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NDASCD Conservation Spotlight: Keith Bartholomay, NACD/NDASCD Board Member

July, 2021

By Debbie Buechler

Who within the NDASCD and NACD does not know Keith Bartholomay? Not too many I am guessing. NDASCD had the pleasure of sitting down with Keith and learning a little more about the man who has been a supervisor for the Ransom Soil Conservation District since 1987. Keith has been on the board at NDASCD since November 2014, and on the board of NACD since February of 2015. Keith has also served on the District Operations and Natural Resource Policy Committee, and if that is not enough, Keith is presently on the Forestry Resource Policy Group (RPG).

Keith is married to his wife Sandi. Kids are Tony, Erik and Lynsee Kemmer, and Karl and Nikki Bartholomay. Keith is blessed with a granddaughter named Olivia, who is 18 months old.

Keith has always been interested in conservation, and actually did not know his grandfather, Alf Larson, was a board president in 1956 until recently.


Question And Answers:

Can you tell us about your education?

"I graduated from Sheldon High School in North Dakota and then onto NDSU Bottineau Branch and received my Associate Degree in Forestry, after that I received my Bachelor's Degree in Range Science from Montana State University, Bozeman. I worked for the Bureau of Land Management for 7 years as a Range Conservationist and Wild Horse Specialist in Nevada and Montana. As a Wild Horse Specialist, I was mainly involved with the gathering of feral and wild horses from the Rangeland with the use of helicopters."

What are conservation tactics you have used and use on the ranch?

" All of our pastures are managed intensively using frequent rotation and adequate recovery of the grazed plants. Our cropland is no-till and we use cover crops extensively for soil health and livestock feed. Our feedlot nutrients are 100% contained and spread crop fields according to a nutrient management plan. Over the years I have used various programs, such as, ACP, Great Plains, EQIP, Partners for Wildlife, Outdoor Heritage Fund and CRP to help defray the costs of projects that helped with the conservation of our operation. We have planted over 200 acres of cropland back to native grass, installed cross fences and water developments and planted and renovated shelterbelts."

What do you do in your free time?

"In between meetings, conventions, and lobbying, I try to play golf, (laughing) I also like to shake a few dice"

Even though Keith has retired from ranching after 39 years, Keith and his son Karl formed a partnership that focuses on cattle production. Keith is never far away from the ranch to check on the cows and haul them where they need to go.

How has NACD helped districts in North Dakota?

"I think the biggest thing NACD has helped the district with, is giving us a voice on the national and political level to make sure that the laws and regulations enhance and not harm the districts operations, and we able with NACD to make sure the districts are not forgotten by our politicians and agencies in Washington, DC. Another big thing are the grants that come through NACD that assist districts in delivering conservation on the ground. NACD also has conservation materials and staff resources that help all the districts with their mission. We have a well respected voice when it comes to what NACD does on legislative matters."

Keith thanks everyone from the North Dakota districts for almost achieving 100% membership, and is very proud of the support North Dakota has given in the past and hopes for in the future. Keith believes North Dakota is a "shining light" in NACD. North Dakota is in the top of states in paying dues.

What is your favorite quote or motto?

"I guess one of my favorites is "Leaders make the Future" I got the quote from Bob Johansen from the Institute for the Future."

The NDASCD thanks Keith in his conservation efforts and his willingness to sit down in his busy schedule to participate in this month feature!

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