Reader Ranch wins top county conservation award |

Reader Ranch wins top county conservation award

Several local landowners won awards for their conservation practices at the recent Conservationist of the Year banquet hosted by the Nevada County Resource Conservation District.

The Conservationist of the Year was awarded to the Reader Ranch of Nevada City. The ranch has been a family-operated cattle operation for five generations since 1854.

Brothers Fred Langdon and John Reader manage the cattle operation while the forth and fifth generation family members participate in maintaining the land.

The brother utilize prescribed burning, rotational grazing and range planting to increase rangeland health and reduce invasive weeds on almost 1,000 acres. Off-stream livestock watering facilities serve to protect water quality, provide stock water and increase grazing distribution. The land supports an abundance of wildlife and provides a strategic fire break.

The Reader Ranch is one of the few that still has a trail drive to move cattle to summer range. Every May, family and friends can be seen moving cattle along Highway 49 through North San Juan on their way toward the mountains.

Other natural resource conservation award recipients were as follows:

– Phil Personeni, Grass Valley, Forest Stewardship Award, for re-planting 60 acres after his ranch burned in the 1989 49er fire. .

– Karen Henderson, Grass Valley, Educator of the Year Award. The Nevada Union High teacher won for supporting conservation education along with agriculture.

– Bill Tanner, Rondoni Ranch, Grass Valley, Conservation Innovation Award, his innovative project to increase cattle grazing distribution through a timed, water bucket contraption that opens the gate and allows cattle to move from pasture to pasture..

– Dave Barhydt, Grass Valley, Contractor of the Year Award, for installing several irrigation conversions that save water and labor while also preventing soil erosion.

– David Gallino, Grass Valley, Director of the Year Award, for his commitment to education and preserving the natural resources through 10 years as and RCD director.

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