The Knott Ranch is nestled under the Flat Tops of Oak Creek, Colorado. We are five generations of stewarding the land and producing wholesome, safe, and nutritious lamb and beef while still providing critical wildlife habitat and healthy rivers. We strive for both sustainability in managing our natural resources to provide reliable products year after year and resiliency in being able to adapt to both changing economic and ecological conditions. Our ranch has been in our family for 85 years.
The Knott Ranch began as a sheep ranch in 1936, when Courtney Ives purchased what is now known as our Home Place. Before the development of the Steamboat Ski Resort our sheep grazed on Mt. Werner each summer, then known as Storm Mountain. Since that time we have expanded and diversified our operations including enterprises such as cow/calf, yearling cattle, bred heifers, sheep, direct marketing of lamb and beef, as well as recreation activities like hunting and fishing.
The Knott Ranch prioritizes comprehensive natural resource management for the benefit of the wildlife, livestock, ecology, and local community. Nearly 2000 acres of the ranch have been protected through a conservation easement held with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. The fifth generation is now growing up with a connection to this land and the ranching way of life.
The cattle and sheep graze mountain pastures from June through November until snow requires they be fed grass hay produced on the ranch. During the summer months, our livestock have free range in large mountain pastures ranging from 100 to 1,200 acres in size. The lush feed of brome and timothy grasses produce phenomenal rates of gain.
The animals are checked regularly by horseback or UTV during which the pasture conditions and grazing pressure is carefully monitored. The ranch uses a modified deferred-rotational grazing system. The goal is to keep the animals on fresh forage and clean water while leaving sufficient residual feed to sustain wildlife and hold the snowpack through the winter. Pasture rotation and resting occurs to ensure plants mature to seed production at least once every three years.
Check out Knott Land & Livestock on Facebook & Instagram
Fourth generation rancher Tyler Knott not only runs the business side of the ranch, but is also responsible for the daily operations. With a B.S. in Rangeland Ecology & Watershed Management from University of Wyoming, this cowboy is a true environmentalist. His wife, Megan, joins him with Masters in both Environmental Management and Forestry from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She has been with the Colorado Cattleman’s Agricultural Land Trust since 2008 and currently serves as their Director of Stewardship. They both value community service having served on the boards of Routt County Cattlemen’s Association, Routt County Farm Bureau, Routt County Weed Board, The Community Agricultural Alliance, and the Routt County 4-H Foundation.
Tyler and Megan make their home on the ranch with their two children, Ella and Collin.
What will an apprentice do?
This is a mobile sheep-herding position. An apprentice will work with Tyler to experience the Spring, Summer, and Fall activities of this high-elevation, mountainous ranch. This year we are looking for an individual that has an aspiration “to be with nature.” Our apprentice will be predominantly responsible for the herding, care, and well being of our sheep. This will require you to be an early riser (before daylight). Overall duties will include lambing, herding sheep to fresh feed daily, monitoring for predator activity and loss, and fixing fences to assist in the herding of the sheep. This will be a “camp-type” position, where you may be expected to stay near the sheep in a camp (wall tent or sheep wagon). Additionally, the apprentice will be needed to help with cattle and haying activities, including calving, branding, pre-conditioning, weaning, moving, shipping, etc.
Note: This position is ideal for someone who has had previous experience with livestock and enjoys an independent lifestyle up in the mountains. This position will be exposed to rough terrain, occasional livestock loss, and maybe some nights jumping out of bed to address an issue, especially during lambing. If this sounds like something you’d like to explore, please apply!
What skills and traits are required in an apprentice?
- Curious by nature and willing to ask questions and learn about our system
- Positive attitude when longer/later work days come up
- Good working in a team
- Physically comfortable walking/hiking, carrying heavy things, and moving throughout the day
- Helpful if comfortable or experienced riding horses
- Willing to work Independently.
- Ability to process and resolve a situation on their own
- Natural direction…ability to not get lost
- Handle multiple task requests … i.e. do A, B, C & D…not just A and D
- A strong commitment to agriculture
Skills You Can Expect to Acquire
- Safe use of equipment on the ranch, including trucks, trailers, atv/utv’s, and tractors.
- The care and feeding of cattle, sheep, and horses.
- Fencing basics on permanent fences and building temporary electric fences.
- How to assess the pasture for condition and quality to help determine when to move livestock.
- Exposure to flood irrigation on native grass hay meadows and pastures including infrastructure maintenance and operation.
- How to handle and work cattle (cow/calf and yearlings), sheep and horses. Our livestock are worked using the best means available at the time including being on foot, vehicle (pickup or UTV), or horseback.
- Experience and exposure with animal husbandry practices such as calving, lambing, branding, docking, vaccinating, doctoring (in field and using facilities), etc.
