Western States Ranches

Western States Ranches is a large scale grassfed beef operation managed under Grasslands LLC. We thrive in working in harmony with wilderness.

The Ranch

Western States Ranches is a large-scale grassfed beef operation located in western Colorado. We run approximately 2,500 head of cows and yearlings on 200,000+ acres, comprising a mix of irrigated properties and Federal grazing permits (USFS and BLM). All private lands are either certified organic, or in the process of being certified.

Western States Ranches is managed under Grasslands LLC. Grasslands manages extensive, wild, rugged grassland landscapes, acquired for or owned by our investor partners. We provide long term skillful stewardship of the land, livestock, and invested capital. We nurture these landscapes toward ever greater ecological integrity and financial viability while providing meaningful and satisfying careers for hard-working, land-loving people. We do this via the conversion of perennial, primarily native plant biodiversity into high-quality animal protein, improving land and habitat in the process. We thrive by working in harmony with wilderness. As our largest and most topographically and biologically diverse operation, Western States poses a tantalizing challenge to our skilled team of high country cowboys and irrigators. Grasslands assumed management of this amazing compilation of country in May of 2019, so it’s also our newest project. Our cows share their mountain and desert pastures with a profusion of wildlife, including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, black bears, Merriam’s wild turkeys, and Dusky grouse.

The Mentor

Brandon Dalton

The apprentice will spend the majority of time with Brandon Dalton, the main mentor, with opportunities to work with other team members and to interact with Jim Howell (Grasslands LLC CEO) when on site.

The Apprentice

What will an apprentice do?


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

    • intensive grazing management of cattle on irrigated properties
    • irrigating pastures
    • calving cows, and other animal husbandry
    • conservation land management 
    • An apprentice with advanced horsemanship skills may have the opportunity to spend time on grazing permitted lands.

  Nuts & Bolts

Start and End Date:  We ask that the apprentice start work March 1, 2022. The season will wrap up for the apprentice around November 1, 2022.

Stipend: $1000 monthly + beef.

Time off: One day off per week, typically on a weekend day unless the apprentice would prefer another day off.

Visitors: Visitors and overnight guests allowed. All visitors and apprentices must be respectful and responsible when on site. 

Housing:  Housing provided is a two bedroom house located on the ranch. The house is right down the road from the mentor’s home but gives the apprentice privacy.. The house is currently being renovated and will be ready by the start of the 2022 season.

Photos to come after renovation.

Food:  Apprentice will be provided beef as part of the stipend.

Pets: Well-behaved dogs are allowed. One horse can be accommodated on a case by case basis.

All the fun stuff:  Tobacco and alcohol use are permitted on site but not while on the clock. Apprentice should be prepared and sober to come to work each day.  No smoking is allowed in ranch vehicles or housing.

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. Western States 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: Apprentice will use ranch vehicles for work. Most vehicles are automatic transmission.

Personal Vehicle: A personal vehicle is highly recommended for apprentice independence on their time off but is not required for the apprenticeship.

Services available to the apprentice:

  • Washer and dryer: There is a washer and dryer in the apprentice housing.
  • Internet connection: WiFi Available in apprentice quarters.
  • What is cell phone service like on your ranch? What is the best provider for cell phone service? Service is good on the ranch. Verizon is the best provider.
  • Are there any additional items the apprentice will need for the duration of the apprenticeship? Apprentice should bring own bedding and towels. House is partially furnished.

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.

Living in Eckert, CO: Eckert is a small community located outside of Delta, Colorado. You can find grocery stores, restaurants, and a Walmart. The larger towns of Montrose and Grand Junction are both within an hours drive.


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