MacDonald Ranch earns Tree Care Award

Gusty winds blowing sandy soil were causing erosion around the MacDonald Ranch south of Bismarck. So William (Bill) and Linda MacDonald, third-generation farmers and ranchers, and members of Capital Electric Cooperative, started planting trees back in 1968. Linda recalls planting “miles and miles” of trees in half-mile strips.

Pregnant with their first child, Will, at the time, Linda was in charge of hoeing nine miles of trees that summer. She was rewarded for her efforts, when the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District announced she had won a contest on who could keep the cleanest trees. The award was sponsored by Capital Electric Cooperative.

The MacDonalds planted many more miles of trees over the years, to reduce soil erosion and provide shelter for livestock. When Will was a teenager, he ended up back in the tree rows, using a Weedbadger® to clean the rows like his mother.

The last planting at the MacDonald Ranch was done several years ago, with assistance from the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District. In addition, several employees with the district have helped over the years with fencing, developing water resources, seeding alfalfa and grass, and providing technical assistance.

“It has been a lot of work, but they have helped us tremendously,” says Linda, who shares that Bill passed away a couple years ago. On Nov. 5, Linda was once again honored for her efforts by the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District. The MacDonald Ranch earned this year’s Tree Care Award, which was again sponsored by Capital Electric Cooperative.

Darrell Oswald, district technician, says the MacDonalds earned the award for their efforts I establishing numerous tree plantings that provide protection for their well-kept farmstead and provide winter protection for the livestock operation.

“The predominantly conifer windbreaks provide wonderful wildlife food and thermal cover, as well as enhance the beauty of the surrounding area,” he says. “The plantings have been established over time in some difficult soils, and the MacDonald family has put in a lot of time and effort into caring for and replanting trees that did not survive due to the harsh soils.”

Will and his wife, Jerilyn, are raising the fifth generation of MacDonalds with their three boys, Jerrod (18), Jayden (14) and Ty (11), who do their part to help out on the ranch. The family, along with Linda, continues to raise registered Salers and Salers-cross cattle, host an annual bull sale and grow crops.

Capital Electric Cooperative thanks Linda MacDonald and the Will MacDonald family for their commitment to their farm and to our service area.

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