Farm406 Vol 3 Iss 2

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29 farm406 In fact, she is an apprentice rancher, two words most people never hear together. Apprenticeships are most oen associated with electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and pipefiers, not farmers and ranchers. But a new program making its way into Montana is helping make apprenticeships a normal part of Montana's ranching and farming operations. Most people who run a farm or a ranch learned how by growing up on a farm or ranch. But, if like Kate, you weren't born into it, the chances of you becoming a farmer or rancher, especially on the large scale rangelands of the American West, are prey slim. Approximately 790 million acres, or 41 percent of US lands excluding Alaska, are grazed by livestock. Around 58,122,878 million acres, or 62.5% of Montana, is agricultural land and 62% of that land is in livestock grazing and pasture. e average age of US ranchers and farmers in 2012 was 58. Only 6 percent of family operations were owned by people 35 years old or younger, and more than 30 percent of family operations were owned by people 65 and older. Combine those statistics together and we potentially have a large-scale land management problem heading towards us. Who tends these lands in the future—and how existing knowledge of them and strategies for their stewardship get shared and implemented—will have a consequential impact on all of Montana's communities. Cattle move down the shoot as apprentice Kate Clyatt makes sure they have all been vaccinated. The next day Kate will be helping gather and sort calves for branding. This is the first year the Mannix Ranch has hosted an apprentice through the Quivira Coalition. Kate Clyatt moves the beeves out to pasture after vaccination and deworming. Kate is learning a variety of skills on the ranch including horsemanship.

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