Introducing ROAM Ranch

June 15, 2017 by Taylor Collins posted on Land + Livestock

For years, we have dreamt about owning a space reserved for EPIC’s ideals. A place of serenity, calm, regrowth, and natural connection. After countless hours of planning and finger-crossing, our dreams have become a reality.

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In efforts to further develop our understanding of the regenerative land management principles on which EPIC was founded, we are excited to announce our purchase of ROAM Ranch! Located in the heart of the majestic Texas Hill Country, ROAM sits on 450 acres of farmable river bottom land on the outskirts of Fredericksburg, TX. Like much of the world, this once-fertile region has been industrially farmed for the past 100 years. Consequently, it is seriously degraded from a combination of mineral extraction, overgrazing, the introduction of monoculture, and biodiversity loss. As a result, ROAM is hardly capable of being a wildlife habitat, a productive farm, ranch, or recreational area. Land in this condition is often deemed "unsalvageable" and in many circumstances further degenerates with rest—but we are going to prove otherwise.

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We are treating ROAM as our EPIC laboratory. By introducing livestock and fostering crucial wildlife relationships, it is our goal to take the property from its current degenerated state and heal its soil, produce nourishing food, and provide optimal living environments for animals. In doing so, we will regenerate the land and create a net positive impact that exceeds our local community. Particularly, we want to prove that properly managed animal impact has the ability to sequester carbon from the earth’s atmosphere and store it where it belongs—in the soil. Our experiment is still in its infancy, but we hope to inspire a new generation of farmers and ranchers to join us in our efforts to reverse desertification and provide a viable solution to healing our lands and reversing climate change. The food revolution needs a home base, after all.

We love to have fun around the office, so we expect the same out of our ranch. Conveniently located 65 miles from Austin and San Antonio, ROAM will be an easy way to escape the busy pace of the modern world and surround yourself in the tranquility of nature. Among other things, we are working on building outdoor showers, yurt camping grounds, and an incredible network of trails to guide throughout the property. Other on-site activities will include swimming holes, cave exploration, hunting, wildlife viewing, mountain biking and trail running. The options are truly limitless!

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First and foremost, though, ROAM Ranch will be regenerative, biodynamic, and holistic. In addition to serving as a functional ranch and recreational land, it will also act as an educational facility. Already, we are carefully monitoring its environment and are taking soil samples to assess its overall health. Through empirical data collection, we have the ability to assess changes in the soil’s carbon levels, organic matter, biodiversity, water retention, desirable vs. undesirable forbes, and crop yields. These are key indicators of the regeneration process and will help provide baseline measurements as we document improvements to the land. It is all part of our larger plan.

Our ranch isn’t exactly paradise—not yet, at least. Its land has been exhausted of all nutrients and healthy traits due to significant and prolonged use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides. But once we have allowed it to rest for a bit, we plan on carefully reintroducing animals back onto the properly by the end of the year. If everything goes to plan, we’ll symbiotically raise bison, axis deer, pigs, rabbits, turkeys, chickens, and ducks. This will emulate natural biodiversity and provide some much-needed balance to surrounding ecosystems. These animals will be pasture-raised and rotated throughout the property using the planned grazing principles The Savory Institute advocates for. Through holistic land management, we hope to gradually increase the productivity of our land to over 300% of what conventional farmers in our area can produce!

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We couldn’t be more excited about ROAM Ranch. In achieving this lifelong dream, we are now positioned to create a legacy that each and every one of our employees and customers will be proud to be a part of. This beautiful piece of Texas Hill Country will serve as proof of the power of regenerative livestock and our ability to go beyond "sustainable" and achieve "regenerative.” We look forward to sharing our continued progress from the ranch and empirical data backing our breakthroughs. Onwards to creating an educational, recreational, and communal space geared towards showing agriculture can save the planet!