This Regenerative Rancher Manages for Grass

This piece was first published in November of 1962 in "Soil Conservation," the monthly magazine of the Soil Conservation Service. It was written by Albert P. Thatcher and Brent J. Harrison, range conservationists with the Soil Conservation Service (today’s NRCS) in Casper and Gillette, Wyoming respectively. As you'll notice, the practices of the rancher described in this article are similar to practices we advocate today as regenerative grazing. It's an interesting reminder that sometimes what's new is old. I added information about wheat production and crested wheatgrass to help us compare this rancher's results from 60 years ago to what we’re doing today. Don't miss the close-up of Mr. Simpson at the end of this article. Wyoming rancher John H. Simpson uses conservation management to take the gamble out of his 11,000-acre ranch operation in the Intermountain Soil and Water Conservation District. "I feel that grass management should be placed on an equal basis with livestock management,” he said. "I just watch the grass, and when it is used to about 50 percent, the livestock is moved.” Simpson’s native pasture early in the spring of 1961 had plenty of grass remaining after dry 1960. Simpson also gives his pasture a chance to rest during the growing season once every few year

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5 thoughts on “This Regenerative Rancher Manages for Grass

  1. I am his grandson and the ranch is now known as Kohns Ranch LP, after the family who homesteaded or owned it originally ( Mickey Kohns). I am following his practices and legacy to this day, and was thrilled to have found this article. My mother, KayRene Jones is Jack’s daughter, the next youngest after Loren and Hilda Ann, and she and my father Leroy have been here on the ranch since the early 1970’s.

    1. Hello Howard!
      I am so happy to meet you! I tried to find what had happened to the ranch. I’m so glad that you are there and continuing the work!

      1. Thank you for sharing this information about my dad. I am Lois Simpson Schlup and the youngest child of John H. and Hilda Simpson. My husband and I have continued on his legacy by caring for the land that he homesteaded. His daughter Cheri and her husband George Faris DVM have continued caring for and continuing conservation practices on the property where he was born and raised. All of his living children are involved in agriculture.

      2. Thank you for sharing this information on my dad. I am the youngest daughter of John H. and Hilda Simpson. I now own the land that my dad homesteaded. My husband and I continue to be stewards of that land and carry on his grazing practices. My other sister, Cheri and her husband George Faris DVM now own and continue his conservation vison on the land where our dad was born and raised. All of their living children are involved in Agriculture.

  2. Thank you for this inspiring piece. As I read along, I found myself thinking about how neat it would have been to have Mr. Simpson for a neighbor or an uncle. What an opportunity to learn! On the other hand, I’m betting the reality was that few of his practices were adopted by other folks during his time. After all, they certainly thought he was crazy.

    The most poignant piece for me was his philosophy of paying attention to plant life rather than livestock. This suggests an inherent, fundamental understanding of ecology and long-term outcomes. We should take a lesson here.

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