The Jim O’Haco Cattle Company at Winslow, Ariz. is one of six regional honorees of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) which recognizes outstanding stewardship and conservation efforts on beef operations.
The honorees were announced July 13 at the 2017 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting. The regional winners will compete for the national award to be presented at the Cattle Industry Convention in Phoenix, Ariz. in February 2018.
Third generation ranchers
The Jim O’Haco Cattle Company, founded in 1898, is named for the distinctive landmark which dominates the skyline. Jim and Jeanne O’Haco are the third generation on the ranch which includes about 60,000 acres in eastern Arizona.
The ranch is one of the largest working cattle ranches in the state.
Originally, the ranch didn’t include beef cattle. Jim’s grandfather raised sheep on the ranch until Jim’s father took over and made the transition to cattle. Today, the ranch is a cow-calf ranch with mainly Angus and Black Baldy cattle.
Over the years, the O’Haco Cattle Company has worked hand-in-hand with state and federal agencies to improve the ranch for cattle grazing. This included the installation of the High Point Well which allowed water distribution to all corners of the operation.
Initially, the project was going to be a well with a storage tank yet 10 years later there were 40 miles of pipeline with water reaching every corner of the ranch.
Due to the well project, “The weight on our cattle improved because they didn’t have to walk as far to water,” says Jeanne O’Haco. She adds, the well “has made a tremendous difference in the improvement of the land and the vegetation.”
The water project is a win-win situation. Due to an agreement with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the water tanks run year-round to provide drinking water for wildlife across the ranch.
“This ranch is just one of those jewels that has a lot of good habitat,” said Arizona Game and Fish’s Al Eiden. He says wildlife and ranching can co-exist well.
Jim O’Haco has always wanted to have quality cattle and help the environment, both missions he’s accomplished but are ongoing.
“The job’s not done - we can always improve. We learn from our past and keep on improving,” O’Haco said.
ESAP was established in 1991 by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding cattle land stewards in the cattle industry.
The program is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation.