The Radau family of Coulee Crest Farms in Red Deer County is the 2019 winner of the Environmental Stewardship Award.
The environmental stewardship award from Alberta Beef Producers recognizes individuals and families who contribute to the land while improving productivity and profitability.
Randy and Sandra Radau have been ranching at Coulee Crest Farms since 1989 on a farm homesteaded by the Radaus in 1929. They run a purebred Hereford herd and commercial cow-calf operation and background their own calves. They also grow grain, grazing cattle on stubble and utilizing composted manure on cropland.
“The environment is our lifeblood in an agricultural operation,” said Randy Radau. “If you don’t take care of it your operation will fail. We’re constantly motivated to make things better for the environment so it takes care of us.”
The farm has doubled in size and the herd has tripled in the last three decades, with 1,500 acres of grain and 2,000 acres in pasture and hay production. The majority of grazing is done in Spruce Coulee which was designated an Environmentally Significant Area by Red Deer County.
The family is constantly working on environmental improvements and has completed projects through Growing Forward 2 and Ducks Unlimited. Springs were developed and fenced off to provide a fresh water source for cattle, and wetland restoration was completed. Solar-powered watering systems are used to pull water off site from a fenced dugout.
Coulee Crest Farms is home to many wildlife species including deer, elk, moose, a variety of birds, cougars, and most recently a grizzly bear. The family has designated and fenced areas with native trees for wildlife habitat, which also provide wind shelter for the cattle.
“Our goal is to always try to make one or two significant improvements in sustainability every year,” said Randy Radau. “We’re really honoured to be named the Environmental Stewardship Award winner. I don’t think there’s a bigger compliment you can pay to someone who’s involved in agriculture than to tell them that they’re a good steward of the land.”