CALGARY (RURAL ROOTS CANADA) – Randy and Sandra Radau of Coulee Crest Farms believe the environment and the success of their operation go hand in hand.

The winners of this year’s Alberta Beef Producers’ Environmental Stewardship Award say the environment is a lifeblood in an agricultural operation.

“If you don’t take care of it your operation will fail,” said Randy.

Randy says they are honoured to be recognized for their efforts.

“I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment you can pay to someone who’s involved in agriculture than to tell them that they’re a good steward of the land.”

The Radaus, who have been ranching at Coulee Crest Farms in Red Deer County since 1989, run a purebred and commercial cow/calf operation and background their own calves.

On top of this, they have an integrated grain operation where they stubble graze cattle and put composted manure on their cropland.

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After they took over in ‘89, the Radaus bought neighbouring land developing rotational grazing and cross fencing systems, which allowed them to triple the herd.

The Radaus are constantly making environmental improvements to their operation, recently completing Growing Forward 2 and Ducks Unlimited projects.

The initiatives involved developing and fencing springs to provide a fresh source of water for cattle and wetland restoration.

Solar powered watering systems are used to pull water offsite from a fenced dugout, keeping cattle away from the source and preventing runoff.

“Our goal is to always try to make one or two significant improvements in sustainability every year.”

Most of their herd graze in a Environmentally Significant Area called Spruce Coulee.   The area is home to many wildlife species including deer, elk, moose, a variety of birds, cougars and most recently a grizzly bear. They have designated and fenced areas with native trees for wildlife habitat, which also provide wind shelter for the cattle.

The Environmental Stewardship Award is presented annually to a cattle operation that demonstrates leadership in environmental stewardship – one that contributes to the land while improving productivity and profitability.

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