Round River Resource Management

Eight-Month Ranching Apprenticeship in Rush, Colorado

Round River Resource Management

Round River Resource Management, LLC is a land resource and livestock management company dedicated to restoring and improving agricultural operations in a regenerative manner consistent with the goals of the resource owner through the principles of Holistic Management. The name ‘Round River’ is derived from the metaphorical river described by Aldo Leopold that flows endlessly into itself, circling around and around in a never ending circuit that symbolizes the current of life. Leopold’s illustration describes the manner in which energy flows from the soil into plants, then into animals and finally back into the soil in a continuous circuit of life. Founded in 2008 to manage the Brett Gray Ranch and other agricultural enterprises, Round River provides educational and business opportunities that help young, innovative people enter the ranching business. Round River has a unique business model that encourages apprentices continue on at the ranch after completing a New Agrarian Program apprenticeship.
Start your career in Regenerative Ranching on the vast shortgrass prairie of eastern Colorado. Round River Resource Management is a custom grazing operation, currently running the 50,000 acre Brett Gray Ranch in Rush, CO as well as the 75,000 acre BX Ranch nearby. This operation is unique in its revolutionary structure of leasing cattle as well as land. Young agrarians interested in creative ways to build large-scale cattle enterprises should consider Round River a great option.

The Mentors

Louis Martin currently serves as the CEO and general manager for Round River. He oversees management of the Brett Gray and Lyme BX Ranches, working in collaboration with the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners (SLB), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and others to achieve the desired goals of all stakeholders. He has been involved in the livestock and ranching business for over forty years, and has served sixteen years as general manager for the Texas A&M University Beef Cattle Center in College Station, Texas where he oversaw all cattle operations and facilitated the teaching, research and extension activities at the Center. In addition, he has been involved in Holistic Management for over thirty-five years, consulted for numerous ranches and managed large ranches in Texas, northeastern Utah and Colorado. Louis received a BS and Master’s degree in Animal Science and Ranch Management at Texas A&M University, has trained with several certified HRM instructors and is an alumni of Ranching for Profit. He currently continues his education as an Executive Link board member and participates in numerous education opportunities annually.

Marcos Baez Having completed the 8-month NAP apprenticeship, Marcos is now working at Round River, advancing his skills and knowledge in business management, leadership and land stewardship.  As a pathway into regenerative ranching he has recently invested in his own cow-calf herd enterprise he manages here on the Brett Gray Ranch. Marcos is the Director of Production serving as a mentor and supervisor to new NAP apprentices. 

Christopher Mellen completed two years as a NAP apprentice and will be staying on at Round River to further advance his skills and knowledge on his pathway into Regenerative Ranching. Chris will be serving as a co-worker and leader to new NAP apprentices.

The Apprentice

Apprentices are responsible for:

  1. Working effectively in many different scenarios with their mentor, fellow apprentices, and independently in accomplishing each day’s goals. Regular tasks include checking herd health, fence, and water, moving cattle according to the rotational grazing plan, tagging calves, maintaining infrastructure, and processing cattle through a squeeze chute.
  2. Working to gain proficiency in each of the skills listed on our 8-month skills checklist. Apprentices shall reach performance expectations set by the team, learn to emulate the mentor’s efficiency of work, and calibrate the quality of their work to Round River’s standards. Every day is a new challenge that we tackle within a positive and supportive team environment. The ranch features wide-open rangeland, abundant wildlife, unique riparian corridors and reservoirs surrounded by cottonwood and willow galleries. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the Colorado State Land Board, Round River Resource Management is committed to restoring the climax species of our native grassland and riparian areas, stabilizing soil,  and improving wildlife habitat. Round River is also committed to providing a pathway for young agrarian to build a career in the ranching industry by working and learning within a profitable and innovative livestock business.
  3. Learn to think like a Land Steward. An apprentice will learn to understand the complex relationship between livestock, land and people. Through the season, they will develop a sensitivity to small changes in forage, water, wildlife, animal impact and make decisions based on this information. The ideal apprentice will demonstrate curiosity for and commitment to the unique business mechanics that allow Round River to operate and influence our decision-making.

Applicants should have a love of the ranching lifestyle and an interest in production agriculture and land stewardship. This apprenticeship is well suited to a quick learner comfortable asking for additional training and mentor time and the ability to thrive under strict time constraints when needed. This apprenticeship is best suited for an independent learner.

What an apprentice will learn: 

Successful candidates will learn about and participate in all aspects of ranch operations and will develop an appreciation for conservation and regenerative ranch management practices. Hands on learning opportunities will include, but are not limited to:

  • High-tensile electric and barbed-wire fencing
  • Water delivery systems
  • Low-stress stockmanship and health management
  • Beef Quality Assurance
  • Ecological restoration and rangeland monitoring
  • Holistic Management
  • General maintenance of vehicles, equipment and facilities
  • Company policy development

This apprenticeship is well suited to an apprentice who is a proactive and quick learner, able to move smoothly and quickly from learning a new skill to being independent with completing a chore or task. The apprentice will work with Louis, Marcos and Christopher to refine skills and perform a variety of ranch and land improvement tasks. Daily livestock care (health monitoring, supplementation and pasture movements), building and maintaining ranch infrastructure and equipment (fences, water pipelines, buildings and vehicles), land and range monitoring and low-stress stockmanship are important learning points at Round River.

