Classified as “Critically Imperiled Habitat” by the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program, Daigle Farms, an 1,100-acre cattle operation in the long-leaf pine savannahs of Ragley, LA, feel an overwhelming obligation to preserve and improve their natural environment. As a result, owner David Daigle, an environmental scientist by education, uses many stewardship practices to ensure the sustainability of the ranch’s ecosystems.

Through partnership with federal and state agencies, Daigle strives to consider how management decisions affect long-term sustainability of the whole system. He, wife Mary Ann, and daughter Clara combine environmental practices and cattle genetic selection to raise minimum-input Brahman and Braford cattle.

The operation also generates income from high-quality timber, all while continuing to provide habitat for a variety of species. Specifically, Daigle practices grazing-management techniques and prescribed burning to maintain a home for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and the American chaffseed plant.

“To David Daigle, sustainability is simple,” says Chris Ebel, NRCS rangeland management specialist. “Manage the natural resources so that the system works to produce products that are useful to man. If the manager does this without substantially degrading any of the system components, then you have sustainability. He continuously goes out of his way to promote conservation and sustainable agriculture.”