Alec Jacobson is a photographer and writer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, who likes to dive deep into slow-moving stories. Drawing on his studies in Anthropology, French and Arabic at Amherst College, he prefers to be the only...
The Phillips family works with Beefmaster cattle, a breed developed in America that is adapted to the environment of the prairie unlike older breeds which require ranchers to adapt the ranch to the cattle.
The American prairie was shaped in part by bison and it thrives when it is churned periodically by ungulate hooves. The Phillips family uses a cattle herding method to optimize that impact that seems to be improving the quality of the land and encouraging increased carbon sequestration.
Duke Phillips III and his family are on a mission to preserve their ranching heritage and conserve western prairie land by building an environmentally and economically sustainable cattle business. I spent a few days on the Chico Basin Ranch in Colorado's Front Range. Duke won the lease for the land in 1999 from the Colorado State Land Board and has spent the last 20 years raising his family and growing his herd while working in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. I was drawn to their story because they have actively positioned themselves to help bridge the divide between urban and rural Americans. City people stay in the guest house and learn how to brand and rope, while the Phillips' neighbors attend conferences on sustainable range management.