Nuts and Bolts


Why we offer this apprenticeship: Since its creation in 2008 it has been Round River’s mission to provide opportunities to develop an appreciation for conservation and to teach the land and livestock management skills associated with regenerative ranching. Round River has developed an intensive intern/apprenticeship/journeyman program on the Brett Gray Ranch to develop the skills and knowledge deemed essential to sustainable ranching. Through the program we aim to address the increasing average age of farmers and ranchers, the steady increase in world population, Global Warming, and the continuous degradation of our natural resources. It is urgent and critically important that we provide a new generation of young, innovative professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully operate an economically profitable and ecologically regenerative agricultural businesses. To support regenerative agriculture there must be opportunities for a new generation of producers to learn and grow, much like Aldo Leopold’s Round River and its continuous flow of life. With high startup cost and the limited opportunities to learn these skills our apprenticeship program is designed to introduce and teach the skills necessary to operate a regenerative ranching business. ​

Start Date: March 1st Preferred

Stipend: Round River provides a $700.00/month stipend to apprentices and an additional $100.00/month grocery stipend. The salary stipend is paid bi-weekly and direct deposited to your bank. The grocery stipend is direct deposited as a reimbursement at the end of each month. In addition, a $100/month equipment care bonus accrues each month and is paid at the end of the apprenticeship providing the apprentice completes the term of employment and exhibits responsible care of tools and equipment. The salary may or may not cover monthly expenses for the apprentice based on his/her needs and lifestyle. The position does not allow time for a second job, so the apprentice should consider their budgetary needs before applying. We will consider applications from couples.

Housing: Round River provides a furnished house with living room and functional kitchen located on the Brett Gray Ranch. All utilities including water, gas, electricity, landline & internet are provided. Housing may be shared with 1-2 other apprentices or mentors. It is expected that the house and personal spaces will be kept clean and organized and efforts made to conserve energy and minimize waste. Pets, spouses, significant others, and/or children cannot be accommodated on the ranch. 

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 monthly supplemental education calls, and attend the annual Quivira Conference, hosted with Holistic Management International and the American Grass-fed 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.

Time off: The apprentice will receive every other weekend (Saturday/Sunday) off and will be required to be on duty to check livestock and be available to handle emergencies on their weekends on duty. If an apprentice needs additional days for specific activities, he or she should let the mentors know as soon as possible. Be aware that the ranch and the herd dictate workflow over the course of the apprenticeship. Apprentices are allowed 3 personal days off during the apprenticeship upon request to their supervisor. 

Visitors:  Guests are allowed and encouraged on the ranch. Employees are welcome to have family and friends visit, stay overnight and experience the ranch. Employees are not required to notify management of guests, but a heads up is appreciated. All guests are subject to ranch regulations while on the property.

Food: Apprentices are responsible for their own food budget. Round River will provide a $100/month grocery stipend, ranch-raised beef and fresh eggs. 

Pets: No pets are allowed at this site during the apprenticeship.

All the fun stuff: No smoking or drugs on/in ranch, range, vehicles, housing – the ranch is a completely non-smoking, no-drug environment. 

No loud or disruptive 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: Some of the ranch vehicles have standard transmissions. Apprentices will need to know how to drive stick-shift. Previous experience with backing up trailers is not required but extremely helpful. Should the need arise for an apprentice to use a ranch vehicle for personal needs, tis can be discussed in advance with the mentors.  

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. 


  • Laundry: Washer and Dryers are in all housing.
  • Internet Connection: Internet service provided by Round River.
  • Phone Service: Cell service coverage is fairly good over most of the ranch operations. AT&T or Viaero provide the best coverage. Verizon does not work well in this area.

Additional items an apprentice should bring: Bedding, dishes and cookware are provided. All other personal items an apprentice should bring. 

Living at the Brett Gray Ranch: The Brett Gray Ranch is located 60 miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado to the east and 50 miles to the south of Limon, Colorado. This is approximately a one-hour drive, two hours round-trip. The climate is arid, with summer highs of ninety degrees and cool nights. It is a vast and open landscape that is sparsely populated with an economy focused on agriculture. The ranch itself has a small creek that runs the length of it, several reservoirs, and many cottonwood trees. There is abundant wildlife and beautiful vistas of Pike’s Peak.

COVID – 19: Since we are very isolated and much of our work is outdoors with limited exposure to outsiders.  When visiting in town, shopping or indoors at meetings, workshops, etc. we ask that all staff, interns, and apprentices follow recommended precautions for preventing Covid-19 transmission. The health, safety, and well-being of everyone working at Round River is extremely important, and when traveling to town or inviting others to visit, it is recommended that precautionary measures be taken for the sake of all who live and work at Round River.  

Want to read more?  Here’s our September 2017 New Agrarian Newsletter profile of Round River Resource Management.

2020-2021 Apprentice

Christopher Mellen

“I went to work and explored everything. I read every paper that Allan Savory published and watched his Ted Talk. I was blown away on how desertified land can be brought back to life. I was mesmerized and in awe. My heart came alive and I wanted to learn this process. I went back to the James Ranch and met with Julie. Eventually, I was introduced to David James (the Patriarch) and I was hopeful that maybe he would hire me now. Instead, he told me that if I wanted to work for him, I would need to do an internship.” – Excerpt from the New Agrarian Voices Blog

2019 Apprentice

Marcos Baez

“I was born and raised in a major city of the Dominican Republic, but growing up I spent many days in the countryside where I was exposed to the rural agrarian lifestyle which sparked a yearning for a life working outside with nature. Nonetheless, life sent me down a different path, and years later I found myself spending most of my days from dawn to dusk working inside a cubicle for a large American corporation. Many considered I was on the fast track to having a successful career climbing the corporate ladder, but all I looked forward to was the weekends. Finally, after realizing that the more you climbed the more time the job required from you, I decided to pursue a life of purpose and passion at all costs. I knew deep down that I wanted a life outside connected with the natural environment.” -Excerpt from New Agrarian Voices Blog


New Agrarian News

Get information on apprenticeships, jobs, and other opportunities.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Become a member

its the best way to support resilience on western working landscapes.