The J Bar L Ranch is over 20,000 acres of deeded and leased land in southwestern Montana. Working cattle ranch with guest services and grass fed beef sales.
“In some places, we have 4-5 times the amount of grass that we had before, and certainly better mineral cycling, and utilization of forage.” –Bryan Ulring, Ranch Manager
When owner, New York philanthropist Peggy Dulany, bought the J Bar L Ranch in 2000, she had a vision for the property. It was a grand vision that included sustaining ranching as an industry and way of life to nourish the body, mind and soul. With over 20,000 acres of leased and deeded land in southwestern Montana, she had to work with the Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, and Red Rocks Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Peggy, ranch manager, Bryan Ulring, and the rest of the J Bar L team began consulting with Holistic Management International’s Certified Educator, Roland Kroos, in order to bring that vision into reality. The result has been that products and services now include: utilization of a variety of private and public lands with innovative grazing management, improved forage from that grazing, increased wildlife populations to keep the land owners happy, income generation from a spectacular viewscape, the opportunity for guests to experience a working ranch that is “newby” friendly, low-cost production of cattle due to grazing management, and innovative niche marketing strategies to tap into consumers who identify with their grazing management strategies.
There is a big focus on sustainability on the ranch with solar-powdered guest houses, a greenhouse to grow their own produce, and a plan to pipe the nearby warm spring water into the greenhouse to naturally warm it. Bryan Ulring explains, “The guest program is critical not only to the economics of the ranch, but also as a formative experience for the guests. We want them to see and experience what we do to better understand sustainable ranching.”
Certainly Bryan and the rest of the J Bar L team are a living example of how managing for increased biodiversity means focusing on the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. While it takes vision to start the journey, it takes training for good management and then implementation to make that vision happen.