Owners Carl and Pat Schlinke recognized for their lifelong dedication to the land
The Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association today announced Dry Creek Ranch, owned by Carl and Pat Schlinke of San Angelo, as the winner of the Outstanding Rangeland Stewardship Award. This recognition is a joint effort between Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Texas Section Society for Range Management and Texas Grazing Land Coalition.
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association President Hughes Abell said this is one of the most prestigious honors a rancher can win, and the competition is incredibly tough.
“Every day, cattle raisers across the country work to leave the land a little better than they found it,” Abell said. “Their love for the land, coupled with their desire for long-term sustainability, leads them to continuously strive to identify and implement the latest and best management practices. The Schlinkes are a prime example of stewardship exemplified, and we’re proud to present them with this award.”
Abell said from the very beginning, the Schlinkes put sustainability at the forefront of their ranch priorities.
While finishing a tour as a veterinarian in the U.S. Army, Carl was deployed when Pat began working with the local USDA National Resources Conversation Service to begin a water catching project on their ranch. Limited rainfall and restricted watershed availability pushed the Schlinkes to establish miles of pipe to capture natural water, gravity drawn, to water holding tanks at locations across their 3,800-acre property.
In their arid region of the state, grazing grass is often overtaken by invasive prickly pear, mesquite and juniper tree populations. To preserve grazing pasture and protect the integrity of the land, the Schlinkes work with a commercial burn manager to facilitate prescribed burn programs on their ranch, ultimately returning nutrients to the soil for optimal soil health.
The couple established a strong forage program by aerating and seeding approximately half of their ranch with improved grass species, which they steward with acceptable stocking rates of cattle for their area.
“The land supporting Dry Creek Ranch has been a part of the Schlinke family heritage since 1902, and not by happenstance,” Abell said. “A dedication to cultivating grass establishment, water resources, land improvement and youth involvement has allowed the Schlinkes to steward a legacy.”