Moffat County ranchers honored as Conservationist of the Year
A longtime fixture of Moffat County agriculture was recently awarded for contributions to the field.
The Colorado Association of Conservation Districts recognized Moffat County’s Pankey Ranch with the award for 2019 Conservationist of the Year in the Ranching Division Jan. 22 at the National Western Stock Show.
The award was presented during the NWSS rodeo by Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and President Scott Jones with the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts.
Pankey Ranch, nominated for the honor by the Colorado First Conservation District, is owned by Keith and Shelley Pankey who operate the establishment with sons Kevin and Justin 30 miles northwest of Craig, first homesteaded more than 100 years ago.
“The Pankeys became the owners and managers of the operation during the early 1990s,” stated a CACD news release. “They implemented a plan in multiple stages that initially started with the family making financial investments into the property to develop more water through the change over from windmills to solar pumps and the addition of storage tanks, pipelines, and troughs.”
The release noted that this system was incorporated with assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“Currently, the livestock numbers hold steady. Each pasture is deferred until desirable grass species have established themselves. Their rotation and stocking rate are based off range condition, animal performance, and precipitation. Water developments have greatly increased the grazable acres,” the release said. “Due to the family’s appreciation for the land and conservation minded actions, the Pankey Ranch will continue to prosper in the future as a wildlife and ranching operation.”