The ranch started with 15 acres, purchased in 2002 which had a small house and raw land. We purchased two additional adjacent parcels over the next several years while developing the operation. Barns, hay storage, fencing and corrals were built; junk hauled away, weeds mowed and burned, and roads built on the 140 acre headquarters.
Kim & Dave had been using leased cattle in their horse training operation and in 2002 bought two Criollo heifers. When the heifers were finished being worked, we bred them and had our first two calves born in 2003. We kept the heifer calf, fed out the steer and were very impressed with the flavor & quality of the beef! Over the next couple of years we purchased bred Criollo heifers and cows from heritage breeders while retaining our best heifer and bull calves to grow our herd. In 2008, we had 11 calves born.
The ranch began selling half and whole beef in 2010 and continued to grow the cattle numbers. A State Land Lease was purchased from another rancher who also leased us some of his private land. We began to search out parcels that had previously been used for grazing that still had some fencing in place. Much of this land had been sold, earmarked for development but due to the recession in 2008 development slowed, leaving the land vacant and overgrown. We set to work, writing letters to the property owners within a “pasture”, introducing ourselves and asking if they would be interested in leasing their vacant land to graze cattle on. The majority were eager to participate; the benefits being reduced property taxes and reduced fire hazard from the grazing. After repairing and replacing the fencing and installing watering systems, the cattle were moved in.
We continued with this model, wherever we found suitable vacant land and now have over 4,300 acres leased from private property owners, which comprise 10 different pastures. Our mother cows live in four separate herds in four of these pastures. Another is for the bulls to spend the winter in. The balance, we rotate the yearlings and 2 year old beef animals through as the forage permits. As the beef animals reach harvest weight, they are kept at the headquarters on irrigated pasture where they are more accessible for transport to the processor.
In 2013, we sought and received our certifications of Grass Fed, All Natural, No Hormones, No Antibiotics & No Animal By-Products for our Criollo Beef. In 2015, we began selling our individual cuts at the Prescott Farmers Market and by 2016 we were at three Farmers Markets a week as well as supplying BiGA and John’s Chophouse Restaurants and The Honeyman specialty grocer! 2017 saw our largest calf crop of 71 and a total herd of over 250 animals. The drought was exceptional in 2018 and hay was scare, which forced us to drastically cut our numbers.
In 2016 we gained access to the spent brewer’s grains from the Prescott Brewing Company’s facility in the Prescott Air Park. We began supplementing the diet of some of our beef animals with a small amount of the “mash”. When these animals were finally harvested, we had the meat analyzed at the U of A Meat Lab, along with our 100% Grass Fed Beef. The nutritional profiles were very similar and the flavor was fantastic, so a second product line was launched.
Part of our headquarters had irrigation infrastructure in place when we purchased it, so we set about making it functional and in 2019 started putting up our own hay. This has allowed us to keep our cattle, and horses, fed even in drought conditions.
Despite having our own hay, we have still had to reduce our overall cattle numbers due to the ongoing drought and development. The outside country just does not grow enough feed to sustain a large number of mother cows. Due to the decreased supply of beef, we no longer supply restaurants and currently sell our individual cuts only through The Honeyman Specialty Grocers. The ranch also sells half and whole beef as custom slaughter. Prescott Brewing Company sold their operation to Wren House Brewing Company, where we continue to have access to the spent brewer’s grains for cattle feed.
The Broken Horn D Ranch is honored to supply our neighbors with healthy, locally and sustainably raised beef!
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