Knott Land & Livestock

High Mountain Adaptive Rotational Grazing Operation with Sheep and Cattle

The Ranch

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.

Regenerative Practices

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.

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The Mentor

Tyler Knott

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.

The Apprentice

What will an apprentice do?

 

A list of work duties would include but not be limited to:

 

    • Tending to cattle, including calving, herd health, cattle working and moving, pasture management, and feeding.
    • Tending to sheep, including lambing, health checks, feeding, and overall management.
    • More ranching duties would include, fencing, weed management and it might include tractor driving, haying, minimal irrigation, hauling animals, and whatever other surprises that ranching throws at us.
    • Meat business duties may include, marketing,  and picking up/delivering/sorting meat
    • There may be some recreational business activities (setting up camps, basic landscaping services, trail maintenance) depending on where we are in follow-through with a business plan

What skills and traits are required in an apprentice?

 

  • Good attitude
  • Willing to work hard
  • Willing to be flexible
  • Desire to learn and able to understand that every operation is different (and what you learn in a book may not apply on the ground everywhere)
  • Be a self starter/find something that needs done and do it (not right away but eventually)
  • Kind and willing to have kids hanging around
  • Passionate about the things you love
  • Honest
  • Must keep the house tidy and be respectful of the living space.

What skills and traits are desired in an apprentice?

 

  • Able to drive an ATV

  • Some basic livestock knowledge

Nuts & Bolts

 

Start Date: Ideal start date is mid-March; lambing should begin about February 20th and calving begins about April 1st. Overall workload is not “intense” during March due to snowpack limiting activity; however, if an apprentice wants experience with shed lambing and winter feeding of cattle, then an earlier start date can be negotiated.      

The ideal end date is November 1st – 15th, 2022; weather highly dictates fall activities; we generally should have our calves shipped and 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 months

 

Stipend: The apprentice will receive a monthly gross cash salary of $1,500.00 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. 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.

General work hours: A normal day varies greatly for us. During calving, we check cattle at daylight, throughout the day and right at dark; occasionally night checks occur depending on weather and circumstances. During the summer, apprentice should expect to start about 7-8:00am and finish about 5-6:00pm. We try to take a “long” lunch to rest and catch up on messages most days. In the fall, our days are much shorter and match the weather conditions. We try to match everyone’s schedules so they feel they are the most efficient for the workload and their personal needs.

 

Housing: Housing provided is a large 3 bedroom / 2 bath modular home with a full suite of appliances (see photos below). 

 

Laundry: Apprentice will have their own washer and dryer.

 

Internet availability: WiFi available at ranch headquarters; Internet may be available at apprentice quarters by start time, account will be responsibility of apprentice if available. Cell service is marginal here. Verizon is the best provider for most of the ranch.

 

Time off: Sundays are a day off. In emergency situations, the apprentice may be asked to step in and help. Every effort will be made to give time off during the business week if this happens.

 

Visitors policy: Apprentice will be allowed to have visitors; however, we do not encourage extended periods of stay (more than three days). We can be flexible with extenuating circumstances and enough advanced notice.

 

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, cats and dogs will be allowed in reasonable numbers. We will allow up to 2 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.

 

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: 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. 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.

 

COVID-19 policy: We ask that the apprentice use reasonable diligence prior to the start date to mitigate any unnecessary exposure to our family.

 

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, CO: The ranch is located 10-12 miles southwest of Oak Creek, Colorado that offers your basic needs such as 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.

 

Specific challenges an apprentice could help with: The ranch is constantly evaluating ways to diversify and improve cash flow. Located in the mountains of Colorado, agri-tourism is a developing industry. We are strongly looking at further developing our recreation services above and beyond hunting and fishing, including activities for access for wedding venues, hiking, camping, skiing, etc. Outside perspectives will improve the success of these enterprises. An individual that would like to “marry” the recreation and meat businesses to become fully complementary to each other would provide significant value to the ranch.  

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