Ritschard Cattle Company named conservationist of the year
Ritschard Cattle Company, managed by Mike Ritschard was awarded the Conservationist of the Year award at the Middle Park Conservation District and Stock Growers combined Annual Dinner Meeting back in February.
The Conservation District tries to find a landowner every year that meets criteria involving conservation practices and community involvement. This year it was the Ritschard Cattle Company. Con and Gladys Ritschard first purchased the Lower Place in 1939 with money they made from selling milk and cream made from their five dairy cows. They also had a mail route. Later, in 1967, the Weaver Place was purchased. Then, in 1979, the Pickering Place was acquired. It was in the 60s and 70s that the family switched from a Hereford ranch to an Angus cross with Charolais bulls.
Some of the practices that have been put on the ground over the years by Mike, his father Gene and his grandfather Con, improved irrigation water use, improved cattle management, improved rangelands and enhanced wildlife habitat and fisheries.
Irrigation projects were put in place with the goal of getting the full water right out of the rivers and to keep the river bottom from degrading. Replacing old wooden diversion boxes with culverts and gates is the plan for 2010.
Con Ritschard was always known as the “project engineer” and he was involved in many range improvement projects, including burning and herbicide brush treatments that increased grass production. He was awarded the Leonard Horn Live stockman of the Year Award from Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in 1991 because of his work with range improvements.
Fences were built and spring lines were installed to help distribute cattle over the range, utilizing a rotational grazing system. Ponds were built to improve habitat for ducks and geese. Corrals on the Colorado River were moved to improve the condition of the river and keep cattle from over using their access to the water. To improve fisheries habitat, cross veins and other river improvements were constructed to stabilize the stream banks and channels.
The Ritschard family has always been involved in the community. They have always been willing to share their successes and failures with other landowners and have served on board and participated in many organizations in the community.
The Conservation District would like to commend the Ritschard family for all its great conservation work: “We encourage them to continue improving their natural resources with good conservation practices. Congratulations to the Ritschard Cattle Company.”
Fact box: 1.Ritschard Cattle Company awarded Conservationist of the Year by Middle Park Conservation District. 2. Family has owned property since 1939 for four generations. 3. Many conservation practices and much community involvement.
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