Governor's Column: Celebrate Farmers and Ranchers on Earth Day
Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, S.D. 57501
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 21, 2017
CONTACT: Tony Venhuizen or Kelsey Pritchard at 605-773-3212
EDITORS/NEWS DIRECTORS: Please consider the following column from Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
Earth Day: A Time To Celebrate SD’s Farmers And Ranchers
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:
In 1973, a woman by the name of Beverly Gabriel decided to leave her profession to get back to her roots. She had received a teaching degree from Black Hills State University a few years earlier and had taught in Rapid City and Wyoming. Her parents were growing older and it was becoming difficult for them to manage their two operations in separate parts of the state. When Bev’s father approached her about managing Blue Bell Ranch near Clear Lake, she readily accepted.
The year Bev took over Blue Bell Ranch she met Herb Hamann, who was out deer hunting with his brother. Herb saw Bev standing near the gate to her property and his brother introduced the two of them. Two years later, the couple married and began to jointly run Blue Bell.
Today, Bev and Herb continue to operate Blue Bell Ranch with the help of their children Breck and Arla. They’ve multiplied their land operation by almost eight times and they’re regarded by their friends and neighbors as being honest in their business dealings. The Hamanns are also known for their conservation practices.
Each year around Earth Day, the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, South Dakota Grassland Coalition and Sand County Foundation bestow the Leopold Conservation Award® upon a farming or ranching family for outstanding natural resources conservation leadership. The award is named for conservationist Aldo Leopold.
This year’s Leopold Conservation Award recipients are Herb and Bev. They demonstrate their deeply-held conservation ethic by taking voluntary action to improve the health of the land and habitat that sustains wildlife. The Hamanns have developed diverse native vegetation on the land, and they graze their cattle in a manner that considers ecological impacts to accommodate wildlife needs at critical times, such as nesting.
No one understands the importance of being good stewards of the land better than our farmers and ranchers. Their livelihoods depend on it. Because the vast majority of land in our state is privately owned, conservation efforts employed by those in agriculture are integral to the quality of our natural resources.
I thank the Hamanns as well as every farmer and rancher who is committed to improving the natural resources in their care. Their efforts ensure the preservation of our natural resources for generations to come.