Utah 2018 Ercanbrack Livestock Coalville Leopold Conservation Award Recipient

Ercanbrack Livestock

Ercanbrack Livestock’s story began amid the Great Depression with a hearty handshake and $12 an acre on the front steps of the Summit County Courthouse. Since then, four generations of ranchers have ridden the same trails and shared a passion for the land.

Ed and Dixie Ercanbrack and their adult children, Dane and Dusty, work together at making their land productive by targeting areas in need of water, regeneration and soil support.

It’s working.

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Range management projects have improved the quality of wildlife habitat, pastures for beef cattle, and the ranch’s many springs and ponds. By restoring native grasses and the health of the soil, they are reversing damage from decades of sheep grazing and coal mining. Prescribed rotational grazing lowers the threat of wildfire, as native grasses and vegetation are allowed to reseed, producing healthier forests.

Cattle watering facilities have been retrofitted so birds and bats can safely drink. Supplying a clean water supply benefits the performance of livestock and wildlife.

The vegetation, warm coal soils, and cliffs found at a reclaimed coal mine provides unique habitat for wildlife. With an influx of elk, deer, ruffed grouse, mountain lions, bobcats and bear, the 2,400-acre ranch offers limited big game hunting to others.

A Forest Stewardship Plan was developed with the Utah Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. It encourages regeneration of aspen tree groves, and eradicates musk and Canadian thistles, and other invasive species.

Conservation of grazing land works hand-in-hand with success in the cattle business. Two generations of Ercanbracks are achieving more profit with fewer cattle, by adopting innovative practices (like a fence-line weaning system) while seeking niche markets for their Angus and Simmental cattle.

The Ercanbracks host youth groups on their ranch, have participated in pro-conservation videos for fellow ranchers and consumers, and advocate for conservation issues to legislators and agricultural organizations.

“Give to the land, it will give back” is more than just a motto for those who live and work at Ercanbrack Livestock.

The family has established a conservation easement on the ranch to continue to protect, maintain and improve these resources for generations to come. This demonstrates their commitment to the land and their agricultural legacy.

Ercanbrack Livestock sets an example of what sustainable resource management looks like.


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