Gary and Sue Price, 77 Ranch, Blooming Grove, Texas, were recognized as the national winner of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Environmental Stewardship Award during the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention. The award recognizes the family’s outstanding environmental stewardship of their ranch.

"We are proud of longtime TSCRA members Gary and Sue Price for winning this prestigious award," said Joe Parker Jr., rancher and TSCRA president. "Gary and Sue’s knowledge of cattle production and ranch management, combined with their passion for conservation, is an excellent example of today's agriculture stewardship."

In a press release, NCBA stated that the Prices’ land under their stewardship is under tremendous pressure from urban and suburban development because it is just 53 miles from the ever-growing Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. Thanks to their efforts, a jewel of a prairie still exists, complete with native grasses and habitat.

“Cattlemen and women across the country understand the pressures of urban encroachment. At 77 Ranch the Prices have shown how stewardship and continuous improvement can benefit the environment while also improving the productivity of our lands,” said NCBA Chief Executive Officer Forrest Roberts. “For example, as a result of the extensive wetland conservation work of the Prices, Gary and Sue Price had enough standing forage to sustain their entire herd through all of 2011– with no additional hay or feed purchases.”

Roberts pointed out that although the majority of producers in their area were destocking their ranches and marketing their calves early due to the exceptional drought in Texas in 2011, the Prices were able to maintain their entire herd and their normal production schedule for the year.

“Their ability to maintain their natural resources while also maintaining their ranch speaks volumes about the management techniques and stewardship of the Prices,” said Roberts.

The Prices began assembling their ranch as a young couple 36 years ago. Over the years, they have carefully purchased land that joins their original ranch, or that is nearby. The land under their management ranges from farmed-out cotton fields to untouched remnants of the Blackland Prairie. As a result of their extensive improvements and efforts to preserve wildlife habitat, Gary and Sue Price have been honored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with the statewide Lone Star Land Steward award.

They welcome students of all ages – youth to adult – to their ranch for tours, field days and outings. Gary is a sought-after speaker on the topic of range management and cattle production in a native range environment. They tell their story about their partnerships with Ducks Unlimited and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), and how these partnerships help them find creative solutions to land management problems such as flood control and maintaining water quality while providing wildlife habitat.