Justin and Lacie Robbins, owners of Robbins Land and Cattle, located near Scranton in Greene County, were named Region III Environmental Stewardship Award winners at the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention held in Houston earlier this month.

The family was named the Iowa Environmental Stewardship Award Program winner by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association last year.

The Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) an­nually recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers. Regional winners are recognized for their commitment to protecting the environment while operating profitable cattle operations.

"The Robbins' utilize cover crops to suppress weed pressure, reduce input costs and retain essential nutrients," the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said in a news release announcing the award. "From rotational grazing to cover crop seeding, the family’s efforts to improve water quality and soil health go hand-in-hand with their purebred Angus operation."

The couple also has found a value-added opportunity in offering naturally raised homegrown beef through an online store, which allows them to engage with consumers across the country and share information about the importance of agriculture, the NCBA said.

Doing their part

The Robbins family raises about 200 head of purebred Angus each year and grows corn and soybeans, along with hay, oats and cover crops on their farm located along the North Raccoon River.

“We have to do our part to not let stuff get into the river. I can’t fix everything, but I can change what happens on my farm," Justin Robbins said in an interview with the Spokesman last year after winning the state environmental award. 

He practices rotational grazing in his pastures. He also harvests cover crops for use as feed throughout the year, and has started seeding oats into low spots in his fields that often get washed out. This helps retain the soil, creates a use for poor producing land and is another feed source for his herd.

“I want to leave the land better today than how I found it yesterday,” Robbins said. Robbins Land and Cattle will now compete for the national ESAP award, which will be announced in late July.