OTTUMWA — Visitors to the DeCook Ranch near Lovilia recently discovered that land preservation and agriculture needn’t be in conflict.
That’s because the DeCook family, along with others in the state, demonstrated last week the benefits of land preservation and at the same time providing the perfect setting for bison, an alternative source of meat for many consumers.
By returning part of the land to its natural state, through a patch-burn process and later, native-type prairie seed, the land yields new natural growth that sustains the bison.
The ranch also features oak savanna that are fire resistant and provide refuge for animals and birds.
While these decisions benefit the DeCook family and their desire to protect the environment and raise quality bison, it’s also something all Iowans can appreciate.
“We really look at this as a gift to Iowa,” said Joe McGovern, land stewardship program director for the Iowa National Heritage Foundation. “You can drive by and see open space. Iowans benefit from that open space and from preserving nature. We’re just meshing protection and private ownership.”
The DeCook family, Iowa National Heritage Foundation, National Resources Conservation Service and Practical Farmers of Iowa should be recognized for putting a spotlight on ecological agriculture and how the results can benefit everyone.