cattle ranching – Brazos Cattle Company Sat, 25 Dec 2021 07:03:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 cattle ranching – Brazos Cattle Company 32 32 Ranney Ranch: an eco-friendly Southwestern cattle ranch – Mother Earth News Tue, 10 Dec 2019 08:00:00 +0000 [ad_1] Cattle ranches in the West often get a bad rap. Overgrazing has decimated the environment in places like my former home state of Colorado. I remember many times during my years of hunting and fishing in Colorado, walking through landscapes strewn with cow pie where the grass had almost disappeared. Mugwort and cactus could […]]]>


Cattle ranches in the West often get a bad rap. Overgrazing has decimated the environment in places like my former home state of Colorado. I remember many times during my years of hunting and fishing in Colorado, walking through landscapes strewn with cow pie where the grass had almost disappeared. Mugwort and cactus could barely gain a foothold, as the places I walked were bare. For most of the past three decades, I have thought that our public lands and private ranches were nothing more than feed lands for overexploited cows. That’s until I met Nancy Ranney in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was during the annual conference of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association that I heard Nancy speak at a culinary roundtable when I realized there was hope. .

Nancy graduated from Harvard with a master’s degree in landscape architecture who took over the family ranch near Corona, New Mexico. The 1990s were an era of misery marked by drought inflicted on the land, animals and humans who inhabited the South West. Nancy knew there was a new and better way to manage her family’s 18,000 acre ranch and implemented herd rotation and regenerative soil management practices to bring back native grasses. The ranch’s pasture was a monoculture of blue grass gramma when Nancy took over in the early 2000s. The herd had been reduced in an attempt to weather extreme drought, and the ranch’s future looked precarious.

The plan was to keep the cows moving, instead of letting them graze in place for days, and to start restoring native grasses. The ranch’s ecosystem was in ruins and birds, along with other species, were disappearing at an alarming rate. The health of the soil was affected, and Nancy knew that it was vital to the quality of the herd to restore the soil to good health. This would require restoring the landscape to an intact ecosystem of microbes, grasses and other high prairie plants that would nurture the life forms that make up a healthy landscape.

I asked Nancy what she had in mind when she started running the ranch and she said, “The key was to keep the herd moving through the landscape, never to graze enough. long in one place to damage the plants and now leave the seeds dormant. in the soil – viable for over 100 years in the southwest – to grow. Once the native grasses began to return, so did most of the life forms that depend on the ecosystem.

Before the arrival of European settlers some 400 years ago, the high prairie was awash with life. There were buffaloes, prairie dogs, badgers, cougars, snakes, moles, hawks and the plains songstress, the lark. All of these species lived in harmony and the land thrived during this period of healthy prairies. When the ranchers arrived there was some of the most magnificent pasture areas a cattle rancher could desire.

These abundant grasslands have become one of the best breeding countries in the world. After centuries of grazing, much of the land was exhausted.

Through more than 150 years of great ranches, ranchers have worked the land through good and bad years in this western paradise. When the drought of the 90s hit, it was clear that something had to change. Some species were extinct, and many others were just a shadow of their old numbers. But pastoralists, like farmers, are unwilling to adopt new ways of working the land.

One of the big surprises in the effort to restore our grasslands is the theory that cattle can improve the soil like the buffalo once did. Cattle can aerate the soil with their hooves, just as buffaloes did for centuries before the arrival of white humans. Cows also provide fertilization from the many pies they leave in their wake. Native perennials are stimulated when livestock bite them only once during their movement, instead of letting them graze in one place for hours.

In an article by Time magazine, writer Judith D. Schwartz points out that maybe cows could save our prairies. Instead of completely abandoning cattle ranching, the pastures appear to benefit from proper husbandry techniques such as the regeneration plans used by Ranney Ranch.

When Nancy took over running the Ranney Ranch, the longtime ranch manager thought she would fail and they would revert to her methods. Nancy did not fail and continued to document the restoration of over 50 types of native grasses without seeding or irrigation. Ranney Ranch has seen its water holding capacity increase by twenty-five percent under this new management. As neighboring ranches languished in the drought, aerial photos showed Ranney Ranch developing a thriving prairie in the high desert of New Mexico. Nancy’s herd has shown health benefits similar to those of the land with the new techniques in place.

Today the ranch and the herd are doing well. As part of eco-friendly practices, Ranney Ranch sells most of the beef it raises to local consumers. Nancy knew that less than two percent of New Mexico beef stayed in the state. By shipping shorter distances, they reduced carbon emissions.

