By: Leopold Conservation Award Program
Jim Bill Anderson and his family are exceptional stewards of the land, water, and wildlife of Anderson Ranch, which is located in Canadian, Texas in Hemphill County, and is comprised of over 5,000 acres.
Mr. Anderson uses a ranch management approach that consists of many facets. He utilizes adaptive management techniques, such as lesser prairie-chicken spring lek counts, whitetail deer spotlight surveys, and rangeland forage inventories to develop livestock rotation plans.
Anderson Ranch derives income from a variety of sources, including: livestock, nature tourism, and lease hunting. Livestock revenue comes from stocker, cow-calf, and leased roping cattle. Lease hunting includes northern bobwhite, whitetail deer, Rio Grande wild turkey, and waterfowl. Wildlife on the ranch provides additional sources of revenue through prairie-chicken spring lek viewing and wildlife photography. Most importantly, the Anderson Family always considers the long-term implications of livestock management and hunting decisions.
Anderson Ranch has a full range of ecosystem services. Mr. Anderson, who is committed to the maintenance of diverse native plant and animal populations, uses livestock management, hunting, prescribed burning, and many other innovative practices to maintain habitat quality and health. The ranch provides a hospitable environment for many species of wildlife, including the threatened Arkansas River shiner and the endangered interior least tern.
Mr. Anderson is considered to be a conservation and agricultural leader at the local, regional, and national levels. He places a high priority on building bridges between private landowners, conservation groups, economic development interests, and government agencies. Among other duties, he currently serves on the Board of the Hemphill County Underground Water District and served on the National Cattlemen’s Association Board of Directors. Mr. Anderson was instrumental in the creation of the Texas Prairie Rivers Region nature tourism initiative, which won a “Four Cs Award” from the U.S. Department of Interior in 2003. Among other accolades, he was recognized as the Canadian Hemphill County Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year for his optimism, persistence, and vision in promoting conservation and nature tourism as a viable economic option.
“Not only is the Anderson Family concerned about short-term land conservation, they also wish to have future generations enjoy the property and appreciate the natural resources it supports,” wrote John P. Hughes of the Fish and Wildlife Service in his nomination letter. “Their interest in land conservation is genuine and serves as an excellent example for other landowners to follow.”