The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSGA) was proud to present The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA) to Jason and Karla Hicks of Bluestone Stock Farms this spring. Today, as part of Agriculture Month, the SSGA has released a virtual tour of the award-winning ranch.
SSGA and its partners and sponsors have recognized excellence and innovation in ranching stewardship through the TESA program since 1995, but its commitment to sustainability goes back for as long as the organization has existed. That’s 102 years, and counting.
“Stewardship is one of our core values,” said SSGA president Doug Gillespie. “One of the reasons SSGA was formed in 1913 was to conserve grasslands and our ranching heritage.”
“The Hicks family follows in that tradition with their strong conservation ethics,” he said. “They run an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable operation that produces a healthy and nutritious product.”
Agriculture Month is proclaimed each October in Saskatchewan. This year’s theme, “Stewards in Sustainability,” celebrates the dedication of farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses to maintain and improve the environment.
Bluestone Stock Farms is located near Parkbeg in the southwest part of the province. They nurture their native grasses, which in turn sustain their beef herd. In fact, Gillespie said, almost all of Saskatchewan’s surviving native grass prairie is on privately managed ranchland like the Hicks’s operation.
“For ranchers, sustainability is a mutual relationship,” Gillespie said. “The land sustains us. If we don’t look after the land, what will there be for future generations?”
The SSGA is a province-wide member driven advocacy organization representing independent, self-reliant cattle producers’ interests for 102 years. The SSGA advocates through education, communication, and research for an economically and environmentally sustainable cattle industry where cattlemen are free to do business–within a free and open market place, free from industry limiting laws and regulation.