By encouraging regenerative agricultural practices, farms like Ranney Ranch can bring back healthy ecosystems that benefit everyone on Earth. As part of the land restoration, Ranney Ranch has been selected by the Audubon Society to be part of their conservation breeding program. Audubon and its conservation ranching program are seeking to bring back some of the bird species that have seen their numbers decline by eighty percent due to the loss of suitable habitat. The prairies of the West are vital for the birds which are an essential part of the ecosystem.

When consumers buy Audubon Certified Beef, they can rest assured that the producer they are supporting is helping the planet. Ranney Ranch is also AGA (American Grassfed Association) and AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) certified. There is plenty of research showing that grass-fed beef is healthier for consumers than grain-fed beef. I encourage you to read some of the articles posted on the Ranney Ranch website and see how their farming has other carbon reduction benefits. Even though most of us live too far away to buy affordable Ranney Ranch beef, look for other ranchers using similar techniques where you live. We can all play a part in restoring the health of the planet by purchasing our food.

Kurt Jacobson has been a chef for 40 years, and after being educated in the US Coast Guard, he trained in many restaurants with both kind and maniacal chefs. Kurt is entering his seventh year of organic container and raised bed gardening in his garden. For this and other published stories, check out his travel blog, Read all from Kurt NEWS FROM MOTHER EARTH posts here.

In All Flesh Is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Raising, Gene Logsdon explains that well-managed pastures are nutritious and palatable; they are virtual salads for cattle. Deciduous pastures also retain soil, promote biodiversity and create beautiful landscapes. Grassland could be the solution to a stressed farming system based on an industrial model and supported by federal subsidies.

In its clear, conversational style, Logsdon explains historically effective practices and emerging techniques. His warm and informative profiles of successful grass growers are a source of inspiration and ideas. His story is enriched by his own experience as an “opposite farmer” on his cottage farm near Upper Sandusky, Ohio. All flesh is grass will have wide appeal to the sustainable commercial farmer, home food producer and all consumers who care about their food. Order from MOTHER EARTH NEWS STORE or by calling 800-234-3368.

All bloggers in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS community have agreed to follow our blogging guidelines and are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this article, click on his signature link at the top of the page.

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How to buy a cattle ranch in the United States: don’t be moved Fri, 07 Oct 2016 07:00:00 +0000 [ad_1] Jason Spaeth broke the first commandment to buy a ranch when he stumbled upon a 7,000 acre cattle ranch with miles of streams and deer habitat in western Wyoming. “Rule number one is not to get emotional, but I did,” says the retired financial services executive, who paid about $ 10.5 million for the […]]]>


Jason Spaeth broke the first commandment to buy a ranch when he stumbled upon a 7,000 acre cattle ranch with miles of streams and deer habitat in western Wyoming.

“Rule number one is not to get emotional, but I did,” says the retired financial services executive, who paid about $ 10.5 million for the property in June. “I really fell in love with the place.

Spaeth, who lives in Minneapolis, plans to run the property as a cattle ranch and spend summers there with his wife and three sons. But he realizes that it will be difficult to make money in the cow business.

“The family has a real passion for the outdoors,” he says. The goal is not only to create an economically viable ranch, he says, but also to preserve the land.

The dream of owning an iconic Western ranch often doesn’t make financial sense. Ranches are expensive, require constant attention and maintenance, and rarely make money.

“It’s often [a decision] more emotional than financial, ”says Joel Leadbetter, managing director of Hall and Hall, a broker specializing in ranch properties.

The image of the Wild West remains a form of catnip, enticing buyers willing to put logic and good judgment aside to live the cowboy life. Images of famous ranchers, such as actor Harrison Ford, CNN founder Ted Turner and former talk show host David Letterman, straddling the lineup have only increased the appeal for a generation. modern.

Kessler Canyon, Colorado, $ 32.5 million © Tom Reid

Yet even in a good year, a working ranch is a tough way to make money. Any property with more than a few cows typically requires a ranch manager and at least two or three full-time cowboys to manage day-to-day operations. Keeping these cows – and cowboys – fed and happy is expensive. Equipment such as tractors and trailers increase expenses.

In addition, cows are a commodity and prices can fluctuate considerably. Cattle prices have fallen about 30 percent in the past year alone. In addition, disease and drought can devastate a herd.

“It’s a very complicated business,” says Robert Burch, a Philadelphia-based venture capitalist who bought a 9,000-acre ranch in Big Timber, MT in 1998. “It’s really a tough way to go. earn money.”

