the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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the story of the texas xit ranch

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XIT Cowboys

In the 1880s, the XIT ranch was the largest range in the world under fence and it all laid in the Texas Panhandle. It’s three million acres sprawled across ten counties in Texas. The state of Texas, the biggest state in the union, used the sale of the ranch to pay for it’s red granite capitol, still the largest state capitol on the North American Continent. The Austin structure still houses the Lone Star state government more than a century later, and is second in size only to the capitol building at Washington, D.C.

The story of the ranch is fascinating and the museum brings history to life. If you don’t get a chance to visit the museum you can read more about that history HERE.


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(some more) awesome western ranch apprenticeships

photo credit – Dustin Blakey

The New Agrarian Program at Quivira Coalition has some more really great apprenticeship openings in California and Colorado.

All the details below:

 

Cobblestone Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Chico, California Continue reading


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holy, moly, 2017 ranch apprenticeships!

photo credit – Lars Plougmann

Great news! We found a couple exceptional ranching apprenticeship opportunities with The Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program. The organization is seeking some eager greenhorns for several 2017 positions on ranches out west.

The New Agrarian Program offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture through partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community. In particular, this program aims to build resilience on Western lands by training the next generation of stewards in agricultural best practices, and by training ranchers and farmers to be mentors.

Our apprenticeship program works closely with carefully selected rancher and farmer mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and who are natural teachers for young agrarians.

There are still 4 positions open!

Inline image 1Brett Gray Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Rush, CORound River Resource Management, LLC is a land resource and livestock management company dedicated to restoring and improving agricultural operations through the principles of Holistic ManagementTM in a sustainable manner and consistent with the goals of the resource owner.The name Round River is derived from the metaphorical river described by Aldo Leopold that flows endlessly into itself, circling around and around in a never ending circuit that symbolizes the current of life. Leopold’s illustration describes the manner in which energy streams from the soil into plants, then into animals and finally back into the soil in a continuous circuit of life. Round River Resource Management was founded in 2008 to manage the Brett Gray Ranch and other agricultural enterprises following the principles of Holistic ManagementTM and to provide educational and business opportunities that help young, innovative people enter the ranching business.Start Date: Flexible start date.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Louis Martin at louis@roundriver.biz.

Cobblestone Ranch

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Chico, CAThe Cobblestone Ranch is a sheep operation based on private property and on federal wildlife refuge lands managed specifically for wildlife habitat. Breanna Owens runs approximately two hundred ewes (with expansion plans over the next few years to increase to five hundred ewes). She uses a rotational grazing strategy on the refuge with the overall goal of maintaining and enhancing wildlife habitat and specific goals of reducing thatch, shrub and weed control, and stimulating new herbaceous growth. She moves the sheep one to two times a week, in paddocks ranging from one to five acres depending on seasonality and management objectives. Owens sells lambs as grass-fed and -finished either as feeder lambs to a direct marketer or as finished lambs to a regional processor. She plans on transitioning a portion of the flock to organic and selling through a regional CSA.Start Date: Flexible start date.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Bre Owens at breowens5@gmail.com.

James Ranch Artisan Cheese

Eight-Month Dairy and Cheesemaking Apprenticeship in Durango, COJames Ranch Artisan Cheese manages a small herd of Jersey cows for the production of raw milk and small-batch cheeses in the beautiful Animas Valley near Durango, Colorado. Operated by Dan and Becca James, James Ranch Artisan Cheese is one of several family-run enterprises on the larger James Ranch. This dairy and cheesemaking apprenticeship offers professional training for aspiring agrarians committed to a life and career at the intersection of conservation, sustainable agriculture, and artisan foods. The apprenticeship includes hands-on experience with all aspects of dairy operation and cheese production, including low-stress animal handling, milking, cheese making, affinage, biological monitoring, marketing, financial planning, Holistic Management, and land stewardship.Start Date: Before April 1.
TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Dan and Becca James at cheese@jamesranch.net.

Vilicus Farms

Eight-Month Grain Farming Apprenticeship in Havre, MTVilicus Farms is a first generation, nationally recognized organic, dryland crop farm located in northern Hill County, Montana. Established in 2009, Vilicus Farms grows a diverse array of heirloom and specialty grains, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops within a 5+year rotation on approximately 5,000 acres. Vilicus Farms practices advanced land stewardship at a scale that matters. The Vilicus Farms Apprenticeship is intended to be a multi-season training and mentoring program that immerses highly motivated young professionals in organic farm operation and management – a journey that ultimately ends in farm ownership. Doug and Anna understand the challenges of taking a farm from vision to reality. Through the Vilicus Farms apprenticeship program they hope to give beginning farmers a real opportunity to start a successful organic dryland crop farm in the Northern Great Plains.Start Date: Before April 1.

TO APPLY: Please email a resume and letter of interest to Anna Crabtree-ones at anna@vilicusfarms.com.


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show the country that farmer’s count!

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Greenhorns! It’s no secret that the National Young Farmers Coalition goes to Herculean efforts for young farmers across the country, from fighting lobbyists from big ag to make sure the farm bill addresses the needs of small farmers to advocating their chaps off for farmer student loan forgiveness programs. Now, it’s time to help them help you!

This year, like they do every five years, NYFC conducts their National Young Farmers survey in order to understand and elevate the issues that matter most to young farmers and aspiring farmers. The result of this survey help to define the organization’s policy goals and agenda. Since they launched the survey website a couple of weeks ago, a couple of thousand farmers have taken the survey, but they still need 3,000 more respondents to reach their goal of 5,000. Let’s go!

Young farmers and ranchers – what are the issues that matter most to you? What policy changes could help your business succeed? Take the National Young Farmers Survey today and let the nation know that FarmersCount! www.youngfarmers.org/survey


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quivira coalition seeks coordinator for their beloved new agrarian program

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Photo from the Quivira Coalition.

The Quivira Coalition, a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience by fostering ecological, economic and social health on Western landscapes, seeks a coordinator for their New Agrarian Program (NAP). Now, we can’t even tell you how awesome the Quivira coalition is in less than 500 words, so we’ll just like to some of the other times we’ve told you, like here, and here, and here, to name a few. Or just take our word for it. They’re hiring for a part-time coordinator, a position that requires living in sunny Santa Fe, and which offers excellent benefits.
Full position description below!

NAP offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture in partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community in the West. It aims to provide the next generation of food producers with hands-on, on-the-ground mentoring from seasoned mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and are skilled and dedicated teachers. Continue reading


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ranch management school

ranch management

photo: Samuel Oslund

Whatever it was that called you to farming – political, environmental, social, or your love of nature – one thing we often overlook as new farmers is the complex realities of running profitable businesses. It only takes a season to realize that the margins of profit in agriculture are small. As producers seeking to work in more environmental and socially focused ways the revenue versus expenses lines in your budget are pretty hard to balance when you factor in fair wages and ecologically sound inputs. Continue reading


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this badass lady runs a cattle company and writes wonderful essays

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Every other Tuesday, High Country News‘s Laura Jean Schneider publishes a new essay on her experience as new cattle rancher in New Mexico. In her pieces, we’ve found the most compassionate and insightful commentary on the Malheur Occupation to date, well-articulated thoughts on “The Era of the Landless Agrarian,” and scores of compelling personal insights. Schneider and her husband are in the first year of managing their ranch, Triangle P Cattle Company.

Looking to catch up on the series?? Start right here with the first one.