Dry conditions, a strong conservation ethic and family tradition - these factors have combined to teach 1993 Environmental Stewardship Award Dewayne how to manage grass and water to benefit cattle, range and the wildlife on his ranch in the dry Cypress Hills region of Southeast Alberta. Overall, Dewayne's plan for success is simple - keep a year's worth of grazing ahead by using moderate stocking rates and extensive water developments to spread the impact of cattle.
Dewayne is the fourth generation to take care of the M Bar ranch first started by his great grandfather in 1893. He, wife Sharon and two children run 650 Hereford/Angus cows on 7,500 acres of deeded and 47,500 acres of crown lease. Pasture elevation ranges from 2,800 to 4,600 feet above sea level with average precipitation ranging from 10 to 18 inches per year.
The M Bar ranch is a model for managing rangeland to resist the impact of drought, and in consideration for wildlife. Dewayne has fenced about four miles of shoreline for nesting waterfowl and reserves 700 animal unit months of forage for wildlife on critical winter and summer ranges each year. The ranch has been featured in range courses, tours and programs with organizations such as the Society of Range Management, the public lands division of Alberta Agriculture, Ducks Unlimited and the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration.