Arrowpoint Cattle Co & Badger Creek RanchEight-Month Cattle Ranching Apprenticeship in South Central Colorado
Arrowpoint Cattle Company raises grass-fed beef for the local market in the beautiful mountains of central Colorado. We are looking for an intern with a positive attitude and a great work ethic who wants to learn while doing about grass-fed beef by: irrigating, building electrical fences, selecting breeding stock, moving and selecting which cattle are ready for market, marketing, assisting with hay harvest, working cattle and calves to tattoo, vaccinate, castrate, and tag on a family run ranch.
Meet the mentors
Arrowpoint Cattle Company is a family-owned and operated cattle ranch located in Nathrop, Colorado, about 20 minutes north of Salida, in the beautiful mountains of central Colorado. They specialize in raising grass fed/grass finished Scottish Highland beef for the local market, both direct to customers and to restaurants like the Eddyline Restaurant in Buena Vista. Arrowpoint focuses on raising their cows with low-stress animal handling techniques using their impacts to improve soil health across both their ranch lands and those that they graze on. A part of this is increasing plant diversity and vigor, which is accomplished through monitored grazing. They make their decisions from their monitoring program which tracks plant growth, diversity and long term vegetative changes. They also grow meadow grass hay of the highest quality available — sweet tasting and high in protein. They cut once a year during the late summer or early fall. For the ease of our customers we still use the “small bales” weighing approximately 70# per bale. They produce certified weed free hay available for those riding in the National Forest, and have delivery available to the front range.
Badger Creek Ranch, an hour drive from Arrowpoint, is a working cattle ranch and guest ranch run by Natalie and Brian Allio and the Badger Creek Ranch team. The apprentice will be focused on caring for livestock, including the cattle that are grazed there in the summer, along with chickens, pigs, and horses. Badger Creek Ranch manages cattle through Holistic Management on horseback, using Natural Horsemanship techniques. Up to six guests stay every week. Guests ride with ranch managers to move cattle, check fences, monitor land and assist with ranch needs according to their riding ability. While the apprentice will be focused on livestock and agriculture, they will help lead guests when appropriate. Apprentices should be comfortable riding on rough terrain.
Nancy Roberts manages Arrowpoint Cattle with her sister Leslie, who lives down the road. Her parents started the ranch in 1961 and moved to the current location in 1968. Growing up, Nancy spent summers on the ranch with her brothers and sisters, and running the American Scottish Highland booth at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. They currently run approximately 70 mother cows; 70 yearlings and 70 calves. They combine a cow-calf operation with a beef operation, where they generally have 60 plus two-year-olds processesd at a USDA plant.
Natalie and Brian Allio started Badger Creek Ranch several years ago after managing a guest ranch in Northern Colorado near the Wyoming state line. They are joined by Dave and Chrissy, who moved out from their farm West Virginia, and Kris and Cris from Virginia. Natalie is finishing requirements to be a certified educator for Holistic Management International. Dave handles many of the administrative duties, while Chrissy and Brian handle management of the various livestock needs. Kris and Cris are masters of fencing and infrastructure, and kitchen and hospitality. Working together, they have a rotation for cooking meals, collaborate on marketing products and balancing the needs of the livestock and the guests to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Morning meetings facilitate the smooth management of multiple priorities across the whole team.
Arrowpoint Cattle Company and Badger Creek Ranch have been working together to ensure that the cattle herd has access to good grazing land yearround. In 2017, they collaboratively hosted a summer intern, to give him a broad experience across their two operations. They are excited to offer this experience to a 2018 New Agrarian Apprentice. This opportunity is best suited to someone who has a basic knowledge of ranching and wishes to learn, imrpove, and specialize their skill set.
This apprentice will work closely six days a week with Nancy and Leslie at Arrowpoint or with Natalie, Brian, Chris, Chris or Chrissy at Badger Creek Ranch. This is a great opportunity for an apprentice with a positive attitude and a great work ethic who wants to learn while doing about grass-fed beef by: irrigating, building electrical fences, selecting breeding stock, moving and selecting which cattle are ready for market, marketing, assisting with hay harvest, working cattle and calves to tattoo, vaccinate, castrate, and tag on a family run ranch. They will get experience with livestock management, land monitoring, haying, and irrigation. Arrowpoint works closely with the NRCS and the apprentice will learn about their programs by being hands-on implementing them on the ranch. Other activities may be incorporated into the day, depending on the apprentice’s interests.
