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Padlock Ranch, headquartered in Ranchester, WY just won the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Beef Council and the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation's environmental stewardship award. Padlock Ranch was started in 1943 by the Scott family on 3000 acres and has grown into a 500,000 acre operation employing precision farming and rotational grazing in both Wyoming and Montana.

The ranch has three to four eco-systems. All that has to do with elevation and rainfall and so forth. We have some areas that will average 8 inches of precip and some that could reach 18. - Wayne Fahsholtz
The Montana Stockgrowers blog has a brief Q&A with Padlock Ranch manager Wayne Fahsholtz.
The Padlock Ranch is a great example of how a beef cattle business and the western landscape can co-exist…how can other ranches follow this lead?
One of the things that I have tried to do is to be transparent about how we operate. Over 95% of our population is far removed from production agriculture. We need to be creative in the ways we communicate and educate this population. So, I would urge ranchers to share their stories and ranches with others around them that may not understand about agriculture.
More interesting is the accompanying video.

It details a number of key practices and projects. The most impressive were the reclamation of 450 acres of old mining ground into productive pasture and the clean up and re-direction of the Tongue River. They removed embankments that had been built out of tires and old cars from the river and replaced them with more nature features to steer the river. They have fenced off stream banks to keep out the cattle and curb erosion and improve water quality.

The farming operation includes corn, small grains and alfafa for the winter feed.

It's really worth taking five minutes to watch the video. It's an impressive operation.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If I'm remembering right Ranchester is on the E (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marc brazeau, chimene

    of the bighorns up past Sheridan. Pretty dry country. They must have pretty good water rights on that river.

    Some of the shots on the video are the kind of thing westerners suck up like water. No not the hats, I'm talking grass. It's probably irrigated bottom land.

    A lot of ranches actually are fun very well for long term sustainability. With careful stewardship beef can be raised in pretty dry climes and actually the land ends up supporting more wildlife and a greater diversity of plant species than it would if nothing was done.

    Good to see a post shining a favorable light on ranchers.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:59:07 PM PDT

    •  Oh, another specialized hunting situation, where (0+ / 0-)

      big money hunters go to pay for hunting experiences that used to be available to the local folks.

      http://billingsgazette.com/...

      Who knew?

      Yeah, I guess that we can save just about any place. As long as we're willing to sell it to the highest bidders!

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  backwards (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marc brazeau

        Hunting was always available to Benton exclusively, (outfitter).

        FWP didn't charge him because he wasn't acting to harass a hunter, they both thought it a private road. Montana fined him because he's a Wyoming outfitter and they were Montana hunters.

        So actually the land is now available to the public via the newly discovered ROW where as it used to be locked up.

        “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

        by ban nock on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:06:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Locked up with a Padlock, is how I read it n/t (0+ / 0-)

          There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

          by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:43:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I realize that access rules are hard to understand (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            marc brazeau

            for folks not familiar with the issue. In this case both parties were working with incomplete information. Fish and Game sorted it out as best they could and it sounds like they came down pretty fair.

            Most don't wear black or white hats but rather gray.

            “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

            by ban nock on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:18:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What gray? A multimillion dollar commercial (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sharon Wraight

              enterprise blocked a public right of way across it's land, blocking the regular hunters from accessing 640 acres of open hunting publicly owned lands. Out and out profiteering for the benefit of the more well to do at the detriment of those common folks like you always claim to be.

              There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

              by oldpotsmuggler on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:28:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Slick promotional video. Really slick. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    i saw an old tree today

    And 450 acres, out of what, 500,000, that were "gratutitously" removed from Superfund status at government expense?

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:37:38 PM PDT

    •  If that 450 acres was a small organic farm, (0+ / 0-)

      Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman would be featuring it in the New York Times. I'm not sure why the effort should be discounted because it's part of a larger operation. In fact to have the owners of a half million acre operation commit to sustainability is a far bigger deal than any thing Joel Salatin has accomplished, even if his methods are intensively superior.

  •  I'm glad I tagged Montana and Wyoming (0+ / 0-)

    into the diary. It's always interesting to hear how the issues look a little closer to the ground.

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