Grazing Resources

Montezuma County has a long heritage of agricultural history. Much of our agricultural is dominated by winter wheat, dryland bean production, and haying land. There is, however, a significant amount of ranching with many multi-generational families continuing the tradition of cattle production.Our area’s ranching systems are predominantly focused on cow-calf operations, with much of the hayed product finding its way out of the county. Generations of wheat, bean, fallow cropping systems and continued hay cropping systems have caused significant soil depletion and there is a strong need for improved cropping and ranching systems to rebuild the topsoil and organic material lost to degradative practices.

According to USDA soil surveys conducted in the 1970’s many of the native soils in our area were typically between 2 and 5% organic matter, but many farms are now at 2% or less. Our semi-arid climate, and short growing season make soil building challenging, and improved cropping systems and regenerative management are drastically needed.

We believe there is a significant opportunity to improve pasture management systems for both cow-calf operations as well as integrating more animal grazing into the management of perennial pasture and cropland systems as a method for increasing the regeneration of soils and improving the economic viability of our agricultural community.

Resource Links


Follett, Ronald F. et al. Soil Carbon Sequestration in Grazing Lands: Societal Benefits and Policy Implications. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. January 2010.


Frisch, Tracy. SOS: Save Our Soils, Dr. Christine Jones Explains the Life-Giving Link Between Carbon and Healthy Topsoil. Acres: The Voice of Eco-Agriculture. Vol. 45, No. 3. March 2015.


Jones, Dr. Christine. Building soil carbon with Yearlong Green Farming. Evergreen Farming. September Newsletter 2007.