enjoyed cattle. It may be a little harder work, but I’ve always felt it was worth it.”
The farm is also seeing some cropland move back to perennial grasses, and trials of annual crops underseeded to clover. And in the winter, cattle graze on the residue of annual crops.
“The cow-calf and the grain farm really complement each other. There’s a lot of value in the grain side that you can utilize for the cow-calf side,” says Jerry.
The move to year-round grazing was accomplished while also preserving over 320 acres of original native grassland. Jerry plans to maintain the integrity of the land and vows to never break any native ground. He strives to provide for the land, and wildlife that call it home, and in return trusts that it will support his family for years to come.
“This award isn’t about the biggest operation, it is about stewardship. That is what I am trying to do – take care of things and work together with nature. Me and my family are honoured. I feel really humbled.”
Images of Dawn and Jerry Baerg and three of their kids, as well as a few behind-the-scenes shots are available below. Please give credit to Alberta Beef Producers.
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Presented annually, the Environmental Stewardship Award goes to the beef producer who best exemplifies environmentally sustainable cattle production. Alberta cattle producers nominate the best of their peers for this award, which has become one of the most prestigious in the industry. A panel of representatives from conservation and agriculture assess the candidates, examining the stewardship goals and activities of the nominees including land management, water quality, wildlife, animal welfare and leadership activities in the community related to stewardship.
Alberta beef producers are committed to producing beef in an environmentally sustainable manner. Through the Alberta Beef Producers (ABP), they support policies, programs and educational efforts that uphold this vision. They also formally recognize beef producers who have incorporated environmental protection into their management strategies.