By MIKE CORN
Tim and Rebekah Peterson, Monument, have been recognized by the Kansas Wildlife Federation, receiving its Farmer-Rancher Wildlife Conservationist Award.
The award, presented late last month, for the Petersons' decision to host Logan County's 30th anniversary of the rediscovery of the endangered black-footed ferret.
Because of the controversy that has surrounded the reintroduction of ferrets at two Logan County locations, attempts to hold the celebration at locations in Oakley were met with resistance and eventually canceled.
The event was first scheduled to be held in the Logan County 4-H Building and during an assembly at the Oakley High School. Both those events were canceled after complaints poured in to the Logan County Commission and the school board.
The Petersons stepped forward and offered their homestead as the headquarters for the ferret fest.
They wanted to facilitate more community harmony and project a much more open-minded, respectful image on the part of residents in that part of western Kansas, KWF spokesman Steve Sorensen said in a statement.
About 100 people turned out for the event, including a group from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. Tours of the Haverfield-Barnhardt ranch complex that has the greatest number of ferrets were conducted during the day.
Tim Peterson started farming full-time in 1980, and now farms nearly 2,600 acres, all of it no-till.
All new cropland is terraced and riparian areas are protected, with several new windbreaks planted.
A 14-acre playa near the homestead has been enrolled in the popular Conservation Reserve Program. The Petersons lightly graze their pastures to provide adequate wildlife cover, Sorensen said.
They have started to leave milo rows standing along field edges to provide food for wildlife as a means of compensating for modern day combine efficiency.
Tim Peterson is in his second term as chairman of the Farm Service Agency's Kansas State Committee, whose function is to oversee the implementation of domestic farm commodity and conservation programs.