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Farmers, ranchers find ways to prosper and protect the environment

People who live and work in rural areas say they have found that they can work the land and still be in harmony with their natural surroundings.



Picture-perfect countryside is the starting point of many memorable meals. People who live and work in rural areas say they have found that they can work the land and still be in harmony with their natural surroundings. Balancing dollars with environmental sense is all in a day's work for twins Brad and Randy Lange of Lodi. Carrying on a century-long family tradition, the Langes have found a way to farm alongside of the Mokelumne River while keeping in balance with nature.

"We taught our kids from the beginning, through what we do along the river: the duck boxes, bat boxes, bluebird boxes, coming out and picking a seedling oak tree and nurturing it for a few years until it has a taproot deep enough to live on its own," Brad Lange said. "All of those are good lessons, not only for us to build upon, but for our next generation to pass on to their children."

Brad and Randy have won many awards for their stewardship, and have a growing customer base for their wines, showing you can balance your budget and preserve all of this beauty at the same time.

"I fully feel that our family will not control this land for an eternity--nothing is forever," Randy said. "We feel like it's our responsibility to farm this land that we have today in a manner that we leave it in better shape for the next owners, the next opportunity for somebody else to do something with that land, whether it's six generations from now or eight generations."

Jim and Mary Rickert are another family with a love of land and determination to keep it unspoiled. The Rickerts manage several properties for Prather Ranch, raising beef cattle. The Rickerts have gone to great lengths to make sure this pastoral paradise is not lost, from rotating where their cattle graze to helping preserve land from development.

The dedicated couple said they hope to preserve rural land, because it's such an important and beautiful part of California.

"There's nothing more incredible than a sunset behind Mount Shasta," Mary said. "It just takes your breath away, the beautiful colors and you just feel the presence of wildlife and nature all around you!"

For more information, visit www.langetwins.com and www.pratherranch.com


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