Ranching brothers honoured for environmental practices

Terry Adamson (left) and brother Dale, seen here on their ranch west of Meadow Lake, are proud recipients of a Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association Environmental Stewardship Award.

by Sabine Gibbins

Cattle graze in the field behind ranchers Dale and Terry Adamson, the lush green grass an inviting oasis for their livestock.

The Adamson brothers are standing in the midst of an award-winning project they have endeavoured in for many years.

The Adamsons are the proud recipients of the Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA), which was presented to them by the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association May 28 during the association’s annual convention at the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

“We certainly didn’t expect it,” Terry Adamson said, adding this is the first time they have been both nominated for and recipients of an award.

The award the Adamsons received reflects the environmentally conscious ways in which they have improved their ranch for both the cattle and the land, said Chad MacPherson, general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association.

“We feel we are doing our part in helping to improve the environment,” Dale Adamson explained. “The way we see it, we are supposed to be stewards of the land.”

The brothers have been ranching on their Makwa-area land since the 1980s, when they gradually began to take over operations of the ranch from their father, Art, who moved onto the property in 1947 and began operation of what is known now as the Diamond J Cattle Co.

“We deal directly with the environment,” Dale Adamson said. “It’s there, and we have to deal with it the best we can.”

The one main area which the brothers have improved over the course of the last decade is the watershed surrounding their property, as well as maintaining healthy pastures of grass for cattle to graze on.

The challenge the ranchers had to find a way around was dealing with the two rivers which surround their property – Horse Head Creek runs north-south and Makwa (Loon) River runs east-west. Eventually both come to a “T”, Dale Adamson noted.

“We’ve been pumping up water to make it cleaner for the cattle to drink out of,” Terry Adamson said.

A solar pump has provided the livestock with a fresh water supply, which is distributed into a dugout, he added. This proves a healthier water source for the cattle, who used to drink out of muddy shores of the river.

Another way the brothers are advancing their cattle ranching methods is intensive grazing procedures, meaning keeping the quality of grass healthier for their cattle, and more abundantly so.

With 5,000 acres of land, it’s important to even out the grazing fields for the cattle, Terry Adamson said.

“The more grass we can grow, the more cattle we can keep healthy,” he added. “So it’s important that we have got to look after the grass. In principle, you should never have overgrazing.”

In hindsight, the Adamsons wouldn’t trade their way of life for any other in the world.

“You got to like doing what you’re doing,” Dale Adamson said.

As recipients of the stewardship award, the Adamsons will now go onto represent the province at the national convention in Calgary in the summer.


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