“With a good lead animal in front, cattle are happy to follow one another” said one new generation cattle rancher in New Mexico. Keeping the cattle calm doesn’t always make it easier but it boosts their reproductive performance and weight gain. Using their horses instead of ATV’s or pickups is very common in the new generation cattle ranchers for several reasons with one being the only access to get certain places to herd. Also, many horses respond to body language, which stock dogs understand, the key to paying attention and developing a feel. Everyday these ranchers use their horsemanship to develop a healthy herd; they learn their cattle’s personalities while connecting with the land.
It’s a lot of hard work which many of the grand-kids of family owned ranches do not want to ranch today. They know they are next in line to inherit the land, in which, they plan to break up the land into lots and sell them individually for triple the money and have the land developed. So the old timers who have built these lands and raised cattle for generations are stunned. So in many cases, is what is happening is that men are leaving the animal agriculture for less gritty work and we see more female run ranches with new ideas about technology and the granddaughters being taught family traits to carry on. Women are leading the trend of sustainable ranching and raising grass-fed breeds of cattle. Going through a transition of the ranch from one generation to the next is one of the toughest hurdles a family will face.
There are so many things to consider for new generation cattle ranchers, unless the land has been in the family for generations, the land prices are crazy and I don’t think anyone in America is buying a ranch and paying for it by running cattle. Another thing to consider is political change; there has been a change in urban and rural populations. This will result in higher regulations of ranching activities. New generation cattle ranchers should plan accordingly.
Whether it’s difficult, female or male, switching ownership within the family whatever the case may be for generations to come we need our cattle ranchers……………..For the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Director/Designer of Roadside Gallery
Debbi Fadli has lived in Carbondale, Colorado for 20 years after raising her two beautiful children in Morocco. She has a passion for fine art photography and for the past 7 years, besides doing sales, being chief marketer, she also has taken the work of photographer Martin Garfinkel and designs an astonishing range of fine art photo merchandise.