Burch sees his ranch as a hedge against inflation but, like Spaeth, he did not buy the property as an investment. As a teenager, he worked on a ranch and caught the virus.

Fishing in Kessler Canyon

Fishing at Kessler Canyon © Tom Reid

“I really wanted to be a cowboy,” he says. “I bought it out of passion.

For aspiring cowboys, this might be a good time to buy. With the decline in livestock prices, ranch prices have fallen in recent months. Spaeth paid about 30 percent less than asking price for his property, which had been up for sale for four years.

Ted Turner at his ranch, Red Rock, Montana

Ted Turner at his ranch, Red Rock, MT © Ray King

Mason & Morse promotes a 4,000 acre ranch in Wyoming with cattle ranching, trout fishing and good hunting opportunities, which he describes as the epitome of “all. the qualities sought by today’s trophy ranch investor, for $ 14.5 million.

“There’s a lot of money out there, but a lot of buyers can’t find what they want,” says John Stratman, director of Mason & Morse.

Horses herded together at sunrise in Montana

Horses gathered at sunrise in Montana © Getty

If you are looking for a recreational ranch – perhaps for fishing or hunting – there are plenty of options. A recent Hall and Hall report states that there is “excess inventory at all levels” for recreational ranches. “There hasn’t been a lot of motivation to buy recreational property,” Stratman says. “They’re just sitting there.”

In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a 1,145-acre recreational ranch with stream-fed ponds was originally listed at $ 27.95 million in 2010. It is now priced at $ 16.9 million, according to This year, a 490-acre ranch was listed in the same town for $ 13.2 million via Sotheby’s International Realty.

North Ridge Ranch in Bozeman, MT, $ 5.99 million

North Ridge Ranch in Bozeman, MT, $ 5.99 million © Ryan Day Thompson

Putting an accurate price tag on any type of ranch property is “more art than science,” says Jim Taylor, Hall and Hall partner. It can be difficult to assess the market value of a stream full of trout or the proximity to elk habitat. Irrigated land, proximity to a protected national forest, and a nearby airport can all affect the price.

Hall and Hall sells Miller Lake, a 10,000-acre ranch in Anaconda, MT, for $ 22 million. The same agent is selling a 15,000-acre Kessler Canyon ranch in Colorado for $ 32.5 million. In Bozeman, MT, Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty is selling 640 acres North Ridge Ranch with nine miles of hiking trails and mountain views for $ 5.99 million.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 490 acre ranch, $ 13.2 million

Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 490 acre ranch, $ 13.2 million

“It’s hard to find comparable sales,” says Ken Mirr, owner of Mirr Ranch Group, a Denver-based brokerage.

With a working ranch, experts say, for the numbers to add up, you need a big gap with a big herd.

“What you realize over time is that it’s gaining momentum [to be profitable]says Burch, who has now put his own expanded property up for sale. The Hobble Diamond Ranch, which now totals over 30,000 acres, costs $ 35 million. It includes six miles of frontage on the Yellowstone River and 1 250 acres of irrigated cropland.

North Ridge Ranch has nine miles of hiking trails within its 640 acres

North Ridge Ranch has nine miles of hiking trails within its 640 acres © Ryan Day Thompson

Yet Burch does not leave the ranch. In fact, he’s looking to buy something bigger. “From a lifestyle perspective, it’s great,” he says.

The Hobble diamond has been on the market since the spring and Burch is in no rush to sell it. He expects it will take time to find a buyer.

“It’s very subjective when buying these properties,” he says. “Everyone has their own idea of ​​the perfect. “

Purchase guide

● Many properties are sold with hunting or fishing licenses, which can be valuable assets

● Cattle ranches are often rated by “carrying capacity”, which is the number of cows the land can support.

● Groundwater contamination, flooding and zoning restrictions are some of the issues that can affect a property’s value.

● Public leases for grazing or recreation can help expand the size of a property

● Wyoming, Texas and Nevada are among the income tax free states.

● A young cow raised costs about $ 1,500. An experienced ranch man earns about $ 30,000 per year, plus the cost of housing, utilities, health insurance, and typically one cow per year for meat.

What you can buy for. . .

$ 2 million An undeveloped 35 acre “ranchette” next to a golf course

$ 10 million A 500 acre ranch

$ 25 million A 45,000 acre working cattle ranch with private hunting and fishing rights

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Photographs: Tom Reid; Ray King; Getty Images; Ryan day thompson

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