It was announced back in February during the Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, that Carter Cattle Company, LLC, in Pintlala, Alabama, was selected as one of seven regional winners of the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The farm represents the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Region Two. Then this week, during the annual NCBA’s Fly-in Legislative Conference in Washington D.C., it was announced that Carter Cattle Company was selected as overall 2022 ESAP winner.
The ESAP award, which annually recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of cattle producers, was presented to the Carter family Tuesday evening during the NCBA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
“Carter Cattle Company is an excellent example of how cattle producers across the country undertake stewardship efforts unique to their environment, landscape and resources,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson. “The Carters are keenly focused on conserving natural resources for future generations.”
Sustainability began as a lifestyle more than a practice seven generations ago in the mid-1820s when the farm was established. The Carters make management decisions with the future in mind, utilizing rotational grazing for their forage-based feeding program. Rotational grazing has been vital to improving the overall health of the farm ecosystem, soil health, forage base, watershed, livestock and wildlife.
“It is an honor and lifelong dream to receive this award, and extremely humbling,” said Dr. Will Carter of Carter Cattle Company. “We are in the cattle business, but we are in the grass business first. Our job is to manage the grass and allocate it to the cattle that then take the resource and produce something of greater value.”
Through conservation incentives offered under the Watershed Project and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Carters installed 2,000 feet of water lines to two new water troughs, protected 1,250 square feet of heavy use areas and built 1,300 feet of fence to exclude cattle from Pintlala Creek. These efforts help the Carters utilize the land in the most effective way for their cow herd while protecting natural resources. In addition, being good stewards doesn’t stop at the farm gate, as both Will and Monnie Carol Carter are veterinarians who care for other animals in their community.
“Cattle and a clean environment go hand and hand,” Carter said. “This place wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in and improving each year if it weren’t for the cattle.”
Established in 1991, ESAP identifies outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry. Each year, seven families are recognized with regional Environmental Stewardship awards, with one being honored as the national winner.
The 2022 Regional Winners are:
- Region I: Lamb Farms, Inc., Oakfield, New York
- Region II: Carter Cattle Company, LLC, Pintlala, Alabama
- Region III: Huth Polled Herefords and S&H Livestock Enterprises, LLC, Oakfield, Wisconsin
- Region IV: Parks Ranch, Goliad County, Texas
- Region V: Mannix Brothers Ranch, Helmville, Montana
- Region VI: Fulstone Ranches, Smith, Nevada
- Region VII: Jorgensen Land & Cattle Partnership, Ideal, South Dakota
ESAP is generously sponsored by companies and federal agencies who share the cattle industry’s commitment to caring for the environment and protecting natural resources. Sponsors including U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, Corteva Agriscience, McDonald’s, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partner with NCBA to promote environmental stewardship throughout the beef supply chain.