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Local Beef Feature: Headwaters Cattle and Guest Ranch

Follow along as Farm to Fork features local producers supplying meat for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement in Utah.


Meet Ronald and Brandie Johnson, owners of Headwaters Cattle and Guest Ranch!

Provide a brief history of your farm or ranch.

Ronald Johnson, inspired by his deep connection with the natural beauty of Boulder, Utah, embarked on a journey with his wife Brandie to create positive environmental change. Their passion for the region and commitment to global thinking and local action led them to purchase the Boulder Mountain Ranch in 2007. Drawing from Ron's experience in sustainable business practices, they aimed to promote non-dependence on fossil fuels in food supply and renewable energy.

The couple fostered a community of progressive minds to discuss and implement concrete solutions. Their engagement with Bioneers, an organization focusing on turning thought into action, spurred them to become a living example of their principles. They hosted permaculture design courses, workshops, and events at Boulder Mountain Ranch, showcasing regenerative agriculture, land management, and biomimicry. They emphasized the importance of responsible land stewardship and aimed to be the change they wished to see.

Over four years, in collaboration with Lance Pierson, the Johnsons invested their resources into a comprehensive land remediation project covering Boulder Mountain Ranch, Headwater cattle, and two additional ranches. This project laid the foundation for sustainable food production, marking the final prong of their commitment to accountable change, complementing their efforts in preservation, education, healthcare, and the arts.

Recognizing the impact of current lifestyles on the planet's well-being, the Johnsons dedicated themselves to acting one acre at a time, fostering conscientious life stewardship from the individual to the community level. Their focus on creating a new bioregional food system led to the establishment of a cattle ranch, where they strive to provide delicious, highly nutritious, affordable, and humanely cultivated beef to their local community. In doing so, the Johnsons aim to contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future.

Tell us about your farming practices.

Holistic, sustainable and ecologically friendly are the most important aspects to our land management. Our practices encompass our long term vision of providing the healthiest beef available while nurturing the land that provides it. We refuse to run cattle beyond the point that would diminish the health of our ranch. Only by carrying herd sizes that are smaller than industry standards can the land replenish itself and continue to thrive year after year. We hold these values in the  highest regard and hope our customers share this mindset.

What sets your beef or bison apart?

We never use any Pesticides or Herbicides on our fields. Our cows are kept in large pastures with lots of space, never condensed to avoid the need for antibiotics. They are naturally weaned from their mothers and thrive on a diet of mixed grasses their entire lives. Never would we send them to a feedlot to gain excessive and unhealthy weight before being butchered. 

Learn more!

Is your school participating in the LFS grant? Click here to download marketing materials to display in your cafeteria!

Click here to learn more about the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) from the USDA.

Click here to read the press release for the Local Food for Schools Cooperative Agreement Program (LFS) in Utah.


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