The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Environmental Stewardship Award for 2019 was awarded to Randy and Terri Stokke of Willow Creek Ranch, near Consul, Sask.
The couple operate their ranch deep in southern Saskatchewan in the Palliser Triangle region, a semi-arid steppe within the Great Plains. They run 400 mother cows, yearlings and horses, and have 50 species of birds and other wildlife on their range, including nine at-risk species, two of which are the greater sage-grouse and the swift fox.
Randy was Chair of Sustainable Canada and spent the last five years educating people — most notably politicians — on what ranchers do and how it affects species at risk.
It is widely known but rarely acknowledged that ranchers are the original environmentalists — fully resisting the currently acceptable practice of plowing under and destroying Canada’s fastest disappearing ecosystems, native grass. “With many people and other groups like the Stock Growers, that message is starting to get out there that we are doing the right things,” said Randy. “Species at risk work together with livestock and, basically, they are there because of the ranching industry.”