Barney Creek Livestock’s operation is based on the Jordan Ranch. The ranch has been in the family since 1900, when Rueben and Mary Ellen Forney purchased the ranch from the estate of Barney Maguire, who homesteaded the place in 1867. Three generations currently live on the ranch. Larry and Cathy, the third generation, grew the ranch to what it is today. Pete and Meagan, the fourth generation, operate the ranch as they raise the fifth generation with a passion for Regenerative Agriculture.
We run a cow/calf operation over several leases that require daily to every other daily moves. This type of grazing has us moving water, mineral, and fence from April to October. We believe in giving more back to the land than we take and manage for better pasture every day. Our cattle are our workforce that mob graze for soil, grass, ecosystem and animal benefit. We don’t ride horses, on some leases we get to use a 4-wheeler, and others we walk to set fences, haul mineral and move water. RanchFit is a running joke around here, flipping tires is a real part of the WOD. Our irrigated leases require us to move pivots, wheel lines, pipe and sprinklers, and K-lines. The cows calve in sync with nature in late April – May.
We lease acreage, every lease is different, which presents a daily learning opportunity. We look at the land, care for the soil first, then the grass by moving the cows, water, and minerals daily. If not daily, every other day. We are intensive intentional graziers that graze for conservation and to also provide wholesome meat for our community. We protect riparian areas and empower the ecosystem. Barney Creek understands that we are a part of the ecosystem, we don’t control it, but observe what it needs from us and manage accordingly.
Check out Barney Creek Livestock’s Instagram
Learn more about our ranch
Edible Bozeman article: https://www.barneycreek.com/post/we-were-featured-in-edible-bozeman
Barney Creek & NRCS video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I49xk1_pit0&feature=emb_logo
Land, Water, & Sky Documentary, expected release date 2021: https://www.landwaterandskyfilm.com/barney_creek_livestock
Pete & Meagan Lannan
We are excited and passionate about what we do. We empower learners, we do not enable them. We do the work as well, we won’t just point and leave to check on the work later. Pete and I expect smart hard work, we have done everything we are asking of our apprentice. We have packed numerous 50# bags of mineral up the mountain on foot, drug awkward 300 gallon water tanks, and stared at a creek for longer than we should have to figure the best way to protect it, and have adjusted lots of things on the fly. This work is sometimes easy, sometimes hard, and most times takes longer than what you guessed. We do the best we can at making a plan, but we expect an apprentice to ask questions and to be flexible.
Meagan Lannan: Grew up in Western MT on a small ranch, my horse was my best friend. My dad was a rancher/logger and my mother served as the town Librarian for 25 years. I went to college, taught English overseas, worked on a trail crew with my own horse and mule, discovered fire and fought it for some years on a Nevada BLM Hot Shot crew. Met Pete at his employees wedding and wouldn’t let him dance with anyone else. We have two amazing kids that keep us on our toes. Maloi runs her own sheep herd and grazes on her own lease, Liam is our Motocrossing worm rancher.
Pete Lannan: Pete grew up on this ranch. His family has raised sheep, dairy cows, and cattle. He jokes that his parents unplugged the milk machine when he graduated and went to college. Pete went to college and started fighting wildland fire, which he still does in the summer. He has deep connection with the ranch and believes that operating it regeneratively will be the way to pass it on to the next generation. Pete’s dad told him one day that if he wanted to run the ranch, he better figure out how to do it. This is what prompted our journey of regenerative ag. We looked at how the ranch had recently made a profit, which was putting up hay. Pete is gone in the summers fighting fire, which left the kids and I to harvest hay. He started reading ‘Kick the Hay Habit,’ and sharpening the pencil on inputs. We had to do things differently, so we did. The ecological component came after honing in our inputs. Once the land started taking off, the ecosystem was humming, we were hooked on the whole process. Observing this ‘natural’ return is something greater than we expected.
What will an apprentice do?
The work that the apprentice will engage in, but not limited to, will be daily irrigating, seasonal building/fixing fence single tensile wire fence, setting electric fence, operating grazing maps/pasture books, and map reading, measure and mix mineral, move mineral via 4-wheeler or pack it in on foot, assisting with the building a new corral system (watch/read Temple Grandin), soil and plant tissue sample collection, moving cows while learning and honing low stress livestock handling, run smaller equipment (ATVs, sidexside), safely innovate ways to do things, curiosity to ask why, ability to confirm expectations/instructions, build things on the fly, feed livestock.
