SEBRING, FL. -- Jimmy Wohl, owner/manager of Rafter T Ranch, is the recipient of Florida Audubon’s first Sustainable Rancher of the Year Award, which was presented to him on Sunday, April 7, 2013 in Okeechobee at the Inaugural Everglades Day in honor of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’ birthday.
Audubon recognizes the great stewardship that ranchers in the Okeechobee Watershed have exercised on their land for more than 50 years. Today, by participating in programs to store and clean water on their land and by committing land to long-term conservation through the sale of conservation easements, ranchers are stepping forward to again become a vital factor in the restoration of Northern Everglades.
Wohl has exemplified stewardship on lands in the Northern Everglades. Through the Florida Ranchlands Environmental Services Project (FRESP) and the Northern Everglades Payment for Environmental Services (NE-PES) Program, Wohl has installed improvements on Rafter T Ranch to store and clean water before it runs into the watershed to Arbuckle Creek. His work shows how ranchers can make simple adjustments on working landscapes to maximize benefits for the environment.
“One of the reasons this award means so much is not just us receiving the award, but what it represents. This is a monumental step for the Audubon Society to even develop this award category,” Wohl said. “It’s a significant indication that we are making a lot of progress in getting the agencies, scientific community, NGOs and landowners to work together to positively address the environmental problems we are faced with today.”
Owned by the Wohl Family, the 5,200-acre Rafter T Ranch is located in Sebring, FL and has received numerous awards including Environmental Stewardship Awards from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Florida Cattlemen’s Association (FCA) and the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS).