Lott Broadbent returns home to family ranch to help with operations
Out on vast stretches of sage and under the big sky of southwest Wyoming, three generations of the Broadbent family harmoniously tend to operations on their diverse, century-old ranch.
Among them is Lott Broadbent, who moved back to the ranch with his wife Malinda following graduation from Utah State University and has taken over several responsibilities on both the familyʼs sheep and cattle operations.
As is the case with many multi-generational family operations, Lott was raised on the ranch and looks back on his childhood fondly.
“I can’t think of a better way to grow up than on a ranch surrounded by animals. The playgrounds were endless with hills to roam, haystacks to climb and barns to hide in,” he says. “Some of my fondest memories growing up were spending time with my parents and grandparents docking lambs and branding calves.”
Lott notes while growing up on the ranch he wasn’t always sure the work was worth the time and effort, but at the end of the day, he always felt rewarded.
“I decided after high school I wanted to stay involved in agriculture, so I chose to go to college at Utah State University, where I studied animal science and agricultural systems and technology,” Lott explains.
He further notes this is where he pulled off the accomplishment he is most proud of in life – meeting Malinda and “tricking” her into marriage.
After graduation, Lott and Malinda moved back to the JR Broadbent Merrell Ranch to help the family with operations.
According to Lott, the Broadbent family currently run a commercial sheep and cattle operation across three main locations – Evanston, Granger and Manila, Utah.
He explains the sheep operation stretches from Granger to Evanston, and during summer months, sheep are moved toward Evanston and surrounding areas.
“Several of our sheep herds run on forest permits in the Uinta Mountains. After shipping lambs in the fall, we sort through the ewes to make up the winter herds, and they begin the trail back to areas surrounding Granger,” he says.
“The cow/calf operation is based out of Manila. During the summer, cows run across the state line into Sweetwater County,” Lott continues. “We gather all of the mother cows to Manila in the fall where we put up hay on meadows to feed through the winter and calve in the spring.”
He notes the operation also pastures yearling cattle during the summer and fall months in all three locations.
As far as his responsibilities go, Lott explains he splits his time between Manila and Evanston, taking care of both the cattle and sheep.
“I spend the fall and winter in Manila where we gather cows, wean and ship calves. Then, we spend some time getting the cows built back up to be in good shape to calve again,” he says. “During winter months, whenever I’m not feeding, I spend time checking on a couple of our sheepherders and repairing equipment to get ready for the next season.”
After cows are calved out, calves are branded and pairs are turned out to pasture, Lott moves to the place in Evanston to help run yearlings.
“The harsh winters in Evanston ensure there is always plenty of fence to be mended,” he says. “I spend my time making pasture movements with the yearlings, doctoring sick animals and putting out mineral.”
During his time back on the ranch, Lott has faced a number of challenges, especially in recent years.
“The past couple years have been challenging as we’ve been trying to lower input costs and increase production with hay and fuel prices being so high,” he shares. “This year, the lamb market was down, and the winter has been hard.”
Because the tough winter has brought frigid temperatures, driving winds and a lot of snow cover, Lott says they have also had to feed their sheep hay on ground they can usually graze this time of year.
But, despite these challenges, Lott remains optimistic, noting the tough times make the good ones feel that much better and expresses his love for the way of life.
“It’s a rewarding feeling being able to keep pushing on when things get tough,” he says.
“I really enjoy the diversity that comes with agriculture. Life with animals is never boring. There are so many different ways to achieve the end goal, and it’s always so rewarding to overcome challenges,” Lott adds.
He notes as the world moves away from agriculture and more generations are further removed from knowing where their food comes from, he hopes to keep the family ranch in operation and provide the general population with agricultural products.
For other young producers striving to accomplish this same goal, he advises, “Strive to be a lifelong learner. Don’t be afraid to break traditions and try something new – the times are changing, and so should we.”
Hannah Bugas is the managing editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.