At Howard ranch we are a fourth generation ranch family from Idaho.
Our particular ranch family at the moment includes Bob and Pam Howard, Spencer and Jessica Oldham and children Grady, Brinley and Spade.
With partner employees Elias and Laura Gonzales and Children T.J. and Riley, Hugo and Pattie V with children Cassie, Lupita and Oscar and Johnny Sirlin.
These are all intricate pieces in the puzzle to operate Howard Ranch. Bob and Pam also have three grown sons who have families and jobs of their own; Nathan, Heather and children (Heather is Desert Mountain bookkeeper), Will, Traci and children (Traci, Desert Mountain office manager) and son Seth, Carin and children (Carin, Desert Mountain on call physician assistant.)
We winter in the small town of Hammett Idaho and summer in the mountains of Southwest Idaho from Midvale, Cambridge, Lakefork to Cascade. The reason for all of the locations is about climate and what’s best for the cattle, people and to use our environment to the best our ability.
Cattle prosper in climates from 40 to 80 degrees so one of our goals is keep as many cattle as we can in this range. We have cows and bulls to raise our end product from.
The Cows are bred from May 10th to July and start calving on or about Feb 20th to fit our particular environments. The summer grazing ground is coming into its strongest time in May for cows to cycle, and our wintering ground is becoming spring in late February. We process the calves at 2 months to inoculate them with preventative vaccines and neuter the males; if an antibiotic is given the calf is identified and taken out of our program.
The cows are never given any hormones.
The cows then rear the calves with them thru the summer and into fall, feeding them milk as the calf is developing it‘s stomach to be able to digest forbs and grasses which starts to take place at about 3.5 months of age. We separate the calves from the cows from 7 to 10 months. The calves will weigh around 500lbs at this time off of our environment. We will then place the calves on various pastures for the winter from King Hill Idaho to Murphy with different farmers on pasture. If the weather gets rough we will feed them hay but most of time they will graze. The cattle will really start to gain weight from March on until harvest.
The finish cattle are on the very best grasses and forbs from March until Dec. at which time we feed them in open pastures utilizing bunks/feeders on grass/alfalfa hay, Sudan grass silage, with dry beet pulp to keep them on a finishing plain. We stage cattle to be ready all year as we are a fresh product. We do not place any more cattle in this situation than is necessary to have a winter product, as we believe that cattle grazing grass and legumes naturally, is the most sustainable.
About the cattle
We live in a dry part of the world and believe that producing beef in a sustainable way is what God intended us to do. We learned the hard way that our base cow herd has to fit our environment so we developed a line bred herd of Angus cows with the help of Larry Leonhardt from Shoshone Angus. It has taken 20 years to remove the crossbreeding mess that we started from. But today we have a set of cows that can renew themselves in this environment.
This set of maternal cows allows us to make true crosses for an end product, while breeding a percentage back to their line to maintain the original bloodline. With some research we found that we can use a breed named Akaushi on these cows and offspring to have a healthy wonderful tasting product that can be raised sustainably.
With all of that said our greatest concern is generational sustainability and how we can help the population move forward in a positive manner.