The Ranch

The Deep Springs cattle operation currently runs approximately 300 head of cattle. The herd spends the majority of the year grazing on public land. During July, August, and September, the cows graze high in the White Mountains and in Fish Lake Valley. During these summer months, the cattle are watched and moved by the student cowboys.

In the fall, the cattle are brought back down into the valley and each cow is tested for pregnancy. Any infertile cows are sold, while the rest feed on the valley floor until spring, rotating through five partitioned sections. The cattle generally calve from December until April, and in the middle of May all but the smallest calves are gathered to be given brands, ear notches, and vaccinations. The bull calves are also castrated. The cattle rotate back through the valley once more before being herded back into the mountains for the summer.

Deep Springs currently runs its allotment through a Resource Management Team (RMT) based on the goals of promoting rangeland health and long-term sustainability. The RMT is made up of representatives from the college (president, science faculty, and ranch manager), government agencies (including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management, University of California Cooperative Extension, and the United States Forest Service), and local interest groups (such as the California Native Plant Society). The RMT meets twice each year to discuss any issue involving grazing and natural resources, including range conditions, the annual grazing schedule, wildlife concerns, erosion control, etc. Decisions made by the RMT guide the actions of both the college and governing agencies.