Working with Wilderness
Lees Valley Station | Canterbury, New Zealand
Our Purpose

Regenerative Ranching through Properly Managed Livestock

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.
Buffalo Creek Ranch | Recluse, Wyoming
Our Projects
Our Projects
Grasslands is entrusted with the stewardship of 320,000 acres, ranging from the wetlands of peninsular Florida to the alpine tundra of western Colorado to the tussock grasslands of New Zealand.
This combined land base supports 14,000 beef cattle, 20,000+ sheep, and 700 European red deer. Approximately 93% of our total area is native rangeland dominated by its original indigenous plant and animal communities. Each of our ranches is a true working wilderness, supporting not only our regeneratively managed herds of domestic livestock, but abundant populations of thriving wild herbivores as well.

Western States Ranches

Western Colorado
and Eastern Utah
210,000 Acres
Western States Ranches encompasses an aggregation of four US Forest grazing permits in the national forest system of western Colorado, a Bureau of Land Management winter grazing permit near Cisco, Utah, and multiple irrigated hay and winter pasture farms in the Uncompahgre Valley near the towns of Cedaredge, Olathe, Delta, and Montrose—all in Colorado. All in, we cover about 210,000 acres and tend over 4,000 head of cattle. 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.

Lees Valley Station

South Island, Canterbury,
New Zealand
67,000 Acres
Grasslands took over the management of Lees Valley Station in September of 2013, and we added a complementary grass-finishing property on the Canterbury Plains, Gleneyre, in 2015. Lees Valley encompasses a total of about 67,000 acres, and Gleneyre adds another 900 acres of flat and fertile perennial pasture. Lees Valley itself is an inland basin encompassing the headwaters of multiple rivers—the Whistler, Townsend, Lilburn, and Ashley—all of which converge at the property’s low point, where the blended flow pierces the sinuous, precipitous wilderness of the Ashley River Gorge. With a range in elevation of 5,000 vertical feet, the valley and its surrounding mountain ranges comprise one of the most biologically unique, diverse, and scenic spots on the South Island. Our Angus and Hereford cross beef cattle, Perendale and Romney sheep, and European red deer range from the valley flats to the tops of the mountains over the course of the year. With its diverse mix of elevations, habitats, topography, and numbers, species, and age classes of livestock, Lees Valley poses the ultimate management challenge and test of holistic planned grazing. Naturalized wild red deer, pigs, and chamois thrive across the entire station, along with an abundance of native avian life.

Blue Head Ranch

Arcadia, Florida
31,300 Acres
The Blue Head stretches across 31,300 acres of interior peninsular Florida, and Grasslands has been at the helm since November of 2014. The landscape sports a wild mosaic of natural wetlands and marshes, richly diverse, native palmetto prairies, longleaf and slash pine forest, cabbage palm and live oak hammocks, and subtropical planted pastures dominated by bahia and hermarthria grass. Wily and diminutive Florida whitetails, feral hogs, Osceola turkeys, alligators, and gopher tortoises are abundant throughout, in addition to a vast array of other reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fish. The Blue Head supports a fascinating herd of over 7,000 corriente, cracker, and longhorn cattle—descendants of the original Spanish cattle that arrived on Florida’s shores over 500 years ago. These cattle can make a living, with no outside help or supplement, in the humid, hot, buggy, swampy, snake-ridden, mosquito-laden, lightning-stricken, and just plain harsh environment of southern Florida.

Buffalo Creek Ranch

Recluse, Wyoming
11,000 Acres
With its open grassy bottoms, pine-covered ridges, rocky outcrops, and badland bluffs, Buffalo Creek is an 11,000 acre rancher’s paradise. We constantly move the ranch’s 400-head cowherd to fresh, recovered pasture—year round—with the typical grazing event only lasting a day or two, and in some cases allowing pastures to rest for over a year before being grazed again. The ranch’s highly diverse and healthy habitat attracts herds of both mule and whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain elk, pronghorn, Merriam’s turkeys, and sharp-tailed grouse, making it a hunter’s paradise as well as a rancher’s paradise.
Past Projects

Belle Fourche Land and Livestock

Butte County, South Dakota
15,000 Acres
Our first project, BFLL put us on the regenerative ranching map in the spring of 2010. We stewarded the ranch’s 15,000 acres of native, very high quality short grass prairie till our investors elected to sell in 2017. We had some great years of profitability and learning in South Dakota. We ran a lot of cattle out there on those vast sweeps of western wheatgrass—mostly custom grazed yearlings from May to Oct.

