Hatfield's High Desert Ranch is a 400-cow operation on about 35,000 acres of private and federally leased juniper and sagebrush rangeland in central Oregon. The major economic output is breeding stock and value-added beef marketed through a cooperative to health-food stores in the Pacific Northwest and to Japan. Our cows are viewed as tools to enhance the quality of the grass-the main crop we manage. Prescribed burning is used to reduce sagebrush and juniper and simultaneously to improve watersheds as well as cattle forage. Biodiversity in our eyes is different age classes of trees and brush, different species of plants and native animals, as well as lots of grass on the hills. We realize others see other things on the land as desirable or undesirable. Letting ranchland become "ranchettes" following the hands-off type of management in national parks and wildlife refuges is as disastrous to biodiversity as are poorly managed private and federal grazing lands. Proper grazing management can enhance biodiversity both in terms of the variety of species as well as in the mix of age and vigor classes within species of plants. We spend much of our time at meetings getting other ranchers as well as bureaucrats and city folks to see these possibilities. This is part of our job so that our children might have a future making a living based on livestock at our ranch.
Hatfield, P.D. Doc
"Managing livestock grazing for biodiversity,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 4, Article 11.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol4/iss1/11