Guptill Ranch is a 7,000-acre cattle operation that Pat and Mary Lou Guptill have owned and managed for the past 25 years. With their five children, they are caretakers of this special landscape in western South Dakota. The area features grasslands with rolling hills and a wooded creek running through the ranch.
In 2000, as their children grew older, the Guptills decided to make some important changes in their land and resources management to lower production costs, enhance the health of the land and bring their family hom
They transitioned from calving in March to May, began focusing on grass-fed cattle, utilized low-stress stockmanship techniques, implemented intensive custom grazing, eliminated the use of chemicals on their land and in their livestock and monitored the land daily to protect the soil. With a goal of making the land better for future generations, innovation and change have been beneficial to the operation in the form of improvements to rangeland, cattle health and profitability.
An important part of their wildlife management is deferred grazing on their wooded creek during the nesting season and throughout most of the year. “Many ranchers have adopted new conservation practices to protect their natural resources,” wrote NRCS District Conservationist, Nina Pekron, in her nomination letter. “Pat and Mary Lou have taken that one step further – they share their knowledge so others may follow in their footsteps.”