FTZ Cattle LLC is a partnership comprised of two families who were introduced to each other over 10 years ago, and who share a connection to the ranch where they currently raise cattle and tirelessly work to improve the land.
Jesse and Ricarda Braatz and their two children live and work on Squaw Valley Ranch in Northern Nevada. Gregg and Julie Simonds live in Park City, Utah, and travel often to the ranch.
As much as we enjoy ranching, we also enjoy working with groups of people who respectfully listen to one another as well as operate their businesses in ways that seek to compliment and work with others in the supply chain. We are excited and proud to be a part of a group such as Desert Mountain. We look forward to continuing to challenge the way that organizations are operated, and to set an example of trust, transparency, and the power of producers connecting with consumers to tell their stories to each other in order to make the world a smaller, safer place.
Squaw Valley Ranch encompasses 350,000 contiguous acres (a mix of private and BLM lands). Livestock grazing has been managed under the principles of time, timing, and intensity since 2003. Some of the key components of this management are done with as few herds as possible, with flexibility built into the system to allow the ability to be dynamic to changes in a given year. In our management we carefully consider grazing use during the uplands growing season (May and June), hot season grazing on riparian areas, and how we can allow for proper recovery post-use. We aim to have more growing season rest than use in a 10-year cycle. In doing so we have increased the amount of our perennial grasses and have taken 140 miles of creek to Proper Functioning Condition rating (most of which is habitat for Lahontan trout).
We believe in fitting cattle to fit our environment. They are selected and bred to live year round on rangeland and diverse meadow forages, without the need to be fed supplemental hay. We believe that a cow can and will take care of herself and her calf with little input or assistance from us. We strive to allow our herd of mother cows to constantly move across the ranch to avoid having plants bitten more than once. Our cattle have more space than most people can imagine. If you ever would like to come visit and, please let us know, we would love to show you around and share what we are most passionate about!