about Merlin Ranch
The "Merlin" in Merlin Ranch comes from the name of one of our family’s favorite mountains in the nearby Big Horn Range – the Merlon. Each morning we see it as we look across our hay meadows and Clear Creek.
As a kid growing up near the Big Horns, I was always mesmerized by the tallest of the peaks, "Clouds" as we knew it. Next to Cloud Peak stands a slightly smaller but less accessible mountain, the "Merlon," which requires mountaineering skill to climb. The name seemed fitting for a ranch which would be dedicated to finding a way to produce the very best cattle in the most environmentally sound way.
We moved to the ranch in 1988, just after the birth of our first daughter, and took over operations from the Wrights. It was a chance to start raising Angus in addition to our family's Gordon Ranch Hereford legacy.
Our ranch is a family outfit and committed to our community. We are located in the red scoria hills just outside beautiful Buffalo, Wyoming and we are proud to offer our beef, which we raise responsibly using principles of Holistic Resource Management and the Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Management in an effort to make our place a little better over our time here.
Our cattle are predominantly Angus and Angus-cross animals using top bulls from some of our nation’s premium breeders like Green Mountain Angus, Ken Haas, Russel-Reyes, and KG Bulls. Our cows must meet exacting standards of production and disposition, and they are ruthlessly culled on their ability to raise top performing progeny on what we raise in the hills and on the meadows.
Here at the Merlin ranch we understand that the land is at the heart of everything we do. With that comes great responsibility in terms of stewardship and land ethic. To that end, we regularly monitor our rangeland, taking note of bare ground and changes in vegetation level. We look to our livestock and carefully planned grazing rotations to improve upon the land rather than to deplete it. Our riparian areas are similarly critical to a holistic picture of our ranch management strategy. We have worked with hydrologists to understand how to monitor our rivers and use our water wisely.
We are currently enrolled in the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) program through the US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Sage-Grouse. As our ranch is located in a core Sage-Grouse nesting area, we strive to maintain the ecology for the bird and manage our range to remove or reduce threats to its existence. Wyoming is blessed with abundant natural resources and we are doing our best to ensure the future of these for generations of agriculturalists to come.
Merlin Ranch employs intensive rotational cell-grazing management to allow for adequate range rest of our pastures. This allows for better nutrition for our cattle as well as healthy native range that we are proud of. Cattle are moved, and therefore observed, regularly to assure good health and care. When needed, cattle will be doctored but they are removed from our all-natural program. Animal products are never fed to our cattle. We are a Process Verified Purveyor of: Age and Source, Non Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Verified Natural Beef, GAP certified and non-GMO cattle through IMI Global. Over the years, our buyers have been pleased with the quality of our cattle and we are anxious to know how they have performed for our customers. Thorough records are kept on all of our cattle which are used to assist in identifying great herd dams, bulls and calves. These can be obtained upon request by our buyers. Recently, we have integrated Low Stress Livestock Handling (LSLH) into our management. We stress “Quiet Stockmanship” with our cattle and found that it is as good for us as it is for them!
Merlin Ranch is a cow-calf and heifer development operation that is constantly striving to improve our cattle. We run predominately Black Angus but crossbreed to Herefords (F1 cross) to ensure hybrid vigor. They are raised on native range and home grown hay. All of our cows are bred by natural-service to herd bulls and no hormones or artificial insemination are used. We emphasize good disposition, fertility, early maturity, motherliness and gain ability. We use Angus and Hereford registered bulls with desirable EPD’s for ribeye area, fat and marbling. We breed for a short season of calving so we are able to assist with birthing if necessary and ensure that all calves get that necessary good start to life.
We calve later in the spring to match our cattle’s nutritional needs with the range growth pattern in Wyoming. Each calf is checked as soon as possible to ensure health and the ability to nurse its dam. This all-important first dose of colostrum is necessary for a lifetime of health. If the calf needs assistance, it is suckled with colostrum from its own mother or another dam in the herd, only then is it tagged for identification. First time mothers (heifers) are watched very closely and assisted in birth if necessary. Our night-calver works the late shift so we can sleep and the care the cattle receives is not compromised. We utilize the “Sand Hills Calving” method to ensure the calves are born on clean soil and decrease the chance of disease.
Our heifers are weaned at the ranch using a two-stage weaning process to decrease stress and promote health. Weaning rings are inserted, and the calves are kept at their mother’s side, until they are removed. This technique allows the calf to feel the comfort of their dam while weaning and makes the final wean an easier transition. A rigorous vaccination program is employed to aid in protection to disease especially when transitioning to a new environment. We work closely with our team and veterinary staff to ensure we have the best program out there.
We are an accredited, independent verification company who evaluates specific attributes or practices associated with livestock production and provides an unbiased assessment of the ability of any animal or group of animals to meet specific standards or claims.
Where Food Comes From, Inc., is an independent, third-party food verification company. To put it simply: We are the ultimate food nerds! We care about food, how it's grown and raised, the quality of what we eat, what farmers and ranchers do, and authentically telling that story to you.
Reputation Feeder Cattle™ (RFC) is a unique program that was developed by Verified Beef of Bozeman, Mont., one of the nation’s leading U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Process Verified Program (PVP) providers. Capitalizing on their expertise in verification, Verified Beef created Reputation Feeder Cattle as a third-party audited program that identifies quality cattle based on genetic merit, calf management and age and source.
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779 Hwy 16 East Buffalo, Wyoming 82834