Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) presented the Radau family and Coulee Crest Farms with the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award on Fri. Dec. 7 at the at the ABP Annual General Meeting.
Each year, ABP recognizes a cattle operation that demonstrates leadership in environmental stewardship – one that contributes to the land while improving productivity and profitability.
Randy Radau and his wife Sandra have been ranching at Coulee Crest Farms in Red Deer County since 1989.
They purchased the farm, which was originally homesteaded by the Radau’s in 1929, and assumed management of the purebred Hereford herd.
They run a purebred and commercial cow/calf operation and background their own calves.
Coulee Crest also has an integrated grain operation where they stubble graze cattle and utilize composted manure on cropland.
“The environment is our lifeblood in an agricultural operation. If you don’t take care of it your operation will fail. We’re constantly motivated to make things better for the environment so it takes care of us. It is a complete coexistence,” said Randy Radau.
The farm doubled in size with Randy at the helm when additional neighbouring land was purchased to develop rotational grazing and cross fencing systems, allowing them to triple the herd.
The operation currently includes 3,500 acres with 1,500 acres of grain production and 2,000 acres in pasture and hay production.
The majority of grazing is done in Spruce Coulee which was designated an Environmentally Significant Area by Red Deer County.
The farm is constantly working on environmental improvements and has completed projects through Growing Forward 2 and Ducks Unlimited.
Springs were developed and fenced off to provide a fresh water source for cattle, and wetland restoration was completed.
Solar-powered watering systems are used to pull water off-site from a fenced dugout, keeping cattle away from the source and preventing runoff.
Coulee Crest Farms is home to many wildlife species including deer, elk, moose, a variety of birds, cougars and most recently a grizzly bear.
They have designated and fenced areas with native trees for wildlife habitat which also provide wind shelter for the cattle.
“Our goal is to always try to make one or two significant improvements in sustainability every year. We’re really honoured to be named the Environmental Stewardship Award winner.
“I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment you can pay to someone who’s involved in agriculture than to tell them that they’re a good steward of the land,” said Radau.