Enviromental Stewardship

At Running M Ranch we believe in doing everything possible to be good stewards of the land we manage.  Our goal is to leave the land to our children and grandchildren in better condition than when we received it.  We believe in this so much that we joined the Colorado Cattleman’s Association where we sit on the Environmental Stewardship Committee to help educate other farmers and ranchers about how to implement the best environmental practices.  Here are a few examples of what we do at Running M Ranch.

Grazing is the primary food source of cattle and as such we must maintain and improve the native grasses and pastures.  Some have even stated that ranchers are just grass farmers that use cattle to harvest the crop.  At Running M Ranch we have implemented a Grazing Plan that promotes native grass growth and that is sustainable even under drought conditions.  We have implemented several successful strategies to control non-native and noxious weeds that were prevalent when we purchased the Ranch.  These strategies include total rejuvenation by completely reseeding some pastures.  Finally, in our grazing and improvement efforts we have implemented brush control methods.  These methods have helped to reduce fuel load and fire hazards while maintaining the native forbs that are the mainstay of the local deer, elk and antelope, thus leading to an observable increase in the Ranch's wildlife population. 

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At Running M Ranch we also have a small farming operation that produces winter grazing forage and hay.  We take every effort to implement the best possible farming practices such as the use of no-till farming.  This practice reduces the number of passes over the field with heavy equipment thus minimizing fossil fuel consumption and reducing air pollution.  No-Till farming also conserves soil moisture which drastically reduces the chances of top soil erosion.  When we fertilize we use mostly organic fertilizers and time the application according to seasonality and weather to avoid nitrogen volitazation and leaching.    Finally, we plant forage crops that have a symbiotic relationship with native plants and wildlife.  In fact, we often see the native deer and elk grazing along side our cattle in the winter months on pastures that we cultivate. 

In addition to grazing and feeding the cultivated forage we produce, we often have to supplement the cattle’s diets for optimum nutrition.  When we do supplement our feed we try to use products that are NOT able to be utilized directly by humans.  The current ethanol debate of “Food vs. Fuel” is vital.  We believe over time technology will allow for both food and fuel, however, for now we will do our part to not use any human consumable product as a feed source for our cattle.  Instead we try to use the co-products such as distiller’s grains, cotton seed meal and soybean meal.  These products are the remaining products after the oil (for food or fuel) is extracted.  They are valuable to use as a source of nutrition for cattle without having an impact on human food or fuel.  Also, by utilizing the co-products we are supporting our local ethanol plants and the industry at large.

farming

At Running M Ranch we have implemented a farm alternative energy program.  We have recently switched from electric powered fencing and water heating systems for our cattle to solar power.  This has reduced our winter energy consumption by ~50%.  This effort has been so successful we are planning to expand the program to include other areas of the Ranch.