California 2008 Three Creeks Ranch Elk Creek Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Chet Vogt’s Three Creeks Ranch is a 5,300 acre, 500 cow-calf operation. The core of Chet’s holistic approach to ranching is intensive managed grazing, which rotates the cattle among 32 fenced paddocks.

This supports native grasses, healthy cattle, and increased water retention in the soil. Chet has fenced off riparian corridors and livestock ponds as special management zones. These areas receive short-duration grazing, which helps native plants thrive and provides habitat for birds and other wildlife ranging from box turtles to black-tail deer.

“Chet Vogt has dedicated himself to innovation in environmentally beneficial ranching practices for three decades,” said A.G. Kawamura, California Department of Food & Agriculture Secretary, and a judge for the Leopold Conservation Award. “He demonstrates the natural compatibility between raising cattle and caring for the land, and he inspires all ranchers and farmers to work from that understanding.”

Chet is widely respected for bridging the gap between cattle ranchers and environmental advocates by forging effective partnerships and cultivating productive, ongoing communication. He hosts workshops and field trips to educate ranchers, regulators, and environmental scientists about his practices. He has held numerous community leadership positions, including California Cattlemen’s Association as the Rangeland Improvement Committee Chairman. Chet is involved with the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, which encompasses nearly 100 agricultural, environmental, and government organizations.

“Chet is a quintessential western rancher: stout, serious, and rugged,” wrote Dr. Steve Zack of the Wildlife Conservation Society in his letter of recommendation. “Yet, he is also a leader of new ways to manage the land, and his efforts have inspired me and many others concerned with natural resource management in the western United States.”

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