Landowner of the Year 2004 - Stan Kimbell
Stan Kimbell with the Kimbell Ranches in Oklahoma has been
awarded the International Association of Fish and Wildlife
Agencies’ prestigious Landowner Stewardship Award. The award is
presented annually to landowners who make a significant and
positive conservation impact on a large area of privately owned
land. The award was presented at the organization’s annual
meeting, Sept. 11-16 in Nashville, TN.
“The Kimbell Ranches are the epitome of true land stewardship,” said Greg Duffy, director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “Stan and his wife Karen are a great example of a ranching family that has an eye on much more than the bottom line. They have a true love for the land and a passion for wildlife and that is reflected in the manner in which they run their ranching operation.”
The Kimbell Ranches encompass over 31,000 acres in southwest and south central Oklahoma and on both properties the Kimbell family uses economically-sustainable and conservation-friendly agricultural practices.
“We consider land stewardship a God-given responsibility. While operating a profitable ranching operation is important to us, it is just as important that we take of the land in a thoughtful and responsible manner,” Kimbell said. “We don’t want to just maintain the land, we want to leave it to the next generation in better shape than we found it.”
The Kimbells have owned many of these properties since the 1940s and throughout the decades they have kept wildlife considerations a top priority when making land management decisions. In 2004, Stan Kimbell, a third generation rancher, was named the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Landowner of the Year.
The Kimbell Ranches, primarily a cow/calf operation, use an advanced rotational grazing system to ensure both nutritious forage for cattle and quality habitat for upland birds. Each pond and creek has also been carefully fenced to improve wildlife habitat around these sensitive areas. The ranches are also among the longest standing cooperators in the Wildlife Department’s Deer Management Assistance Program.
The Kimbell Ranches have been very cooperative over the years in wildlife research projects conducted on their property. The Kimbell Ranch in southwest Oklahoma is home to the state’s largest private land elk herd. Researchers are studying elk movements and how they use available habitat. The ranch is also home to a 40-acre wind turbine farm. Researchers are studying how these facilities affect wildlife.
“Very rarely will you find an operation so willing to commit to and enthusiastically complete such a wide variety of wildlife projects,” said Rod Smith, southwest region wildlife supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The Kimbell Ranch in Love County is part of the state’s largest Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) project and is currently the focus of an expansive, eight-year quail restoration project.
In addition to their extensive habitat work, the Kimbell Ranches were also a Sportsman Sponsor in the inaugural Oklahoma Wildlife Expo.
The International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA), founded in 1902, represents the government agencies responsible for North America’s fish and wildlife resources. IAFWA applies expertise in science, policy, economics and coalition-building to serve its members as a national and international voice on a broad array of wildlife and conservation issues
For more information about the IAFWA Landowners Award program, contact the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 444 North Capitol St., N.W., Washington, DC 20001, 202-624-7890 or visit their Web site at www.iafwa.or