Respect for the range, family recognized for conservation practices
The Bang family has worked for years balancing natural resources with keeping their 10,000-acre ranch near Killdeer productive. Recently, their work was recognized.
Terrald and Carol Bang along with their son, Todd and his wife Talia, have worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service over the years enhancing soil and water resources by developing a number of projects including springs, cross fences, wells and water tanks.
Terrald's father began making improvements to the ranch in the 1960s and the family is keeping the legacy. Terrald and Carol's other children, Becki and her husband Josh Anderson, and son Taylor and his wife Kara, and families also live in the Killdeer area but don't work the ranch.
"My dad did projects before I took over, and my son and I feel that as needs and different practices come up and they fit our ranch and make it more productive, we are willing to try them," Terrald said.
Working with Dad has taught Todd to be open-minded, Todd said.
One of the practices is planting trees, forages and cover crops to improve soil health and productivity.
"It's a lot of work but it has definitely proved to be worthwhile," Terrald said.
Nutrient management plans, no-till farming practices and rotational grazing systems have also been incorporated into their day-to-day operations.
Terrald said he and his family have seen less soil erosion and more pounds of beef on less acres of grass.
Other rewards the Bangs have reaped are the time and money saved by practicing no-till farming.
"No-till allows them to make fewer trips around the field which also cuts down on machinery wear and tear," Terrald said.
The Bangs received the Environmental Stewardship Award for their conservation efforts from the North Dakota Stockmen's Association during its Sept. 25 convention in Minot.
The award recognizes cattlemen whose natural resource stewardship practices contribute to the environment and enhance productivity and profitability.
"We felt very honored when we heard we had won," Todd said.
They received a plaque, $250 and Terrald and Carol's registration fees for the convention were paid for. Todd and his wife did not attend because they were at home farming.
"I suppose we should have gone out for supper or something with our winnings, but we put it in the bank and paid off loans," Terrald said.
The award was presented by the NDSA and sponsored by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
"The Bangs are strong advocates of agriculture," said NDSA Member Services Director Tracey Koester of Steele. "They strive to live their lives so that others will recognize the sustainability and functionality of multi-purpose land."
The Bangs ranch supports about 500 cow-calf pairs and countless wildlife species, including elk.
Terrald serves on the Killdeer Mountain Elk Unit's Landowners Association, a group that works to increase the number of elk hunting licenses.
He also works with the NDGFD to manage the elk herds in the Killdeer Mountain area.
Terrald said though his family welcomes hunters for both elk and deer, they must ask permission.
"We are sportsmen too, and love the outdoors," he said. "It's a passion we can share with other folks. Plus when these hunters go back home to the city, they will tell their hunting stories to their friends."
Terrald said he and his family also want the hunters to be able to tell a good story about the lifestyle his family lives.
The Bangs won the Dunn County Soil Conservation award last year and will compete for a regional conservation award in February.