The Role of Ranching
It all starts with family
The ranch is where all beef cattle are born and raised, and the first stop in our ranch-to-table story. More than 90% of ranches are family-owned and operated, with an average herd size of 40 head. The personal care and attention these families pay to their herds is critical to our ultimate goal of producing exceptional beef.
It’s also critical to our nation’s food supply. Livestock grazing is the primary use of an estimated 587 million acres of permanent grassland, pasture, and rangeland in the United States. Most of this land isn’t suitable for growing crops. By using it for grazing, ranchers effectively double the land area that can be used to produce food.
Calving Time: Long days, sleepless nights
In the Northwest, a majority of our calves are born on the ranch during a three-month period in late winter to early spring. This is a very busy time, with many ranchers sacrificing hours of sleep, checking cows throughout the night to ensure all the calves are born safely. These calves will grow on their mother’s milk and rangeland grasses. Most beef cattle, even those finished on grain, spend most of their lives grazing on grass.
Weaning to Feeding: Improving the herd
Calves are carefully weaned from their mothers at 7-10 months. Most cow-calf ranches sell the steer (male) calves. Most steers go to small grow yards or are turned out on grass for several months before a slow transition to a grain-based diet for finishing. Ranchers choose the best females (heifers) to keep in their herds to continually improve the quality of their cattle and the beef they produce. The remaining heifers may be sold to other ranches for breeding purposes or sold off like the steers. Agri Beef purchases a large majority of our cattle for our supply chain at this point in the beef lifecycle.
Our Ranchers: Living out our values
Agri Beef searches out producers who embrace our goal of raising the highest quality cattle, with a strong commitment to animal well-being, land stewardship, and their communities. We purchase from over 1,000 family ranching operations, many on the trust of a handshake. These families are the backbone of hundreds of western rural communities that, without cattle ranching, would cease to exist. We take great pride in preserving the iconic heritage and traditions of ranching.
Learn more about the next step in the ranch-to-table process, cattle feeding.
Spotlight: The Double R Ranch
Collaborating for healthier rangeland
Agri Beef’s Double R Ranch in Loomis, WA, carries with it over a century of ranching tradition, and since purchasing the property in 2007, we have worked hard to keep the ranch thriving and prosperous. It currently consists of over 70,000 acres of private and public lands (BLM and Forest Service).
Kent and Lana Clark manage the ranch and the over 1,200 cows in three herds that graze here. The large majority of the cattle, approximately 800, make up the commercial cow-calf herd. The cows are primarily Angus based and predominantly bred to Charolais bulls. The other two herds are purebred Angus and Wagyu cattle.
Their implementation of a rotational grazing system encourages the growth of native grasses and promotes habitat so wildlife and cattle can exist harmoniously. In 2016, Kent Clark received the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Region 2 Landowner of the Year Award for his partnership with the Department in their study and preservation of the Kokanee fish.