ranching

Quentin Hope

After getting pummeled by drought and low cattle prices, many ranchers across the Midwest are eager to grow their herds. As they do, grass is turning into a hot commodity.

winterlivestock.com

Many Colorado cattle ranchers are beginning to recover from the drought, but for many the rain is too little and too late.

"Beef checkoff" is a national program that funds beef promotion and research. Texas ranchers recently voted in favor of increasing participation in the program by an overwhelming majority.

USDA: Prairie Heating and Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (PHACE) Experiment

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now: It will likely be warmer and the air will be richer with carbon dioxide. Though scientists don’t yet know how exactly the climate will change, new studies show it could be a boon to some invasive plant species.  

A growing problem

Matthew Starver / nytimes.com

The National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, has been a diamond in the crown of cowboy life for over 100 years.  It also is a reflection of the way life is changing at home on the range.  

Greg Kramos/USFWS

Landowners in Texas tend to be skeptical of more government involvement when it comes to protecting the lesser prairie chicken, a rare bird inhabiting the portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, according to an article in The Texas Tribune.

Frank Morris/Harvest Public Media

I met Nate Pike working on a story back in 2012. When I dropped back by his ranch 30 miles south of Dodge City, KS, this summer, he took me on a bumpy pickup ride to see a spring called St. Jacob’s Well and we got to talking about the former owner of some of his ranchland.

Pike has been out on his ranch for a while and he told me the former owner started ranching in western Kansas before 1900.

“He was a fine old gentleman and one of the toughest old men I ever knew,” Pike told me, his gravelly voice carrying over the pickup truck’s rambles.

Matthew Staver for The New York Times

Prescott Frost, the great grandson of poet Robert Frost, is a maverick who sees the Sandhills of Nebraska as the Napa Valley of ranchland.  On his 7,000 acre ranch there he’s dedicated himself to raising and marketing his own brand of artisanal beef, as detailed in a New York Times profile by Kathryn Shattuck.