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Generations on the Land

A Conservation Legacy

By Joe Nick Patoski with Support from Sand County Foundation

Publication Year: 2010

 The landowners in this book have improved their land and done so by being profitable, generous to their human community, committed to family, and desirous of leaving land better than when it came into their stewardship.—from the introduction by Brent Haglund   In 2008, the Sand County Foundation and the Texas A&M Department of Ecosystem Science and Management co-hosted a workshop called “Generations on the Land: Working for Land Stewardship.” It brought to College Station winners of the foundation’s Leopold Conservation Award, who presented their stories and interacted with students and other land managers. The common themes among the award-winning ranchers and farmers were their commitment to progressive and ethical land management practices and their success in keeping their land and business operations in the same family over successive generations.   Following the workshop, the Sand County Foundation asked Texas writer Joe Nick Patoski to spend time with seven of the award-winners and profile them in extended essays that now make up this manuscript. The foundation’s goals in producing a book were to more widely publicize the voluntary conservation achievements of private landowners across the country, to recognize their roles as conservation leaders outside the agricultural communities where they live, and to reinforce the value of family commitment to land stewardship.   The seven landowners profiled by Patoski in the book include five ranchers, a forester, and a vintner who live in California, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Their conservation accomplishments range from providing a habitat corridor for pronghorn antelope to hammering out an endangered species “safe harbor” agreement for grape growers.   A short introduction by a fellow conservation or ranching professional precedes each of the personal portraits by Patoski, which are written in an informal, conversational style. Brent Haglund, president of the Sand County Foundation, provides an introduction to the purpose and work of the foundation, and a conclusion summarizes the substantive conservation contributions of the Leopold award-winners. Four to five color photographs accompany each profile (including one family portrait, see excerpt).

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title page, Copyright

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pp. v

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pp. vii-ix

When I am a noteworthy landowner family's guest, I find many delights in the visit and conversations. If my time and their hospitality permit, I like to take a walk before breakfast - preferably a hike - past their barn, machine shop, and sheds out to and beyond a close-in pasture. If time is short, a stroll from the farm ...

Generations on the Land

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pp. 1

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Chapter 1 Harold Selman Ranches

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pp. 3-14

You can never know too much. There's always something new to learn. That is the guiding philosophy of Harold Selman Inc., the sheep ranches currently run by Fred Selman (Harold's son) and his family in the Bear River Valley of northern Utah. Straddling Cache and Box Elder counties, this swath of land ...

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Chapter 2 77 Ranch

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pp. 15-28

Gary Price will be the first to tell you that family is what you make of it. Blood runs thick, but in his own case, the deeper connection between people comes through the land. Gary and Sue Price's 77 Ranch is a shining example of that. On the rolling plains of Navarro County in north Central Texas ...

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Chapter 3 Wilson Ranch

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pp. 29-40

Sometime between Jaclyn Wilson telling me how she dumped a boyfriend, a hulking 250-pound lineman for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, for asking "the wrong question about cattle," (no, cows do not migrate and fences aren't there to keep them from moving south) and watching her gracefully steer her quarter horse ...

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Chapter 4 Terry Peters

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pp. 41-52

Terry Peters chose to start the tour where the product of his livelihood is on view - at North Country Lumber, the hardwood sawmill in Wisconsin's remote Northwoods where stacks of giant logs of hard maple, red oak, basswood, soft maple, birch, and oak were being sawed, shaped, and sanded into high-end wooden ...

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Chapter 5 Coleman Ranches

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pp. 53-64

Jim and Frances Coleman enjoy showing visitors around their ranch, a legacy spread in the rolling foothills of southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley. It's this ranch that birthed Coleman Natural Beef, the first natural beef program in the United States. Opening their land and their cattle operation has helped outsiders ...

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Chapter 6 LangeTwins Winery and Vineyards

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pp. 65-78

"This is peak period, this is payday," Brad Lange half-shouted as he swiveled around in his office chair, appearing lean, intense, and animated all at once. Although the morning sun had barely broken over the horizon, he had already made a run out to the fields to check on the grape harvest before returning to the office ...

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Chapter 7 Pape Ranches

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pp. 79-90

The view from the highway was pastoral - pronghorn antelope, the fastest land animal in North America, and mule deer, icon of the American West, lounged in luxuriant grasses while black and red cattle browsed in a pasture nearby. Both the wildlife and the livestock looked very much at home on this majestic plain ...

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Chapter 8 Treadwell Brady Ranch

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pp. 91-104

A Treadwell had been working the arid grasslands around Fort McKavett in the Big Country of west Central Texas since 1888, shortly after the fort was erected to fend off hostile Comanche and Kiowa. Buffalo still roamed the open range and the howl of the red wolf could be heard when W.W. Treadwell established ...

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pp. 105-108

Readers of this book will surely be moved in different ways by the remarkable lives and lessons that leap from its pages. Some readers will be struck by the headlong crash of quiet and humble rural people with twenty-first-century modernity. Some will focus on the almost epic workloads required of family members, ...


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pp. 109-120

E-ISBN-13: 9781603442428
E-ISBN-10: 1603442421
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603442411
Print-ISBN-10: 1603442413

Page Count: 136
Illustrations: 25 color photos. Index.
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Land use -- Environmental aspects -- United States.
  • Landowners -- United States -- Biography.
  • Sustainable agriculture -- United States.
  • Conservation of natural resources -- United States.
  • Natural resources -- United States -- Management.
  • Leopold Conservation Award.
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