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Ranchlands is seeking a large-scale cattle ranch. Learn more!

The Ranchlands Foundation


Ranchlands Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing educational services to members of the ranching industry, aspiring and future ranchers, and the public at-large throughout the United States.

Our mission is to unleash the power of ranchers to build community, restore ecosystems, grow food, and bring people back to nature.


Our Vision

Ranchlands envisions a future where hundreds of thousands of acres are being stewarded by a growing group of young ranchers, cooperatively supported by their community.

What We Do

Intern & Apprenticeships

Over 250 interns and 25 apprentices have received immersive training in ranching and land management careers.

Bird Banding

Over 35,000 birds captured and banded at the second-longest running banding station in the state of Colorado.

Educating the Public

We bridge the gap between ranchers and the general public through community engagement programs and storytelling that reaches over 100,000 people.

Growing the next generation of ranch managers

Our Apprenticeship Program

While ensuring ranchers of today have access to the land, resources, and support they need, we’re simultaneously developing the ranchers of tomorrow and making sure the future of American agriculture is never in question. 

Our apprenticeship program teaches young people how to be leaders in ranch management by taking in large degrees of responsibility in a professional ranching operation. Apprentices learn through shouldering the complex responsibilities of taking care of a herd of cattle. Upon successful completion of the two-to-six year program, apprenticeship graduates are eligible for full-time placement at a Ranchlands-managed ranch or on other ranches.

I hope that my story inspires people to try for something that they're really passionate about. It can be easy to write yourself off if you don't have experience, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

Lynae Risinger Ranch Apprentice

My journey on the Chico began when I was 12 years old, exploring these 87,000 acres on horseback with my best friend. If you had told me I would find myself here 13 years later, learning everything that one needs to know in order to take care of a piece of land as a ranch management apprentice, there's not a chance I would have believed you.

Anja Stokes Ranch Apprentice

When I first started as an intern at the Chico, I didn't know how to ride, and I learned by being thrown into the fire, carried all across the prairie, often all day, by experienced horses who taught me how to ride, how to sit in the saddle, how to sort cattle.

Brandon Sickel Ranch Apprentice

Meet an Apprentice

Mike Giordano

Why Ranching is the Key to Conservation

For four generations, we have been working with nature, managing and stewarding the land in a way that mimics natural ecosystems and relies on the inherent power of the land itself. We have been guiding the health of rangeland and protecting the integrity of intact natural ecosystems in the American West by working in partnership with the natural environment, not against it. We use cattle as a tool to disturb the surface of the land to achieve conservation goals by recycling nutrients and improving the water cycle, mimicking the symbiotic relationship between the North American grasslands and the great bison herds of the past. 

What we’re doing is not new or novel. Hundreds of other ranchers are doing the same. But they are often not considered, by themselves or others, as conservationists or ecological stewards, and they are struggling financially. 

We see economic diversification as being directly linked to responsible conservation processes because it creates flexibility in determining livestock carrying capacities during drought, reducing the stress on the ecosystem.

We grow food, build community, and conserve nature while giving people access back to the wild.

What Your Contribution Supports

Donations to the Ranchlands Foundation support the apprenticeship program, running the bird banding station, creating education materials to share with the public, and financing the development of a new cooperative model.



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