Bolivar, Mo. — The National Audubon Society has issued a Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification to the Tin Cup Heritage Farm in Hickory County in southwestern Missouri, owned and operated by Kevin Riutcel. Beef products produced on the farm can now be branded with the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal, a label that recognizes product origin as lands managed for birds and biodiversity.
Tin Cup Heritage Farm acquired its bird-friendly designation through Audubon Conservation Ranching, a habitat program working to stabilize grassland bird populations in Missouri and across the United States. Riutcel’s property is the sixth in Missouri to earn the Audubon certification and joins a network of more than 100 nationwide. As an Audubon Certified bird-friendly habitat, Tin Cup Heritage Farm is specifically managed to provide habitat for a wide range of avian species, including Eastern Meadowlarks, Henslow’s Sparrows, Loggerhead Shrikes, and Northern Bobwhites.
At the root of Audubon Conservation Ranching is the use of rotational grazing, part of a broader approach to regenerative agriculture that seeks to restore ecosystem health from the soil upward. Riutcel rotates his cattle herd across his land, replicating how bison once roamed and grazed the tallgrass prairie. He also eschews chemical use. The effects of this management, he says, can be profound. “These regenerative methods are ways to restore the soil and water needed not only for food production for our animals but for the habitat that sustains birds and other wildlife.”
Chris Wilson, Conservation Ranching Program Director and a Liberty, Missouri resident, says there may be no more effective way to create the patchwork of habitats that grassland birds need than rotational grazing. “The Loggerhead Shrike needs shorter vegetation and open ground for foraging, which is the result of a short period of high-intensity grazing. Then in a neighboring pasture, by keeping cattle out for a while, the cover will get dense, and that’s desired by the Henslow’s Sparrow, a bird species of great conservation need. With a well-designed grazing plan, we can manage multiple priority bird species.
Products grazed on the Audubon Certified bird-friendly Tin Cup Heritage Farm are available for delivery in Bolivar and Springfield.
For more information about Audubon Conservation Ranching in Missouri, contact Chris Wilson at (816) 824-9691.
About Audubon Conservation Ranching
A wildlife habitat initiative of the National Audubon Society with a unique market front, Audubon Conservation Ranching’s purpose is to stabilize declining grassland bird populations in partnership with ranchers – on whose land 95 percent of grassland birds live. Audubon Conservation Ranching’s enrollment includes more than 100 ranches covering more than 2.8 million acres that have earned status as Audubon Certified Bird-friendly Land. Incentivizing this habitat work for birds and biodiversity are consumers with an appetite for conservation, who support it with the purchase of products grazed on these lands. Shoppers see a special package designation – the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal – that sets these products apart. For more information, visit Audubon.org/ranching.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.