This week, let’s take a virtual Pasture Walk to the Flying Diamond Ranch in Kit Carson, Colorado. Even through drought and challenging economic times, this ranch is expanding, and making room for the next generation. It’s why the ranch was Colorado’s 2015 Leopold Conservation Award winner.
The Flying Diamond Ranch has been home to the Johnson family for five generations. Until about 30 years ago, the ranch was managed traditionally. Cattle grazed 1500 acre pastures for 6 months a year. But after Scott Johnson went to a seminar presented by Alan Savory and learned about what was then called “Holistic Resource Management” he began making changes. Now pastures are about 300 acres, and cattle only spend about 10 to 20 days a year on them. In the video Scott shows his “wagon-wheel” pasture set up, with water in the center and 8 pastures radiating out, making it easy to throw open a gate and move the cattle to the next pasture.
Drought management has been the driving force for the last 15 years at the ranch. Scott’s son, Will, says that part of their success in making it through is a result of the grass monitoring system developed with the help of the NRCS and their Conservation Stewardship program.
Scott says conservation is also part of the ranch’s success. “The wildlife benefit greatly from the water that is more evenly spread around. The grasses are better by all the rest they’re receiving by us keeping the cattle away 95% of the year.” Now they have turkeys, the quail are a lot more abundant, there are a lot more and deer, and the cattle are healthier too.
The result is that parents there is room on the ranch for their four children and spouses to join the operation. Scott says, “We’re expanding our ranch dramatically. They’re excited about the future. We’re excited about the future. I just think the future is bright for the operation. We’ll do a better job of managing the cattle, the natural resources and the people. I just think it keeps getting better and better.”
We hope you’ll enjoy the Pasture Walk. We’d love to hear what you learn from it!