Skip to Content


Home > 2016 Conference > 2016 Speakers > Sharon and Pat O'Toole

< Previous | Next >

Sharon and Pat O'Toole

Sharon and Pat O'Toole
Pat and Sharon O'Toole own and manage the Ladder Ranch, located on the Colorado-Wyoming border, which is a mix of public and private land. The O'Tooles are leaders in the movement to combine conservation and food production with an emphasis on ecological restoration and collaboration. Their willingness to work with agencies, scientists and conservationists is the mirror opposite to recent headline-making confrontations between ranchers and government officials.

Pat O'Toole is active in organizations that affect Ladder Ranch and Western agriculture. He served in the Wyoming Legislature, and on the Presidentially-appointed Western Water Policy Commission. He is the President of the Family Farm Alliance, which represents Western irrigators. He is also an Advisory Board Member for AGree, a think tank that grapples with food and agriculture policy issues in an international arena. Pat serves on the Board of Directors for the Intermountain Joint Venture, a public/private group which advocates for migratory birds. He also serves on the boards of Partners for Conservation, Farm Foundation, and Solutions from the Land. Pat is active in Western water issues, opposing the loss of agricultural water through transfers. He has testified before Congress regarding Western issues several times.

Sharon Salisbury O'Toole is a full-time rancher who writes extensively on Western issues. She has been published in regional and national publications, including The Washington Post. Sharon currently blogs for the Western Folklife Center on ranch life throughout the year at www.ladderranch.com ("Ranch News"). She serves on the Wyoming Arts Council Board, and has performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.