While managing their 178,000 acres of land near Park City, Steve Osguthorpe and his family carry on a tradition of conservation and sustainable agriculture that Steve inherited from his father, D.A. “Doc” Osguthorpe.
“One thing my father taught us is if you have land, you leave it in better condition than you found it, for the benefit of the next generation,” Steve Osguthorpe said. “Protecting the soil and watersheds, that’s been the focus of our farming operations, because we know that if we’re going to be in business tomorrow, we’ve got to take care of the land today.”
Red Pine Land & Livestock
When the Osguthorpes began working their land, primary income sources were livestock, crops, and wool. Although the family continues to run sheep and grow alfalfa, corn, barley, and oats, they have incorporated other sources of income into their agricultural operation. A forest land management plan has allowed the family to add timber sales into the equation. In addition, the Osguthorpes made a significant change to their land management strategy by adding recreation to their operation. They lease approximately 1,000 acres to the Canyons Ski Resort and operate a horseback riding and snowmobiling company. These changes allowed Steve and his family to adjust to changing economies and surrounding land uses, while keeping the land in agricultural production and natural forest.
Watershed management is a key component of the family’s conservation efforts. Steve developed a seed mix for use on the land the family leases to the ski resort, which has reduced soil erosion and stream sediment to the point where the streams on their property now run clear. Given their location, the Osguthorpes are surrounded by development, which they have resisted. Steve and his family have placed a conservation easement on 120 acres of crop and rangeland, keeping it in agriculture and ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to carry on the family’s conservation legacy. “The Osguthorpes were conservationists before it was popular to bear that title,” said Bill Hopkin, Utah Grazing Improvement Program, in his letter of recommendation. “They have operated sustainable livestock operations for generations and the fact that they are still thriving in the business is a testimonial to their high quality management.”