Cattle Cooperative Goals
A view taken by Hollister Ranch landowners, particularly those who are members of the Hollister Ranch Cattle Cooperative (Coop), is that the Ranchland’s ecological landscape has co-evolved for over 200 years with cattle as the primary large mammal grazer; what one sees today as rangeland is a result of this co-evolution (Benech-Field and McCarty 2000). Cattle are considered a mechanism for large scale land management. Maintaining the rangelands in a largely unfragmented condition, that is, not broken into segments by developments, roads and fences that prohibit movement of the cattle, is the goal of the Hollister Ranch Co-op since range fragmentation generally leads to degradation of the available rangeland. Researchers interested in aspects of terrestrial biology who are familiar with Hollister Ranch consider the ranchlands to be in excellent ecological condition. In response to a recent recommendation to keep cattle out of riparian areas, the Hollister Ranch Co-op is in the process of establishing 26 new water sources to areas away from riparian zones (Benech-Field, pers. comm.).
The Cattle Cooperative's goals are:
The operation's success is dependent upon profitability. However, profitability is not the priority, preservation of our resource rangeland and environment is. Preservation of our resource is the first step to preserving agricultural production, ultimately protecting profit potential and our Ag-status.
BENEFITS OF THE CO-OP
The number one benefit of reason being our Ag-status with relationship to the Williamson Act. The majority of owners have come to enjoy watching the annual cycle of our operation; calves being born, round-ups, brandings, working cowboys, growing of crops, stockers decorating the hillsides etc. The sense of being a part of a historical operation and realizing that cattle grazing might very well be the best utilization of the property's resource has be realized by many. And most importantly the Co-op has been a management tool to enhance the environment. everyone appreciates the added fire protection by grazing combustible fuels.
A 14,000 acre historical cattle ranch with the carrying capacity of 2000 head of cattle, located along 8 miles of the most pristine California coastline available to anyone's eyes, continues to operate a viable commercial cattle operation. The operation as it is constituted today has been in business close to 20 years. Recently receiving over 14 inches of rain, bringing on an almost florescent green blanket of range grass, looks forward to another good grass year. The aesthetics and atmosphere provided by such an operation will be enjoyed by hundreds of people who have a common interest, the beautiful Hollister Ranch.