Beth is the fourth generation of our family to work the Lazy R. She moved home and began managing the business with her dad, Maurice, in 2010, after completing her studies at Western Washington University. She went on to earn her MBA at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, a small independent business school dedicated to using the tools of business for environmental and social good. Beth is also the co-founder of LINC Foods, a worker-farmer-owned cooperative food hub based in Spokane. Beth became the first (and only?) second generation certified Holistic Management educator in 2015 after completing her training in Extremadura, Spain, with Byron Shelton. She has had the honor of teaching and studying holistic management in Turkey, Mexico, and throughout the United States. Along with fellow Holistic Management practitioner, Sandra Matheson, Beth is a co-facilitator of the New Cowgirl Camp, a 5 day intensive course for women interested in learning the ins and outs of regenerative ranching. Beth is married to her high school sweetheart, Matt Bellmer (who is now a school teacher) and is the proud step-mama to Matt’s 17-year-old kiddo, Audrey. They have two extremely cute and lazy dogs named Phoebe and Mayday. Beth is a very mediocre yodeler but this does not discourage her in the slightest.
Maurice Robinette & Ellen Thomas
Maurice is the third generation of our family to run the Lazy R. After growing up hunting and fishing the channeled scablands of eastern Washington, Maurice headed to western Montana in search of better flyfishing and to flex his new degree in rural sociology. He ended up landing himself a Butte chick, Ellen Thomas, and in 1981 Maurice and Ellen moved back to the ranch, survived by selling firewood, and established a small herd of their own. Maurice operated the ranch with his dad, Gene for nearly 30 years. They had a very unique knack for arguing over issues they both agreed on, a family tradition Beth and Maurice carry on to this day. Meanwhile Ellen tucked in a 30 year career as a Teamster, honoring her good Butte Labor upbringing. Ellen and Maurice also have a younger daughter, Jacqueline, who is a bit scared of cows but we still like her. She is otherwise a badass. Today Maurice keeps most things running around the ranch and is dedicated to his daily chainsaw yoga practice. Ellen keeps the books for the ranch and is a relentless stroller, reader, crossword puzzler, and is apprehensive of muskrats (for good reason.
The real stars of the operation. Our cows are the result of many years of careful and selective breeding. The foundation of the herd is Angus dominant composite commercial cows. They are tough, rugged, adapted to our climate and landscape. These cows, and their mothers, and grandmothers and great-great-great-grandmothers have sustained themselves on the Lazy R. In 2010 we began to introduce Aberdeen Angus genetics, an Australian offshoot of the Angus breed based more on the 1960’s body style, and more closely resembling the ancient Scottish Angus. These cattle are more adapted to finishing in a pasture system. Their smaller body frame allows them to put more energy into muscle and fat and the finish quality of the grass-finished carcass is outstanding. The resulting cross is a smaller, more compact animal that finishes well on grass while maintaining the rugged qualities of decades of range cows. We breed all our own replacement heifers, which means virtually every cow in our herd was born and raised on the ranch. She learned at her mothers side where the watering points of the ranch were, how the gates connect the paddocks. We were the first human beings each animal born on the ranch sees, and we are usually the last. Their amazing bodies allow us to harvest solar energy and turn it into nutrient dense food while sequestering soil carbon, and preserving natural landscapes and wildlife habitat. We always strive to create more life than we take. We thank and honor our cattle each and every day!
The sheep are a relatively new addition to the ranch. We raise dorper sheep, a breed originating in South Africa. Dorper sheep are hair sheep, which means they do not need to be shorn each year. Instead, they shed their wool, like wild sheep. They are a hardy breed, and our sheep are especially personable. Many of them enjoy a good scratch. They are a wonderful compliment to the cattle, as they tend to prefer forage that the cattle do not. Our flock is still small, but we look forward to growing it in the coming years. Look for lamb for sale in 2019!