Located in the heart of the majestic hill country, Roam Ranch sits on 900 acres of awe inspiring river bottom land on the outskirts of Fredericksburg, TX. Started by first generation ranchers, Katie and Taylor’s journey was based on a vision to positively impact large-scale agriculture through producing nourishing food that improves the lives of animals, enriches the health of consumers, and regenerates the land on which we depend. Like much of the world, this once-fertile region has been industrially farmed for the past 100 years. Through persistent tilling of soil, planting of monoculture row crops, and overgrazing, ROAM Ranch was not capable of producing food without synthetic inputs upon its purchase.
Through the land stewardship of Katie and Taylor, ROAM Ranch is currently amid a large-scale ecosystem restoration process in which livestock is used to replicate the patterns of native species. Inspired by leaders in the regenerative agriculture space, the ranch is operated in a holistic context that utilizes high intensity planned grazing methods. Emulating the biodiversity found in nature, ROAM Ranch is a multispecies operation in which the animals symbiotically support each other, increase the overall health of the land, and improve the resilience of the farm. Roam Ranch raises the finest grass-fed and free-range bison, pork, chicken, and turkey year round.
ROAM Ranch focuses on restoring ecological health by focusing on soil. Through monitoring key soil health indicators such as organic matter, carbon concentration, water permeability, and a handful of other biological markers, ROAM Ranch is able to track and document ecological restoration over time!
The Soil for Water project has set up two transects on the Roam Ranch in two distinct areas. They are as follows:
Transect one is in the Pedernales Pasture, which is heavily degraded and compacted. The ranch managers Cody and Julia Spencer have applied two cover crops to the pasture in the past year. The first cover crop, planted in November of 2018 consisted of a cool season blend of rye, oats, vetch and clover. The second cover crop, planted in April of 2019 consisted of a warm season blend of cowpea, mung bean, sorghum sudangrass, pearl millet and browntop millet. The bison have grazed these paddocks twice in the past year. The 2019 warm season cover will be allowed to rest for the spring and summer and grazed by the bison in the fall with high intensity (10,000 + lbs./acre). The desired goal in this pasture is to reactivate the microbial activity in the soil with pasture cover cropping and animal activity. Thus leading to reduced compaction, improved soil water holding capacity, increased coverage and biodiversity of native plants, and improved forage yields.
Transect two is in a riparian next to Cave Creek. The riparian area along the transect already has a good amount of high succession grasses such a Switch grass, little Bluestem, and Indian grass. The riparian area will be mob grazed by the buffalo once per year for a short duration (less than one day). The desired goal for this transect is to see if these higher successional grasses move up the riparian area further into the pasture, increase plant growth and increase biodiversity in the actual riparian area.
To learn more about Roam Ranch visit this link.