Grasslands Beneficial Management Practices > Slovek Ranch Philip, South Dakota

Slovek Ranch Philip, South Dakota

Bill and Pennie Slovek

‘By implementing innovative techniques while practicing sound management decisions, Slovek Ranch has demonstrated intelligent and outstanding environmental stewardship, they have been a great example for neighbors and future generations.’ 27

– Paul Flynn, South Dakota Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“The Slovek Ranch is located near Philip, South Dakota, where Bill – a third generation rancher – his wife Pennie and their youngest son Bo, run approximately 900 cow-calf pairs on over 13,000 acres. They also rent 6,000 to 7,000 acres every year.” 28 In 2012, the Slovek Ranch was awarded the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award for their innovative drought management techniques and commitment to sustainable ranching.

Bill Slovek is passionate about the ranching lifestyle and environmental stewardship; his ranch has adopted a number of beneficial management practices over the years, especially strategies that provide a buffer against the impacts of drought. “He utilizes rotational grazing, which helps to maintain the pastures without over grazing. In addition to rotational grazing he has implemented cross fencing and portable windbreaks, which they rotate with the cattle from pasture to pasture. Slovek explained that it is cheaper to purchase one windbreak that he can move with the cattle, rather than having to build individual protection in every pasture. Finally, he stressed the importance of being hard on weeds; if they see a weed they spray it.” 29 “Slovek stated, ‘As a part of production [agriculture], we need to take care of the environment and do things right to let people know we are doing good things and not trying to destroy the planet.’” 30

“Due to drought and invasion of exotic plant species, some pastureland has been dominated by undesirable plants. By participating with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks, in the Coordinated Restoration of Native Grasslands project, Slovek Ranch participated in a controlled burn to aid the promotion of native grasses. Slovek Ranch also participates in the NRCS [Natural Resource Conservation Service] Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and recycles 100% of all farm lubricants. They store all oils, fluids, and greases and send them to a recycling program. Responsibly managing waste helps protect the quality of groundwater and other natural resources.” 31

“‘By implementing innovative techniques while practicing sound management decisions, Slovek Ranch has demonstrated intelligent and outstanding environmental stewardship,’ said Paul Flynn, in a letter of recommendation from the South Dakota NRCS. ‘They have been a great example for neighbors and future generations.’” 32

27 Angus Journal Website. Angus Journal September 2012. (Accessed 20 June 2013)
28 Hilary Risner, Slovek Ranch Wins Award for Environmental Stewardship, 30 Jan 2013. Tri-State Livestock News Website. (Accessed 20 June 2013)
29 30 Idem
31 Angus Journal Website. Angus Journal September 2012. (Accessed 20 June 2013)
32 Idem