(Jamie) Welcome! Farm Factor is back at the KLA annual convention where Duane Toews visits with Bill and Peggy Sproul, first-ever winners of the Leopold Conservation Award.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you with AGam in Kansas. While at the Kansas Livestock Association Annual Convention and Trade Show in Wichita, a chance to catch up with Bill and Peg Sproul, with the Sproul Ranch. Understand that you, the initial, very first time winners of a Leopold Conservation Award. Bill, can you tell us a little bit about the award that the Ranch received and how that came about? (Bill) The award itself is a tremendous honor to bring to Kansas. We are the 10th state, Kansas is the 10th state to get the award, here based in Kansas. So for us to be the first recipient of it is very humbling to us. It overwhelmed me. I’ve done quite a bit of work and spoke quite a few times about conservation on the prairies and stuff like that and never thought about the Leopold Award. And then it comes to Kansas and low and behold, we’re the first to receive it. So, it overwhelms me. We just, I just can’t get over the prestige of it, having this award here and for us to receive it. (Duane) Bill, we think about some of the practices you implore on your Chautauqua County ranch. Tell us a little bit about what led to some of those decisions that you make on an annual basis. (Bill) You know a lot of the things that I do now I think about how will it impact the community? Instead of just, how would it impact before, it was always about production, ag. I was always pushed to produce more, to create more dollars, to create more everything. And now I look at it and I step back and I think, well when I make a decision here, what’s best for the community? How will the prairie, how will the prairie look 30 years from now? Where’s wildlife at in the whole picture? Where’s soil? Where’s water quality? I’m very selfish with water and I hate to tell my neighbors this, but every drop that lands on the ranch, every drop of water that lands on the ranch, I would dearly love to keep it. I would like for it to go into the soil. I want it to go in there, because, everyone knows, it takes rain to grow grass. And we’ve just come through some droughts and we know what happens if you don’t have rain. Every drop falls on that ranch, I do not want it to runoff. That’s one of the things that I see, is how do I build up a soil profile that can absorb and hold water? I’ve already got moisture. No matter how dry it gets, I’ve always got moisture. I just may not have as much as I’ve always wanted. But it’s OK. It’s part of the community. Drought is part of the community. Rain is part of the community, the whole plant, the whole soil, the wildlife, the cattle. I’m part of the community. Humans are part of it. Economics is part of it. So, I just, that’s the way I look at it now when I’m thinking about how do I make decisions out there. What’s best for the community? (Duane) Our thanks to Bill and Peg Sproul with Sproul Ranch, recipients of the 2015 Kansas Leopold Conservation Award. Jamie, we’ll send it back to you.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Duane will be back with Lindsay Sankey, a farm blogger from Illinois.