- Exposure and experience with a direct to consumer meat business, if interested. This is highly dependent upon the apprentice’s personality and skill sets.
- The skill to observe, communicate and discuss what was observed.
Nuts & Bolts
Start Date: Ideal start date is early March; lambing should begin about March 1st and calving begins about April 1st. Overall workload is not “intense” during March due to snowpack limiting activity;
The ideal end date is November 1st – 15th; weather highly dictates fall activities; we generally should have our calves shipped or weaned by the 15th of November. We have some flexibility around start and end dates and encourage individuals with alternate schedules to apply.
Length of Apprenticeship: 8-9 months
Stipend: The apprentice will receive a monthly gross cash salary of $2,200.00 per month paid on the last day of the month. In addition to the cash salary, the apprentice will receive housing and utilities (electric and propane) paid by the ranch.
The stipend may or may not cover monthly expenses for the apprentice based on his or her needs and lifestyle. This position does not allow time for a second job, including side work or paid hobbies, so the apprentice should consider his or her budgetary needs before applying to this position.
General work hours: Livestock production seasonally requires attention 7 days a week. There will be certain times when the ranch apprentice will be “on call” 24/7. Sundays will generally be recognized as a day off and flexibility will be given for additional time off during business week. Some Saturdays will be given off through the course of the apprenticeship. In general, work weeks will be between 40 and 60 hours.
Housing: Housing provided will be camp type accommodations that can be moved with the sheep. In addition to the camp accommodations, access will be provided to one of our ranch houses to have an established base.
Laundry: Available within the base housing.
Internet availability: Internet is available at the headquarters for apprentice’s use.
Cell Service: Service is marginal. Verizon is the best provider for most of the ranch.
Time off: Saturday and Sunday will generally be given as off days. As described above, occasionally there will be tasks that can’t be put off for the weekend, or all hands on deck are needed. However we can try to make up that time off another day if the week allows. If you ever were to want a 3 day weekend for a trip away, we can definitely do our best to accommodate.
Visitor Policy: Apprentice will be allowed to have visitors. However, try to plan it with your mentor just in case there are important ranch jobs going on that are not conducive to hosting time.
Food: Apprentice will be responsible for their own meals and should know how to reasonably cook. There are instances when ranch meals will be provided, like when working cattle. Lamb and Beef are generally available through our meat business; a meat credit can be negotiated prior to the start date.
Pets: Pets will be considered on an individual basis; Generally, dogs will be allowed in reasonable numbers. We can discuss personal horses that can be used for ranch work. The ranch will provide grass hay and pasture as feed; any care above and beyond that will be the apprentice’s responsibility.
Horse Use: Horses are used consistently on the ranch to check, gather, move, and work our livestock. Horses can be used as extensively as everyday for 2 weeks or rested for 2 weeks depending on the priorities needing done at the time. Although horses are a part of our work experience, an apprentice that is not comfortable riding extensively can still have a thorough and complete ranch apprenticeship.
All the fun stuff: Tobacco and alcohol use are permitted on site. However, smoking is not allowed in the houses and is strongly discouraged while working.
Tobacco and alcohol use: Tobacco and alcohol use are permitted on site. However, smoking is not allowed in the houses and is strongly discouraged while working.
Guns: Firearms are welcome on the ranch if used and stored responsibly. We appreciate consideration to the age of Tyler and Megan’s children and their friends. Generally, a rifle is within quick access for predator or varmint control. Parts of the ranch are leased, and the landlords prefer that we do not hunt some animals.
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. Knott Land & Livestock Company, Inc. 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 will not be covered by our Workman’s Compensation policy.
Ranch Vehicles: Apprentice will use ranch vehicles for work. Most vehicles are manuals. A valid driver’s license and clean driving record is required to operate road legal vehicles. Primary transportation on the ranch is accomplished using UTVs.
Personal Vehicle: A personal vehicle is highly recommended for apprentice independence on their time off but is not required for the apprenticeship
Additional items an apprentice should bring: The housing will be reasonably furnished. Apprentices shall bring their own bedding (sheets/blankets/etc) and linens (bath towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, etc). We strongly encourage you to bring your own kitchen utensils and supplies; however, the very basics can be provided.
Living in Oak Creek: The ranch is located 10-12 miles southwest of Oak Creek, Colorado that offers your basic needs such as a post office, grocery store, drug store, and a couple of restaurants. Oak Creek, historically a coal mining town, now primarily serves as a bedroom community for Steamboat Springs. Steamboat is an expanding community that has been developed from its tourism and scenery. A majority of ranch supplies are procured from the Craig, which is 50 miles to our northwest.
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.