ATV / UTV | Adventures | 19.08.22

Roam Free Ranch: raising bison to power regenerative agriculture

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Being outdoor lovers, we’re always inspired by those who dedicate their lives not just to enjoying our great outdoors, but making it even better for future generations.

Meet Jon Sepp and Brittany Masters, who left their former lives behind to devote themselves fully to regenerative agriculture. Here’s what they have to say about raising bison through regenerative agriculture and life on the Roam Free Ranch in beautiful Western Montana.

Skipping the grind to pursue one’s passion

Jon Sepp loves adventure. You need it when you’re testing parachutes in the military. But as a veteran, Jon couldn’t imagine having a regular 9 to 5 job. So he decided to pursue one of his passions instead: bison.

Brittany Masters, meanwhile, is a self-proclaimed health freak. She has long been obsessed with food quality and natural living. After some gentle convincing from Jon, she agreed to leave her cushy corporate job in Seattle behind to take up the rugged life of bison ranching full-time.

With virtually no experience or funding, these can-do first-generation ranchers turned their dream into reality by building Roam Free Ranch. They’ve never looked back.

Some beasts just want to roam.
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Making a change for the better with Roam Free Ranch

Roam Free Ranch is a 3500-acre free roaming sustainable bison ranch in Hot Springs, Montana.

Its owners, Jon and Brittany, are firm believers in the old Boy Scout campground rule of leaving the land better than you found it. So that’s the mission they gave their ranch: To be better – better than what the modern food system has to offer.

Today, their approach to ranching is restoring health to the native ecosystem, preserving soil integrity, and considering animal welfare and fair working practices for the team. Thanks to regenerative agriculture practices, Roam Free Ranch is making a change for the better.

Why did you choose to practice regenerative agriculture on your ranch?
Our ranch is in the temperate grasslands of U.S. – an ecosystem created and maintained by bison. It is the most endangered ecosystem in North America and the second-most endangered ecosystem in the entire world.

Given our goal of supporting food security for all and for generations to come, we felt it was important that our ranch preserve this ecosystem.
Farming practices that provide for today – and even more for tomorrow

Regenerative agriculture protects and restores endangered ecosystems. It also produces healthier food.
Our bison roam freely at all times and are raised without antibiotics or hormones. That means they are happier, healthier animals, which makes for a healthier, leaner, more nutrient-dense food source.

Regenerative agriculture is more than just sustainable. Every year that goes by, the land gets better and better. You get fewer issues with weeds, so the soil continuously improves and plants flourish. It’s easier for the bison herd to grow, which lets you produce more food. It’s a win-win on all levels.

Ranching obviously involves a lot of tough chores. How do Camso track systems help you tackle daily ranch work?

Camso Powersports side by side track system Roam Free Ranch Montana Mountains Agriculture Regenerative 1000x500 1
We use our Camso track systems on our ATVs and UTVs for all sorts of daily tasks: fencing, carrying the team, hauling tools and materials, feeding the bison, carrying water for wildfires, and so on.

We’d be pretty much lost without our Camso track systems. Our ranch is mostly steep, rocky terrain. Without them, we’d only be able to reach 20% of our land. Camso track systems let us access the entire 100 acres.

We use our Camso UTV 4S1 track systems year-round – ice, deep snow, whatever the conditions are. It’s reassuring to know that we can access any corner of the ranch safely and reliably – especially when we’ve got an emergency situation on our hands. Not having to worry about flats is also nice.

Track systems let us carry more weight and therefore more items on our vehicles. That means we can get more done in less time – whether it’s checking fences or moving the herd from one pasture to another. When you’re working a 100-acre ranch, being able to cut just one trip out of your day can mean huge time savings.

Another great thing about track systems is that they do a better job of preserving the grass. They don’t compact the soil, which is great for regenerative agriculture and our footprint.

Beast up your UTV

Looking for track systems with impressive ride quality and performance – including in deep snow, swamps, marshes, mud, and muskeg? Check out the Camso UTV 4S1 track system.
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Any other ranch tasks you can only do with track systems?

Bison are way too fast and dangerous for the team to approach on foot. So, we always use our vehicles equipped with track systems when we need to move a herd of a couple hundred bison from one pasture to another. Or to bring them back into their pasture if they happen to get out, because only track systems can get us to where the bison have gone. We’ve been in this sticky situation a few times.

Basically, we use our vehicles to approach the bison and bait them with treats. The animals come to associate the vehicle with treats, so that builds confidence. After a while, we can get close enough to the bison.

Did you know?

Bison can run up to 35 miles per hour. Male bison (called bulls) weigh up to 2,000 lbs. and stand 6 ft. tall. Females (called cows) weigh up to 1,000 lbs. and reach 4-5 ft. in height.
Coming into such close contact with such fast and powerful animals must be quite the experience.

It is! Normally, bison cannot be fed by hand because they’re too fearful of people. But one of our cows – who we call “Goopy”, due to a lingering eye infection – has been letting us feed her by hand from a young age.

Our bison know that when we show up in the UTV, there’s usually pallets in the trunk. One day when “Goopy” saw the UTV, she walked right up to it and started poking around for pallets. Jon decided to give her one by hand and has been doing so ever since.
Want to make your UTV or ATV a different beast? Find the ideal track system for your vehicle type and make with ATV and UTV track system finder tool.

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