Ron Goddard, Cinch Buckle Ranch, Broadus, Montana
My wife Kathleen and I were introduced to the HM model in 1985 on the Mountain Island Ranch in Colorado and attended our first HM school in Albuquerque in 1987. Since then I have struggled to practice HM on ranches I have worked on, managed and leased with varying levels of cooperation from bosses and owners. When I was approached about the Grasslands project I jumped at the opportunity to work with the people who invented what I have been trying to do for so long.
Our operational challenges have been jumping headlong into a new situation, learning the ground, running multiple herds, slowly acquiring the tools needed to manage the cattle, sharing facilities w/the previous owners' crew, having a boss once again and from March to June almost commuting the 267 miles from here to the ranch in S. Central Montana where my family was living and taking care of another herd of cattle.
On another level it has been and will continue to be a struggle to adjust to living so far from our two older children and most of our closest friends. The remoteness and frequently very difficult access to/from this ranch sometimes weighs heavily. It is hard for my wife, Kathleen, to get motivated (once again...I have moved her many times in the past 25 years) to make a home of a house and grounds that have been run down and neglected for so long. She and I both came west (I in my teens and she in her 20's) to live in the mountains and while we recognize the benefits of running cattle on the plains we also miss the rocks and pines.
Many, but by no means all, ranchers have by now heard of Allan Savory and HM but it is still more common to hear all the reasons why "it won't work here" than to hear genuine interest in what we're doing. While I have seen a gradual acceptance of some of the tenets of HM over the last quarter century I have come to believe that radical change is unlikely. My hope is that my kids and other youth who have grown up seeing and hearing about better ways to live will be able to make what is now rare into the commonplace. I seldom try anymore to convince those of my generation that we know what we're doing. The Grasslands Project seems to me an excellent way to show our neighbors (and their kids) what we do and that ranching actually can produce not only "a pleasant life in the country"...as Allan Nation puts it, but can also produce the wherewithal to enjoy other things that life has to offer besides hard work outdoors.
The Grasslands Ranchers Share Their Stories