PLUM THICKET FARMS
About The Ranch
Plum Thicket Farms is a family-owned operation passionate about raising excellent beef cattle and improving the soil and the range. Our livelihood depends on the land and livestock's health and resilience. We value our livestock and focus on providing them with a high standard of care while also developing management practices that foster the best stewardship of our land. Our top goals have always been to improve the range and soil and our cattle to fit the land.
Plum Thicket Farms owns/leases 2300 acres of farm ground, 560 acres of which are under pivot irrigation. We are passionate about no-till practices and utilize cover crops extensively. We direct our efforts to prevent erosion, conserve soil moisture, and build organic matter.
Forage crops work very well in our crop rotation. We plant multispecies mixes and annual forages for intensive grazing. This allows us to defer more native pastures for dormant season grazing. Planted crops include sorghum-sudan grass, pearl millet, and corn. We also utilize rye and vetch cover crops for spring grazing. We plant sorghum-Sudan or pearl millet for fall and winter grazing, using varieties that stay in the vegetative state longer. The corn stalks are grazed, and rye and vetch cover crops are planted whenever possible for spring grazing.
Rex and Nancy Peterson
After moving from the Colorado Mountains, Plum Thicket Farms was founded in 1998 by Rex and Nancy Peterson. Nancy grew up ranching with her family in the Yampa, Colorado area, where long days were spent in the hayfields, on horseback moving cattle, and working alongside her parents and four brothers. This upbringing led her to become a veterinarian. After school, Nancy went back home to Yampa and started a cow/calf practice which she served for the next 18 years. Over the years, the Yampa region began to change, and although difficult, Nancy and her husband Rex, an architect, decided to move and make their home in Nebraska.
From the outset, Rex and Nancy went to work developing a rotational grazing system, building cross fences, and water developments. They’ve implemented a detailed individual cow record system. Data is collected from birth to rail and used to make bull selections and culling decisions. A synchronized A.I. breeding program was developed to produce a herd that consistently breeds in a low-input grazing environment and performs in the feedlot and on the rail.
God and family are important to Rex and Nancy. They strive to serve God with all they have, be there for their children and grandchildren, and be good community members.
Rex and Nancy’s son, Pat, runs the farming operation of Plum Thicket Farms. Pat served nearly four years with his National Guard Unit, first in Bosnia and then Iraq. During his deployment, Pat experienced firsthand the negative impact of poor farming practices on the land and ecosystem. This experience led Pat to develop a strong interest in no-till farming, soil health, and conserving resources. In 2008 Pat formed a partnership with Rex and Nancy. Together, they work to implement practices benefiting cattle and farming operations while striving to be good stewards of the land.
Assist with calving: Although we are at the tail end of calving, interns will calve day and night. In addition, various barn chores are included in the job.
Process calves: Newborn calves get processed at birth. Vaccinated, branded, and banded.
Cattle moves: Interns will help with pairing and moving cattle on horseback.
Studying and practicing the principles of low-stress livestock handling.
Breeding Program: Interns will assist with the breeding program, health assessment, and learn to udder score.
Chute work: Interns will assist with the health management of livestock.
Rotational Grazing System: Interns will learn grazing management, how to evaluate pasture conditions, and identify native grasses.
Fencing: Duties will include fixing fence and building hi-tensile fence.
Farming: Interns will become familiar with no-till farming principles, planning crop rotations, and fertilization programs.
Harvest and sprayer support.
Weekly management meetings: Interns will have the opportunity to join in on management discussions.
Valid Driver’s License
A love for the ranching and farming lifestyle
Open-minded and willing to learn a new way to do things
Flexible, ability to adapt to various tasks
A sense of humor is a must
Length of Internship: 3 months
Stipend: Plum Thicket Farms will pay a monthly stipend estimated at $2,100.00/month.
General work hours: Six days a week. We work according to the farm/ranch season; there are days you will be expected to start work early and work late.
Housing: Plum Thicket Farm provides shared housing at the home place with Rex and Nancy. All utilities are included, a washer and dryer, and internet are available. Meals are provided and many times are shared.
Vehicles: Interns will have ranch vehicles available during work hours. While interns will not be asked to use a personal vehicle for work purposes, a personal vehicle is recommended for days off and personal errands.
Additional items the intern should bring: Bring any personal items you need. Gear for all weather, sun, and rain protection. Work boots, riding boots, and muck boots are recommended.
Living at Plum Thicket Farms: Gordon, Nebraska, is the closest town, 17 miles away, with a population of 1500. Gordon has all the basic amenities, including places to eat and drink, grocery stores, hotels, a health clinic, a vision clinic, and gas stations. Community events include local sports events and the Sheridan County fair and rodeo. Chadron is 50 miles away, home to Chadron State College, and has additional shopping options.
Educational Activities: During the internship, the intern will have the opportunity to attend select workshops and ranch tours.