Conservation recognition: The Johnson Ranch hosts Environmental Stewardship Tour
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), in partnership with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, awarded the Johnson Ranch as the 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award recipients during the Environmental Stewardship Tour in Elk Mountain on June 28. The ranch is currently under the management of fifth generation ranchers John and Reese Johnson.
“We are extremely honored to receive this award today,” said John. “I would like to thank the Medicine Bow Conservation District crew for nominating us. It’s pretty special to have it come from them.”
“I really have a great family and am very proud of everything they do here,” said a Johnson family patriarch Bob Johnson.
The award recognizes Wyoming ranchers for their natural resource stewardship and commitment to conserving the land to enhance the environment, productivity and profitability.
“This is a way to recognize individual ranchers who do exceptional things in the stewardship of natural resources,” said WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna. “While we may only honor one ranch per year, we are honoring the legacy of ranching in the state of Wyoming and the many people in the past, present and coming up in the future who will be contributing to the legacy.”
The Johnson Ranch has been around for generations, and the family works to ensure the ranch leaves a lasting legacy for future generations.
“We are blessed,” said John. “Reese and I raised the sixth generation of this ranch and we get to watch the seventh generation become part of the place.”
John explained the importance of teaching younger generations how to be stewards of the land.
“Ranching families must teach the next generation and have them understand the power of conservation, to understand how to balance natural resources,” John said. “They need to be good stewards. I think we are very blessed to have our kids understand the hard work it has taken.”
The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts Board President Todd Heward mentioned a few words come to mind when he thinks of the Johnsons – family, community service, natural resource management and wildlife.
“What this family does here is truly based upon their family, their traditions and what they do together, and this builds a strong operation and strong commitment,” he said. “There’s not anybody around that serves like the Johnson family – they’re involved with a lot of different organizations. They do a huge part for their community.”
Heward said the Johnson family not only puts in the hard work, but they also share their knowledge with community members to better the ranching community as a whole.
“The Johnsons have always worked hard to be successful, and they’ve shared their talents and their abilities with the community and those around them,” he said.
Chair of the Environmental Stewardship Selection Committee Nate Kane said the Johnsons represent Wyoming’s ranching industry well.
“It’s not about taking and giving nothing back to the land, and the Johnson family wouldn’t be here for generations if that’s what they did,” he said. “It’s families like the Johnson family giving ranchers a good name.”
WSGA President David Kane recognized the Johnsons for their contributions to the ranching industry.
“The legacy you guys have built here, it’s not easy. And it gets harder as the generations go. I applaud you for your efforts,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but it’s a worthwhile challenge.”
The Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto also applauded the Johnson family for their innovative ideas and commitment to regenerative agriculture.
“When we talk about regenerative ag and being able to pass a legacy down the family, it does take a lot of innovative ideas to keep it going,” he said. “You should be congratulated and very proud of all the generations for doing such a wonderful job out here. Congratulations to the Johnsons, we are very happy to be a part of this today.”
Audubon Rockies sponsored the $10,000 award. A Wyoming Game and Fish Department commissioner donated a comissioner’s license, which was raffled off to raise money for the event. In addition, the event was also sponsored by Admiral Beverage, ANB Bank, Farm Credit Services of America, Platte Valley Bank and the Wyoming Livestock Roundup.
Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.