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Working Ranch - March 2018

WILDLIFE HABITAT IMPORTANT The Vineyards and Womacks rely solely on leased pasture to summer their cattle. The family is adept at the hunt for leases and how to identify what is important to landowners. “Through the years we’ve lost leases because of land sales and then gained others,” Vicky explains. “At least two of our former leases are now house subdivisions. The Black Hills are a very popular area, and land is now expensive.” Landlords of their current summer lease value the wildlife that lives in the hills north of Newcastle. “Wildlife habitat is also important to us,” Jen says of how their interests align. “We manage grazing to conserve plenty of grass for the deer, elk and other wildlife. We try really hard to maintain a reputation of taking care of leased land like it is our own.” Tod says a key component to a successful, long-term lessee/ lessor relationship is to share goals. “Our current landlord doesn’t put top priority on how many cows we can run, or how much we can afford to pay on the lease,” Tod explains. “We’re both more focused on how we can improve the land through grazing, and maintain good habitat for wildlife. “This lease doesn’t fi t everyone’s operation,” he adds. “The cows won’t stay up on the top on their own, and the fences need continuous work. We are up here horseback a day or two a week tracking cattle so they don’t scatter. If we were busy haying this wouldn’t be a favorable lease. But we love it up here; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” The family formerly owned haying machinery and leased hay “There is no better day than when three generations of us are together horseback,” shares Jen Womack. (L to R) Vicky Vineyard, Tod Vineyard holding Charlie Pzinski, Jen Womack, Chris Womack and Josh Womack. Jen Womack wheels the cooler of lunch food out to the truck. 50 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2018


Working Ranch - March 2018
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