The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association has selected the Bar V Ranch of Jamestown as the 2020 Environmental Stewardship Award recipient. The ranch was honored at the organization’s awards banquet at the NDSA Annual Convention & Trade Show in Bismarck, N.D., Saturday.

Located near the James River Watershed and Pipestem River Watershed, Bar V Ranch is owned and operated by Brian Amundson, a fourth-generation rancher from Jamestown. In 1942, Amundson’s great-grandfather, Oscar, purchased land that was part of the Buchanan bonanza farm. Today, Bar V Ranch calls the original ranch headquarters home in Stutsman County. Brian’s grandfather and grandmother, Earl and Nelda, and father and mother, Van and Patricia, have lived on the place.

Bar V Ranch’s beef operation consists of a spring-and fall-calving cowherd. The operation encompasses many acres of native and re-established native pasture, all in a managed rotational grazing system. All pastures were converted to an intensive managed grazing system in 2010.

In addition, the Amundson family also manages a feedlot. They began finishing cattle in 1996. Positioned along the James River, the feedlot sought to incorporate environmental protection and strong management practices. Since the initial build, the footprint has stayed similar, while Bar V Ranch has continued to adapt and change with advancements in the industry. Amundson updates the lot’s nutrient management plans each year with the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

Although Bar V Ranch specializes in beef production, it also includes Amundson Land and Cattle farming enterprise. Amundson’s goal is to have something growing in the fields for as many days of the year as possible. He strives to maximize the green cover above and promote living continuous root systems below, he said.

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The goal is to not only sustain the ranch but to also improve the aspects of the land, financial balance sheet and lifestyle, he said. Amundson works to accomplish this with the use of re-generative managed grazing, focusing on improving soil composition on farm acreage and properly utilizing the available resources. Additionally, he utilizes cattle, the best available science and hands-on experience to reach those goals. Amundson’s overall goal is to increase production on his ranch while improving its ecological function.

“The most important advice I can give to other farmers and ranchers is to be patient, have a willingness to be flexible, but be decisive,” Brian Amundson said. “Don’t be afraid to make a wrong decision because if you fail, you will learn from your mistake and apply it to your knowledge for future management practices.”

Dan Rorvig, immediate past president and a rancher from McVille, N.D., said cattlemen and cattlewomen in the state are committed to caring for land, air and water resources.

“On behalf of the Stockmen’s Association, I want to congratulate the Bar V Ranch on this special achievement,” he said.

As the state Environmental Stewardship Award winner, Bar V Ranch will next compete on a regional level with state winners from South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. If successful there, its application will move on to the national competition.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is the state Environmental Stewardship Award Program sponsor.