Nitschkes’ Circle N Ranch Recognized as Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitat

Entire ranch working for birds and beef in Audubon Conservation Ranching program

Waurika, Oklahoma — The Circle N Ranch, home ranch of Nitschke Natural Beef, owned and operated by Gary and Lauren Nitschke, has received a Bird-Friendly Habitat Certification from the National Audubon Society. Nitschke Natural Beef products and promotional materials can now carry the Audubon Certified bird friendly seal, which recognizes their origin on lands managed for birds and biodiversity.

The Nitschkes’ entire ranch is enrolled in Audubon Conservation Ranching, a sprout up habitat program working to stabilize declining grassland bird populations in Oklahoma and across the U.S. Uniquely, Audubon Conservation Ranching connects consumers to conservation through the marketplace, distinguishing products that come from lands actively managed for wildlife through rotational and regenerative grazing practices. At the Circle N Ranch, this means the Nitschkes are using their cattle beyond beef production, but also to create a mosaic of habitat for priority birds, including flagship species such as the Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, and the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Oklahoma’s state bird.

For the Nitschkes, the habitat partnership with Audubon is the next step in an evolution of stewardship dating to 2003, when they became second-generation ranch owners. “Audubon Conservation Ranching provides our ranch with another level of distinction, as well as program standards that align with our lifelong values of caring for the environment and animals,” Lauren Nitschke said. Lands must meet program standards in the areas of habitat management, environmental sustainability, and animal health and welfare to receive Audubon’s bird-friendly certification.

Thomas Schroeder, Audubon Conservation Ranching Manager in Oklahoma and Texas, said the Nitschkes’ ground-up philosophy, long focused on building organic matter and putting health back into the soil, is the base for good grassland habitat. “Healthy soil makes for healthy grass, and healthy grasslands make for healthy wildlife,” Schroeder said. Added habitat enhancements, including the conversion of some cropland back to grasslands, will benefit pollinating insects and a host of other grassland-dependent bird species, including the Bell’s Vireo, Dickcissel, Field Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrike, Sedge Wren, and Upland Sandpiper.

Nitschke Natural Beef specializes in custom, family-sized cutting orders with a Dallas-Fort Worth and north Texas delivery area. The Circle N Ranch is also a producer for the Grassfed Livestock Alliance, which supplies locally-produced grassfed meats to the Southwest Region of Whole Foods Market. For more information, contact Nitschke Natural Beef.

For more information about Audubon Conservation Ranching in Oklahoma and Texas, contact Thomas Schroeder at (512) 663-2944.

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