WASHINGTON D.C. - Nominations are now open for an award that recognizes leaders in natural resource management, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association said.

Through March 7, anyone can nominate competitors for the 2001 Environmental Stewardship Award Program, which honors cattle producers whose business practices contribute to the environment while enhancing productivity and profitability.

Sponsored by Dow Agrosciences, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) is in its 11th year. Nominees will first compete for one of seven regional awards. The winners will later compete for the national award. The only requirement for nominees is that they raise or feed cattle.

"Winners of the award engage in business practices that are above and beyond normal practices," said Bob Lee, co-chair of the ESAP selection committee. "Their practices are also ones that others can emulate while protecting and enhancing their bottom lines."

Regional winners receive a bronze statue and other producers are educated about their innovative practices during special receptions at the cattle industry summer conference and annual convention.

A selection committee made up of 14 people from wildlife, environmental, agriculture and land management organizations chooses the winners. The committee bases its decision on the use of natural resource stewardship practices that contribute to the environment and enhance productivity and profitability. Innovative management and conservation practices in energy, water, air, vegetation, wildlife and soil management are also considered.

Some past winners of the ESAP award were recognized for exemplary practices in groundwater protection, land improvement, wildlife enhancement, diversifying native range, cropping and feedlot operation, progressive agriculture and minimizing soil erosion.

To obtain an application, visit http://hill.beef.org/esap/index.html or
contact Walt Smith at wsmith@beef.org, (202) 347-0228.

National Cattlemen's Beef Association