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The James Ranch

Durango, Colorado

The James Ranch in Durango, Colorado, is located in the Animas River Valley, nearly 6,600 ft above sea level. The 400-acre ranch has been in the James family since 1961 and is now home to the original owners, four of their five grown children, and many grandchildren — three generations work the ranch. 

Each family has their own business on the land and is responsible for its success. The James family raises pasture-fed and finished cattle, grow flowers and vegetables, have a tree operation, a dairy and cheese-making business, and a successful market and grill where they sell products from the ranch.

While each farm operation is owned and operated separately, each enhances the other. 

Chickens follow cows to eat the larvae in the cow manure, cutting down on fly populations while getting the nutrition they need. Pigs forage in the tree farm lands and are fed whey, a by-product from the dairy and cheese business. The success of the market and grill helps to bring in income for all of the products that are sold there.

Today’s ranches are hard pressed to keep young people on the land, but the James family has bucked this trend. And each year the James Ranch takes in an apprentice from the Quivera Coalition’s New Agrarian training program to pass along the family’s knowledge of Regenerative Farming.