Ranching Through Multiple Generations

Contributed by:
Melinda Sims, a real Wyoming rancher from Sims Cattle Company.

We are Sims Cattle Company, located in Southeast Wyoming. We operate a multi-generational ranch, with four of the five generations that have been here presently living on the ranch.

Three generations of Sims’ – Kagan, Shanon, and Scott
Three generations of Sims’ – Kagan, Shanon, and Scott

We feel a great importance on including all of our generations in all aspects of the ranch, from business decisions to everyday work. Nobody is excluded, from the youngest (age 8) to the oldest (age 84). Our ultimate goal is to create a business that is appealing to us, our kids, our

Jentry helping her great grandpa bring cattle up the alley.
Jentry helping her great grandpa bring cattle up the alley.
grandkids, and many more generations to come, just as our forefathers did for us. That’s not saying that we expect all generations to return to the ranch, but we hope that they desire to be here.

One of the ways that we try to make it appealing is to make ranch work fun! We are serious about getting the job done, but we also like to make it enjoyable in the process. If we’ve had a wreck moving cows (like we all do!), and it has been a rough day on the kids (ages 11 and 8), then we try

Jentry helping move pairs
Jentry helping move pairs
to take them on an easy move the next day, just so they have a good experience to outweigh the rough one. We don’t want them growing up feeling like it’s all hard, miserable work, even though there are days… We’d like for them to remember the fun times so that enjoyable work is an enticement for them to ranch in the future.

Another way is to make the ranch as profitable as possible. If the kids see Dad and Mom barely scraping by and not able to enjoy life, what is the draw to come back to that lifestyle? If the kids see a life that is comfortable with time for a vacation now and then, and fun family times in between, then that’s a more enticing lifestyle to want to be a part of.

The kids learning how to rope, wrestle, vaccinate and brand the milk cow’s calves
The kids learning how to rope, wrestle, vaccinate and brand the milk cow’s calves

We also operate the ranch as holistically as possible, conserving our land for future generations. We try to show our younger generation the importance of leaving the land better than we found it – what kids would want to come back to a run-down, wreck of a place that has a poor carrying capacity? “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

Kagan (age 11) learning how to wrestle calves
Kagan (age 11) learning how to wrestle calves

Without our children having the desire and love of the land that we do, we face a future of fewer kids coming back to manage family ranches. We definitely don’t want to see our multi-generational ranch removed from production because we didn’t do our job to show our children that ranching is an amazingly rewarding career!

Melinda Sims

For more photos and other updates from Sims Cattle Company, visit them on Facebook or at http://www.simscattlecompany.com

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