Title: 1994 Ag-Environmental: Babcock Florida Company
Type: Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award
A tour of Fred Babcock's Crescent B Ranch is truly a wilderness adventure, allowing visitors to see the natural Florida of centuries past. With boundless beauty stretching across 90,000 acres, the ranch is a showcase of conservation-based, multiple-use land management.
Fred Babcock: You could come to Florida for your whole lifetime and not see the things that you would see on one of our tours. And that is our way of saying to the world, look at this environment the Lord gave us. We have to take care of it.
Situated in Lee and Charlotte counties, the sprawling Crescent B features an extensive commercial cattle operation as well as timber, vegetable and seed production. Each aspect of its agricultural enterprise emphasizes conservation and preservation.
Because of the sandy soil typical to Southwest Florida, soil conservation is paramount. Crescent B has addressed this issue on a variety of fronts, including wetlands protection, use of natural buffers around fields, and crop-pasture rotation. Timber practices such as natural regeneration, controlled burning and selective cutting, also aid in soil conservation.
In response to the lowering of the Caloosahatchee River, Mr. Babcock constructed an intricate dike system 2 1/2 miles long to preserve the native wetlands. This effort maintained the natural water level in the 8,000-acre Telegraph Cypress Swamp, which is the heart of the entire ranch.
Mr. Babcock has a firm belief that being a land owner carries with it a heavy responsibility. Being a caretaker of the air, land, water and wildlife cannot be separated from the task of producing food and fiber.
Fred Babcock: My philosophy is “Where can I do the most good in the world in my life? I say being a protector and a practitioner of good environment in this world.”