This is a full-time, intensive education and professional training program requiring fifty to sixty hours a week, sometimes more and sometimes less. One of the joys as well as the challenges of farming is living and working with the rhythm of the seasons, and the work schedule follows the demands of season, weather, and animal needs.
Enthusiasm and a sincere commitment to sustainable agriculture and food production are more important than experience, though riding compentency is needed and experience with other livestock is a plus. Depending on availability and apprentice interested, exposure and experience in some of the other enterprises may be possible.
Stipend: The monthly stipend is determined each year, based on available funding; it is typically around $700 take-home pay. This is paid bi-weekly, and can be directly deposited to your bank. The stipend may or may not cover monthly expenses for the apprentice based on his or her needs and lifestyle. The position does not allow time for a second job, so the apprentice should consider his or her budgetary needs before applying to this position.
Housing: At Arrowpoint, the housing is a one bedroom fully furnished apartment that is downstairs from the main employee housing. It has a full kitchen, bath and is situated just minutes away from Salida. At Badger Creek Ranch, the apprentice will stay in a room at the ranch headquarters. All utilities are included in housing at no additional cost to the apprentice, though the apprentice is expected to be conscientious about energy use since the ranch is off-grid. The apprentice is expected to keep their living quarters clean and in good shape.
Quivira Coalition Activities: The apprentice is required to attend the annual Quivira Coalition conference, held each November in Albuquerque, NM; conference and hotel fees are covered by the Quivira Coalition. In addition to the conference, the apprentice will participate in an Holistic Management International webinar series geared Whole Farm/Ranch Planning Series. Apprentices are also required to write several reports during their apprenticeship; these reports will go through the NAP Coordinator at Quivira, and be posted on the Quivira website.
Time off: One day off per week provides a healthy break for the apprentice. There may be times when a day off is not possible, but other times (like during the monsoons) when two days off per week might make more sense. The work pattern follows that of nature; when everything is busy and producing and growing, farmers do the same. When nature begins to slow down, there is a natural decline in activity. Some apprentices save up days off so they can take several consecutive days to go visit family or attend a class or workshop, when the ranch schedule can accommodate this time away.
Visitors: Salida has a large tourist draw. As a temporary resident, the apprentice may experience that draw through requests for visits from friends and family. The apprentice may also want to express their enthusiasm for the program by inviting friends and family to visit. We ask that the apprentice use wisdom and judgment to balance the apprenticeship demands with time available for guests. Apprentices will be asked to discuss visitors in advance with Natalie and Nancy.
Food: At Badger Creek, meals are prepared and are eaten family style while guests are staying at the ranch. Apprentice will have access to the kitchen to prepare meals when guests are not at the ranch. At Arrowpoint, we generatlly have lunch as a group, as the apprentice will be living on a related property but not at the ranch proper. Breakfast and dinner will be on their own most of the time. The makings of the meals are provided including both Arrowpoint grass fed beef and farm fresh eggs.
Pets: It will not be possible for apprentices to have any pets with them during the apprenticeship.
All the fun stuff: No smoking or drugs on the ranch.
NO Partying: No partying. Having a beer/glass of wine or two after work is just fine.
Health Insurance: The ranching lifestyle has inherent dangers. While personal health insurance is not required to participate in the apprenticeship program, it is strongly encouraged. The ranch carries Workman’s Compensation to cover injuries incurred on the job. But if the apprentice is injured on his or her day off, gets sick, or has or develops chronic conditions like allergies, these types of issues should be covered by personal health insurance.
Ranch Vehicles: All of the ranch vehicles are standard transmission. The apprentice will be expected to competently operate these vehicles. Apprentices must have a valid driver’s license.
Personal Vehicle: There are no instances (or very few) when the apprentice would be required to use his/her own vehicle around the ranch. In order to run personal errands and travel on days off, and to facilitate going between the two ranches, however, the apprentice will need the flexibility of his or her own vehicle.
Living near Salida, Colorado: Badger Creek Ranch is about an hour from Cañon City and 45 minutes from Salida. Arrowpoint Cattle company is 20 minutes north of Salida. Salida is a dynamic town with lots of culture, coffee shops; Cañon City is on the Arkansas River, with lots of rafting and outdoor activities. Apprentices are encouraged to become involved in the community, work and ranch-life permitting.
Both ranches are at high altitude. The beginning and end of the apprenticeship will be cold, summers are warm, with monsoon rains common in July and August.
New Agrarian News
Get information on apprenticeships, jobs, and other opportunities.
Become a member
its the best way to support resilience on western working landscapes.