The apprentice will interact with our customers, lead tours, work with our young volunteers, attend educational opportunities solo or and attend webinars/training with us. It is important to us that the apprentice learn the principles and practices of regenerative ag and to be able to teach regenerative ag principles, regardless of whether or not they decide to ranch. We want their experience to be one that they remember and share globally. We will expect that the apprentice will always respectfully represent Barney Creek Livestock in our community, to our regenerative colleagues, and beyond. We take pride in what we do and that comes with our understanding that the apprentice can explain what we do passionately.
April – May: calving season, our cows are pretty low maintenance for calving. Which is great! We have worked hard for this. We would like to start designing and building a new corral system, perhaps working on Barney Creek in terms of burning some piles, and working on fencing/infrastructure on the other leases.
June – August: Irrigating and moving cows, setting a lot of fences to move daily. Taking beef orders.
Sept – November: Still the above, irrigating has slowed down a bit. Recap the summer work and identify improvements. End of Sept/October harvesting beef (either in the field or hauling to processor) and delivering beef.
What skills and traits are required in an apprentice?
An apprentice would fit into our operation as a team member. Conversely, as mentors, we are here to teach what we know, listen to what we don’t, embrace new ideas, and work together to get work done. As an apprentice, we expect you to ask questions, explain what you see, and trust in our process.
- Work ethic: Willing to hike/walk to set fence and move cows calmly and efficiently
- Adaptability: Patience to sometimes hurry up and wait, adjust a project at a midway point
- Openness to feedback and willingness to have conversations about the workday
- Growth Mindset: find the opportunity when met with a brick wall; we learn from failures
- Accountability: Own it
- Listen, observe, and ask questions
- Time management: will need to look at the work ahead and plan to get it done efficiently
- Valid Driver’s License
Nuts & Bolts*
*We are still working on this section. Please check back for more details.
Start Date: April 1, 2022
Length of Apprenticeship: 8 months
Stipend: $1,000/month +meals, room & board
General work hours:
Housing: Housing will be a mini-house. Has a composting toilet, solar shower, refrigerator, television.
Laundry: Laundry not available in apprentice housing but is available in our house and apprentices is free to use.
Internet availability: There is good internet service in the housing.
Cell Service: Best provider is Verizon
Time off: 1-2 days per week depending on the season. Usually the same day off.
Visitors policy: Visitors allowed with prior consultation with us and as long as it doesn’t impact work
Food: Ranch meats will be available to the apprentice and the apprentice will also eat meals with the Lannan’s on a regular basis. Shared meals–beef, lamb, pork, eggs, garden
Pets: No pets. Sorry 🙁
Tobacco and alcohol use: Tobacco use is permitted. Legal and appropriate alcohol use is ok outside of work hours.
Guns: Apprentice is allowed to bring guns to the ranch but we expect to be consulted if apprentice wants to use guns on our property.
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 farm 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.
COVID-19 policy: Barney Creek Livestock expects any apprentice to use common sense when in public including wearing a mask when it is required by businesses and/or local and state regulations. With the assistance of Quivira, we will monitor the COVID situation in our community and may ask the apprentice to take additional precautions depending on current transmission rates.
Ranch vehicles: The apprentice will be allowed to use ranch vehicles for all ranch work activities.
Personal vehicle: While apprentices will not be asked to use a personal vehicle for work purposes, the apprentice will need the flexibility of his or her own vehicle on their days off in order to run personal errands such as purchasing groceries and for travel.
Additional items an apprentice should bring:
Living at Barney Creek Ranch: We are located on the Jordan Ranch, 13-miles from Livingston, Montana. There are several small communities that are 7-miles away, Pray and Emigrant. Pray is home to the famous and beloved Chico Hot Springs and Emigrant is across the river and has the Old Saloon and Follow Yer Nose BBQ. We are lucky and not lacking ‘close places’ to go and meet the locals. Livingston has an iconic downtown that has been featured in numerous films and commercials. My father-in-law tells some fantastic stories about Livingston Saturday nights from back in the day. Since Covid, gatherings are smaller but we have still managed a fun downtown scene with our usual crowd of fly fishing guides, ranchers, tourists, and professionals. We have great places to eat and grocery shop. We have several traditional grocery stores and two natural shops for food and supplements. A person who lands here at Barney Creek will be able to head up ‘anywhere’ within a short drive to hike or fish to get away.
Quivira Coalition Activities: This apprenticeship is offered through Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program. The full cohort of apprentices on regenerative ranches and farms across the west will attend an April orientation, participate in supplemental education provided in partnership with Holistic Management International, and attend the annual Quivira Conference, hosted with Holistic Management International and the American Grassfed Association, in November. 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.
Specific challenges an apprentice could help with: I would love to identify the grasses we have, hoping to build a new corral system. Also, build a report for our leases: their soil health, plants, water, tissue tests, maps of bare ground, etd, maps of pasture moves.
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