Cinch Buckle Ranch

Broadus, Montana
39,000 Acres
Once established in South Dakota, in the winter of 2011 we expanded just across the border into the eastern edge of Montana. The Cinch Buckle is a vast sea of spectacular native prairie—another great grass ranch incorporating nearly 39,000 acres. Once Grasslands’ management contract expired, the ranch’s care merged into the custody of another progressive ranching entity from western Montana, so its careful and mindful stewardship persists to this day.

Antelope Springs Ranch

Cohagen, Montana
53,000 Acres
From the Cinch Buckle we expanded north and little west into the heart of eastern Montana’s shortgrass prairie, to Antelope Springs, near the tiny establishment of Cohagen—about an hour northwest of Miles City. Antelope Springs encompasses 53,000 acres of rolling prairie and badland buttes. Our transition away from Antelope Springs was only partial, since our on-the-ground management team assumed the lease of the ranch from our original investors. We still collaborate with Antelope Springs via custom grazing deals with cattle owned by Buffalo Creek Ranch.

Hana Ranch

Maui, Hawaii
This was an interesting and somewhat crazy locale to try and raise cattle—way out on the eastern tip of Maui. Grasslands was hired to get the cattle operation off the ground for a new ownership entity based on the mainland. The crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean formed our bottom boundary, and an impenetrable swath of native rainforest hemmed us in on the top, with a chaotic mix of native and exotic grasses, shrubs, and trees hugging the slopes and benches in between. We raised several hundred head of Beefmaster-influenced mother cows, and grass-finished many of our young stock, marketing them through Maui Cattle Company—a consortium of local ranchers selling beef across the state of Hawaii. We did our best out there at Hana for a little over two years. We came away with many lessons, a few successes, and some admitted frustrations—but mostly we’ll never forget the surreal novelty of grazing rich pangola pasture right down to the beach, framed by a background of breaching whales.
Western States Ranches | Western Colorado and Eastern Utah
Harness the Power of Plants & People
Our Team
Our team
While our land, livestock, and wildlife are all special beyond measure, it’s the Grasslands human community that really makes it all work.
We’re blessed to have had multiple employees with us since nearly day 1 on each property. These folks are all cut from “the old cloth”—they are badass warriors, yet steeped in humility, and work harder and with more commitment and passion and skill than should be humanly possible. Ranching is hard work—no matter the geography—but ranching in big, mountainous, timbered, swampy, or insanely steep country is really, really hard. Our folks literally, and happily, put their lives on the line every day—indeed none of them would have it any other way.
Jim Howell — CEO
Jim’s life and career have centered on ecologically regenerative and economically profitable livestock ranching.
He is passionate about the intersection of wilderness, wildlife, domestic livestock, food and fiber production, and land-based human cultures—all of which overlap and can harmoniously coexist in the space of grassland agriculture. In addition to managing his family’s own ranch in western Colorado for 17 years, he has managed and consulted for large landscape working ranches, mostly in native rangeland environments, across the American West and Northern Great Plains, the South Island of New Zealand, the Pampean and Patagonian regions of Argentina, and peninsular Florida. He has also traveled extensively, working on, visiting and capturing stories of progressively managed ranches across southern Africa, Australia, and Mexico. Much of his lessons are captured in his book, For the Love of Land—Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image. He co-founded Grasslands, LLC in 2010, and has served since then as its CEO. He lives in Boulder, Colorado - USA - with his wife Daniela and daughters Savanna and Mia.
Blue Head Ranch
Ron, Kathleen, Racer, Mark, Charlie, Jason, Tiffany, Rowdy, Jake, and Porsche
Western States Ranches
Tyler, Leilani, Aviana, Marc, Mitch, Amy, Matt T., Matt L., Miranda, Sam, Brandon, Brandy, Emmet, Garrett, Reagan, and Lexxie
Lees Valley Station
Rapha, Annie, George, Jenny, Will, Deb, Wendy, Dennis, Dave, Verity, Jarod, and Lionel
Buffalo Creek
Nolan, Eva, Shaylee, Blaise, and Brody
Grasslands “Headquarters”
Boulder, Fort Collins, Stevensville, and Christchurch
Will, Nicola, Ryan, Bethany, Rebecca, and Daniela, Jim's life partner, whose cheerful support has been critical to making all this possible!
Ron Goddard
Ranch Manager
Ron Goddard
Ranch Manager
Ron Goddard
Ranch Manager
Ron Goddard
Ranch Manager
Ron Goddard
Ranch Manager
Lees Valley Ranch
Blue Head Ranch | Arcadia, Florida
Our Partners

Former Partners who were critical to the evolution of Grasslands

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© Grasslands LLC 2020