On my last weekend before the show I went to see Billy and Julie Mitchell again. They had family visiting so it was a great opportunity to get some different perspectives on life on the ranch. They are the only family left ranching full time in the valley where there was once 16. It’s not a easy way to make a living and perhaps never was but Billy explains more about how the increased controls over federal land by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) restrict the use of the land where they hold the grazing rights. An increasing nearby population also brings more recreational OHV use that has caused injuries to cattle by OHV users going too fast through the canyon. All the children and grandchildren I interviewed spoke fondly of growing up on the ranch and the great love and respect for their dad and Grandad but realise how tough it is to make this lifestyle a profession. Clarissa and Ian made to long trip from North Dakota where they have moved to take advantage of the recent oil boom. In the clips below Billy speaks about the history of ranching and the ‘tortoise wars’ with the BLM and Brandy tells me about her family and her thoughts on the future of the ranch.
Back on the ranch with the Mitchells