The Arapaho Ranch is a wonderful example of a rejuvenated effort by the Northern Arapaho Tribe to reconnect with its strong traditions as a hunter/gather society whose very existence depended on its willingness to live in harmony with nature. The Ranch's USDA Organic Certification represents a strong commitment to biodiversity, and its grass-finished, organic cattle show the Tribe's belief in sustainable agriculture.
At present, the Ranch is able to support 3500 mother cows and over 2000 head of yearlings. Through careful management, as indicated by its diligent range and wildlife monitoring programs, the Ranch expects to be able to expand the cow herd to 4500 brood cows over the next three to four years, and finish close to 3500 yearlings each year on grass. By careful monitoring of range conditions, the Ranch can ensure that the cattle will always finish on a healthy diet of grass and forbs to provide the most flavorful, highest quality beef possible.
The Arapaho Ranch, established in 1940, is the pride of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. The rich soils and unique range conditions support strong communities of native grasses and forbs that allow cattle to graze year around. At 595,000 acres, the Arapaho Ranch is the largest certified organic operation in the country.
The main goal of management is to preserve the delicate balance in nature, while keeping alive traditional Native American values. The Ranch is vigilant in its protection of the diversity of species of plants and animals found here, ranging from the major predatory species of wolves, grizzly bears, coyotes, and mountain lions, through the large wild ungulate populations of moose, elk, and mule deer, down to the smallest mammals, birds and plant species. Through careful monitoring of wildlife and range conditions, along with proper grazing management, the Ranch is able to sustain healthy ecosystems where key symbiotic relationships are allowed to flourish. One such relationship is the unique relationship between predator and prey. Wolves, for instance, by their very presence, serve a unique purpose of discouraging wild ungulates and cattle from lingering too long in delicate riparian areas, thereby allowing these key ecosystems to flourish. This has the added bonus of preventing the spread of disease, which, in turn, reduces, or, in many cases, eliminates the need for antibiotics. The monitoring of these key symbiotic relationships is just one of the many tools the Arapaho Ranch uses to support its strong belief in the sustainability of organic ranching.