Farmers and Ranchers Care

Stories about REAL Montana Farmers and Ranchers and how they care for their animals

Congratulations, you’ve found your source for information about farms and ranches in Montana! Find out how the food you eat is made by the people actually making it and learn how the farmers and ranchers are protecting your environment.


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July 31st, 2013: Montana Farm Bureau Summer Animal Care Billboards

Look for the animal care campaign billboards at the following locations:  I-90 near Billings and Greycliff; Highway 191 south of  Four Corners and Euclid Street in Helena. They feature Farm Bureau members with their livestock.

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May 18th, 2012: We grow healthy animals for healthy families

Casey Mott is no stranger to ranching, having been raised on a ranch in northeastern Utah. After college, he worked for a several large ranches, including the PK, The Padlock and Sunlight Ranch. Several years ago, Casey and his wife were able to buy land and start their own ranch in Custer, Montana, 55 miles east of Billings. They call their ranch the Nomad Cattle Company.

Mott says that his calling in life is to work cows. He loves the lifestyle, and especially working with the cattle and horses. (The Nomad Cattle Company uses horses for all of the ranch work, except feeding cattle during the winter which is done with a tractor.) The way his ranch operates is to have cattle on the ranch in the winter and for calving, and then ship them (haul them in specially designed cattle trailers pulled by semi-trucks) to summer pasture for six months, May 1 until October 1.

“Ranchers are grass managers,” Mott explains. “We don’t have enough grass in Custer to feed our cattle here all year and keep the land productive. In the winter, generally starting in December, we start feeding hay to the pregnant cows, or “heavies” as we call them. Our first-calf heifers (two year old female cattle who have never calved before) begin calving (calving is a term that describes “giving birth” or “parturition” in the bovine species) in early February, and our cows (three-year-old or older female cattle who have calved in previous years) begin calving in early March and end in late April. A lot of our time is spent checking the heifers and cows to make sure they are okay when giving birth; and when he is born, we give the calf a vaccination so he doesn’t get sick, just like people make sure their kids are vaccinated so they don’t get sick. We also give the calf an ear tag with his mom’s tag number so we know he belongs to her. That way if they get separated, we can help them get back together. In April, we brand our calves and in early May, we load them on a cattle truck that my brother owns, and start shipping the calves and their moms to summer pasture about 50 miles east of us. We put the bulls out with the cows the third week of May, and take the bulls out the third week of July. The cows and calves spend all summer on our summer lease pasture. In mid-October, we do what’s called pre-conditioning, which means the calves get another vaccination to make sure they stay healthy when they are weaned from the cows. Keeping our animals healthy is a top priority. We generally wean the last weekend of October (Halloween! HalloWEAN!) . The steer calves (castrated males) go to the sale in Miles City, and we select some of the heifers, or young females, to grow our herd. We keep them, and they will be bred when they’re a little more than a year old. They will have their first calf at two-years-old. We bring all of the mother cows home to our ranch in Custer and the cycle starts all over again.”

“That’s what so great about agriculture. It’s just a big cycle. The seasons play such a significant role in your life.”


May 18th, 2012: Caring for our silent partners

Hello to all of you from the Hayhook Ranch, located in the Shields Valley, north of Livingston, MT. Pehr and Gail Anderson started the Hayhook Ranch and now ranch it with myself, Sky, and my brother Shiell Anderson. We are proud of our choice of livelihood and the career of ranching. Being ranchers, we are caretakers of the livestock and as farmers, we are caretakers of the land. WE CARE FOR OUR SILENT PARTNERS!

We were all born nurturers, not only to our own families and children, but to the livestock and the land too. We have the opportunity to raise our kids in the way that teaches them responsibility, respect, with integrity and character. We teach them how and what to do in possible dangerous situations. These kids are around ranch work from the time they can get in a backpack on Mom’s back or in the play pen outside of the corrals while we are working cattle. They are taught the values of taking good care of the cattle and the land. With that comes the work ethic that employers are looking for today and pride of being able to be a partner in a productive agricultural business that feeds America and other parts of the world.

Our silent partners, (our kids and the animals we raise) need us as parents to be responsible for their healthy upbringing, protecting them from sickness and disease. We teach our kids to make good, healthy food choices and eating habits and that quality of life is worth something.

We make decisions, like if our children should be vaccinated or not, to help prevent some of the diseases that are out there. We do the same for our cattle, to prevent them from getting illness and disease and treat them accordingly for any sickness that may keep them from becoming a high quality product for our consumers.

We make sure that our kids are eating a rich in nutrient diet, vitamins and minerals for growing strong bones and muscles, to help them have a long and healthy life. We want the cattle to have a healthy quality diet too so we can produce the highest quality of beef, high in protein, and nutrients such as iron that help make the people who end up eating the meat healthy too. We supplement our cattle with minerals and salt after obtaining knowledge of what our soil and feed have in it so they can have a healthy diet.

We find out what is needed in order for the cows to have a higher fertility rate and healthy calves…just like we give our children extra vitamins and mineral if they can’t get a good balanced diet.

We protect our children from the hazards of farming and ranching, just like the urban people protect their children from the different hazards that are in the city. It’s what you grow up with in your environment; it’s what you teach them for the different circumstances that should pop up. We train our children the safe and correct way to do things with each individual task just as they are trained in any job they are about to tackle in any geographical area and lifestyle they choose.

We protect our cattle from the hazards of living in the wild on private property, by fighting for our private property rights. We are accountable for our livestock by keeping the fences up and intact the best we can. Wolves, free-roaming bison and elk pose a real threat to Montana ranchers and we fight for our property rights in order to keep our own cattle from being exposed to diseases such as brucellosis, which bison and elk carry.

If we had the opportunity to choose again what our lifestyle and what we instill into our children would be, we would not change a thing! We are proud of whom they have become, and they work hard and believe that what they do is for the betterment of other people.


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