Jared Wareham: One Dirt Road At A Time

Miller and Lux cowboys, Cuyama, Calif., circa. 1908
Miller and Lux cowboys, Cuyama, Calif., circa. 1908
(Prewett Ranch Family)

My friends often ask, “In your travels, have you discovered the best places to ranch or most advantageous?” This topic presents a fun change of pace. Therefore, this is dedicated to all my amigos industry-wide.  I have only practiced beef production on the edge of the fescue belt in west- central Missouri.

What I lack in knowledge of the innate operational efficiencies that exist coast to coast, I more than make up for in super beef nerd spirit. Therefore, this month’s column will be more of a “favorite ranching areas.” 

One of my favorite places to work has to be California. Few are aware of the rich history this state has in the cattle industry, as well as, its large ranches and old-school attitude. From the coastal ranges that were once home to Henry Miller’s vast cattle empire across the valley to the Sierras, you will  experience an unmatched diversity of agriculture production. And what’s not to like about  Montana? From her rugged mountains

to rolling grasslands interceded by giant fields of barley, it’s hard not to get nostalgic as you gaze upon ranges filled with big bellied mamas raising scale-bustin’ calves. The environmental aesthetics combined with high-quality cattle make it a clear top pick. Few stretches of blacktop make me turn the music up and roll my windows down like the drive from Murdo, S.D., to Valentine, Neb., though.

Every time I drop south, I think to myself: If I was a cow, this is where I’d want to live. Mile after mile of rolling grasslands as far as the eye can see that disappear deep into the heart of the Sandhills.

If you’re looking for the absolute best stocker country in our solar system, the journey you seek lies across north-central Oklahoma and southern Kansas. From the Cobbs and the Redbird Ranches in Oklahoma, to the Greenleaf in Kansas, you’ll wish you were horseback for every single inch. John Denver had me at Blue Ridge Mountains. Nestled in the heart of Appalachia, this region is well-known for turning out some of the greenest, hardiest yearlings anywhere. If you happen through, grab yourself some Dip Dog and head over Hungry Mother pass for a view that would draw remark from any saddle bound hand.

From Oregon and Idaho’s high deserts to the manicured acres of Kentucky, not being fenced in has made me appreciate the bounty of uniqueness our industry has to offer. Next time you have an opportunity to travel, do yourself a favor. Take a few detours and discover this for yourself, one dirt road at a time.

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