If you read our blog, you know that Glenn loves to tell a good story. And he especially likes telling the story about the potential for thoughtful, ecologically informed grazing to transform the west. He, along with his PhD plant ecologist wife, Caryl, have worked for years to regenerate their valley private ground, and are now working on innovative approaches to restoring and regenerating their wild mountain range lands.
Glenn and Caryl Elzinga started Alderspring Ranch near Salmon, Idaho, in 1992, with the purchase of 147 acres and 7 cows. They began direct marketing grass fed and finished beef in 1993 with 2 head. By the grace of God, from these humble beginnings Alderspring Ranch has grown to a 7 figure direct marketing enterprise and a 1700 acre ranch with a 46,000 acre wild rangeland permit. The entire operation is certified organic, including the 46,000 acres of permit land.
Glenn and Caryl run the ranch with their 7 daughters, a stellar son-in-law, and some exceptional employees. The ranch markets 100% of its production, approximately 400 head a year, through an internet storefront and natural food stores.
After working for several years on restoring fertility and biodiversity on the irrigated valley home ranch, the Elzingas turned to the native range land used for summer grazing. In partnership with agencies and NGO’s they initiated a 5 year pilot project using full time herders on extensive wild range land to meet ecological and economic objectives. Seventy percent of the green forage their finish cattle consume is on these wild landscapes.
By marrying technology with horsemanship and stockmanship, the Elzingas are working to reduce or eliminate conflicts on public range lands between livestock and predators, endangered species, and environmental groups. The wild landscapes are connected to discerning patrons through the exceptional flavor and nutrition that wild land grazing can produce.
The connections are also a personal fit: the Elzingas have successfully used nutrition to address chronic health challenges in their own family and the ecological emphasis in their operation is an outgrowth of their academic training and early careers, Glenn as a forester and Caryl as a plant ecologist.
Presentation topics by Glenn include:
- Starting a ranch from scratch with no money
- How to make wholesale marketing work for you
- How to find and connect with local customers
- The world is your market: marketing online and shipping a perishable product
- How to create the world’s best steak.
- How to get the best out of your butcher
- Grassfed genetics: avoid the hype and find what works
- Doubling stocking rate through improving the soil
- Inherding: intensive intentional conservation herding on extensive western rangelands
- Successful partnerships with nonprofits and agencies
- How to find, train, and retain good help: what are millennials looking for?
- Everyone is sick: human health and regenerative agriculture
- Personal health journey using diet: autoimmune paleo, keto, carnivore
A little more about us, in short form:
- 27 years 100% grassfed, 15 years certified organic
- One of the largest acreages of certified organic in the US. Cooperative work with Federal and State agencies in a first-in-nation certification of a federal grazing allotment
- Completed in 2019 a 5 year pilot project in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy to use targeted holistic regenerative grazing on large scale landscapes to meet ecological objectives.
- Tripled soil organic matter on the home ranch from a respectable 2% to 7% in 10 years with holistic grazing.
- Articles about/including us in Salon, Forbes, Edible Idaho, New York Times, Western Horseman, and numerous regional agriculture publications.
- Awarded “Best Grass Fed Marketer” by the Grassfed Exchange in 2018
- Started ranching with no inherited equity. Now a 7 figure direct market beef business and owning a 1700 acre ranch with a 46,000 acre federal lease. Mostly sell to customers via the internet and through a few natural food co-op partner stores.
- Early 2019 Speaking:
- Grassfed Exchange; Santa Rosa CA
- Three Rivers Grazing Academy, Lewiston, ID
- Idaho Range Forum, Salmon, Idaho
- Later 2019 and 2020:
- On deck for Northwest Pennsylvania Grazing Conference (spring 2020)
- Quivira Coalition Conference session with Dr. Fred Provenza; Albuquerque, NM (fall 2019)
- Featured on the following podcasts and radio shows: Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof (twice), Traditional Cooking School from GNOWFLINS, the Intellectual Agrarian, How to Quit Your Job, Down to Earth, NPR’s Living on Earth.
- TV programs: German TV on the Best Steak, Life on the Range with Steve Stuebner
- Exceptional flavor and quality of Alderspring beef recognized in Steak by Mark Schatzker; Franklin Steak by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackey; Prime by Richard Turner as well as numerous online reviews.
You can see one of Glenn’s recent presentations here on youtube, or watch it below.
If interested in having Glenn present to your group, just contact us.