Colorado Ranching Legacy Fellows
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, The Nature Conservancy, and the Western Center for Integrated Resource Management have teamed up to create a program that equips ranchers to be innovative leaders in land management and conservation. Four qualified young and beginning ranchers have gone through a rigorous selection process, and they started the two-year program in fall 2009.
The WCIRM program provides the coursework for the Ranching Legacy Fellows to visit a graduate level classroom and get some intensive instruction in areas where they want to grow. The Ranching Legacy Fellows also have the option of taking IRM classes via our distance education program.
The Fellows also participate in at least six modules designed to educate them about topics such as ranch management and conservation, issues facing the cattle industry, beef production, innovative ranch business models, and accessing agency resources and will also expose them to successful ranchers and operations. Fellows will also receive targeted mentorship to assist them with a capstone project: the creation of a proposal for achieving their goal, including comprehensive business and land management plans for a viable ranching operation. Upon graduation, Fellows will be capable of marketing themselves as land managers who can effectively and profitably manage from both a ranching and conservation point of view.
Current Colorado Ranching Legacy Program Fellows
Tyler Karney comes to us with a BS in Agribusiness from Texas A&M. He was raised in agriculture and dreams of one day owning his own cattle ranch. As assistant manager of his family’s ranch, he's no stranger to hard work - cutting 2500 cedar posts and building ten miles of wire fence in one season. Tyler currently works as assistant manager for Ordway Cattle Feeders and finds time for professional rodeo and auctioneering. He considers himself a steward of the land.
Nathan Andrews recently attended The Ranching for Profit School and comes to us with a zest for lifelong learning. He became a full partner in his family operation after completing high school. He is the owner of Andrews Genetics and built a purebred Angus cow herd from initial purchase of six heifers to its current size of 75 head. Nathan is a charter member of the Three Rivers Alliance, a member of the Shortgrass Prairie Partnership, and the Hale Fire and Rescue Department.
Tonya Merz has a degree in Agricultural Business from Colorado State University. She currently works for the USDA as an Agricultural Commodity Grader. She has been president of "Future Farmers of America" as well the 4-H program. Tonya was raised on a 160-acre farm in Fort Lupton which was farmed in a very traditional way. Her parents still farm the ranch, which now produces hay; while making the majority of their living on the homestead raising game birds. Tonya's hope is to develop a plan for her family to own a working cattle ranch and pairing it with niche markets to ensure profitability.
Clayton Beaman attended classes at NMSU in Wildlife Science and at Otero College in Ranch Management. He was a cooperative producer for Kit Pharo and used to own his own ranch. He currently works as ranch hand for Evans’ Cattle Company. Clayton's goal is to raise his three young daughters on a ranch he successfully manages. All three of his daughters are involved in 4-H now and show steers, horses, pigs, and sheep. Clayton hopes to continue teaching them by instilling the values of good stewardship of the land and open spaces.