Our Guiding Principles
Require absolute integrity in all that we do; Maintain a culture of excellence in our people as reflected in their work, our products and our physical facilities; Demonstrate respect for one another in our business, personal, and professional relationships; Excercise superior stewardship of our land, air water, wildlife and all other natural resources; Demonstrate leadership among our colleagues in ranching and our state and local governments in matters affecting our business, our property, and our people; Always be a good neighbor; Reflect a quiet, confident pride in our values and vision; and Dedicate ourselves to continuous improvement and to best managment practices.
The IX Ranch is located south-east of a small town called Big Sandy in the mixed-grass prairie of north central Montana. The ranch extends through the southern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range and on east towards the Missouri River. The ranch encompasses a wide variety of terrain from rolling hills and willow creek bottoms to jagged river breaks and mountains.
Since 1955, our main goal has been to raise high quality feeder cattle while maintaining our natural resources in the way Mother Nature intended. We strive for perfection in all aspects of our operation. From the range we manage and our animals’ welfare to our employees and the conditions they work in everyday. We continue to keep an eye on the future and look forward to the many challenges and opportunities that exist in this ever-changing industry.
Three generations strong, the IX Ranch continues a family tradition of ranching with a commitment to excellence in environmental stewardship and livestock production. Stephen A. Roth is the president and holds memberships in the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Quarter horse Association, and Farm Bureau. In 2008 Steve finished his second and final year as President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. He is also actively involved in many committees and agencies concerning government policy, water and private land rights, and environmental issues. His wife Karen is involved in many activities but focuses most of her attention on her grandchildren and keeping Steve on the straight and narrow. She works very hard at keeping their home and yard in tip-top shape.
Richard W. Roth returned to the ranch in 2001 after spending 10 years in the field of agricultural commodity marketing. Along with day-to-day ranch activities, Richard is responsible for marketing, fiscal management and overall ranch production and financial performance. He is in charge of human resources, social media and community and government affairs. He is a member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, NCBA, Big Sandy Water Conservation Board, Montana Farm Bureau and Grain Growers and Rotary International.
The Eagle Creek ranch is located 18 miles southeast of Big Sandy on the Warrick Road. This part of the ranch is mountainous as it sits up against the southeastern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range. Aspen groves and Evergreen Trees are abundant here. Range grasses include most species of Wheat Grass, Blue Grama, and Timothy. A scenic and majestic part of the ranch, Eagle Creek is home to owner/president and CEO, Stephen Roth and his wife Karen. Rusty Sparks, manager of the East Division has been with the ranch for over 30 years and is in charge of calving the first-year heifers in March and coordinating day-to-day operations at Eagle Creek, NL and Seifert ranches. He is also responsible for two other leased ranches on the eastern end of the ranch. Rusty and his wife Diane manage the ranch’s extensive livestock and range management software which includes annual cattle movement schedules and AUM usage and ranch-wide livestock inventory. Diane is actively involved in livestock and range data input as well as assisting with calving out the first year heifers.
Each year in October, approximately 850 head of heifer calves are weaned at Eagle Creek. Their mothers are pregnancy tested and trailed to fall/winter pasture. Fence-line weaning is used to wean the heifer calves from their mothers and has proven to be the most efficient and economical method. Death loss in these heifer calves during this time-frame is less than half a percent. Lick tubs from Cenex Harvest States are put out for the heifer calves for 30 days to aid in the weaning process.
500 two-year-olds begin calving the first of March. These first year mothers are exposed as yearlings for only 45 days and ultrasounds are done in August. Ultrasounding enables the ranch to segregate first and second cycle heifers. During calving, the cows are in a 100 acre pasture during the day and moved to a monitoring lot at night. Every attempt is made to assist these first time mothers in the calving process. 40 plus indoor pens and a heated indoor OB room provide a low stress environment in which to calve. Supplementation is used post calving to bring the young mothers back on an increasing plane of nutrition until spring grasses are present.
The NL ranch is located 30 miles southeast of Big Sandy on the Cow Island Trail. This ranch was added to the operation in 1969 and is home to over 400 cow/calf pairs during the spring, summer and fall. During the winter months, the ranch utilizes the NL to pasture and feed 1,000 mother cows. Two large center pivots and a wheel line provides the winter forage necessary to feed these animals from December until March, when they are separated into calving groups and trailed to the other ranches.
IX Ranch Co. also leases the Bear Paw Springs (BPS) ranch, 20 miles east of the NL. Each year around April 20th, the 4 main ranches truck those cows that have not calved to this lease. Approximately 220-240 cows calve out on this 10,000 acres and remain there until December. Steer and heifer calves are weaned and shipped from this location in mid-September.
Geography on this part of the ranch is termed as “breaks” country. There is plenty of Silver and big sage brush, clay soils and rugged terrain for cows and other wildlife to roam. An inch of rainfall received on this part of the ranch can fill reservoirs, create gully washers and tear out fence in a very short time. Cattle grazing on this part of the ranch tend to be heartier and in better body condition due to the high protein content in the grass. Species of grass include Wheatgrass, Blue Grama, Rough Fescue and Green Needle grass.
Matthew Fleming and his wife Kassie manage day to day operations at the NL and BPS lease.
The Seifert ranch is located 24 miles south of Big Sandy off of Highway 236. Over 500 cows are calved here every spring as well as the feeding of 450 three-year olds and 500 older cows during the winter months. A 400 acre center pivot produces alfalfa and cereal grains as part of the ranch’s crop rotation plan.
Cattle grazing on this part of the ranch enjoy vast open spaces filled with plenty of native range grasses like those found at the Whitcraft. They include Kentucky Blue Grass, Green Needle, Needle and Thread, Brome, Wheat Grass, Tufted Hairgrass, and Rough Fescue. Field sizes are much larger on this part of the ranch and developed adequate stockwater sites play a key role in managing livestock and range conditions.
Michael Lacey and his wife Linda Kay manage day to day operations at the Seifert.
The Whitcraft ranch, located 5 miles southeast of Big Sandy is the hub of all ranch operations. The majority of all shipping, calving, weaning, ultra-sounding and hay production takes place here. The Whitcraft is comprised of over 50 square miles of range, crop and irrigated lands and managed by Todd Amsbaugh. He and wife Paula started on the ranch back in 1990. Todd is responsible for all day-to-day operations within his division, ranch-wide equipment maintenance and the ranch's internship and manager in training programs.
The Whitcraft is also home to the company Vice President/owner Richard Roth and his family. Richard came back to the ranch in January 2002 after having spent time marketing agriculture commodities both in the public and private sectors. Richard manages all business, financial, and production segments of the operation as well as all company relations. Katia Milius is the chef and cooks three meals for up to 10 men/women every day.
Two key components of the operation, hay production and replacement heifer development, take place at the Whitcraft. Over 3,500 tons of hay is put up each year off two center pivots and flood irrigation. Round bales are the bale of choice and work well with Haybuster hay processors. Approximately 2,500 head of livestock are wintered at this location.
Of the nearly 1,500 head of heifer calves we have each year, 650 head are kept as replacements and fed throughout the winter. Each November weaned heifer calves are brought in and sorted phenotypically. The calves selected as replacement heifers are then weighed, BANGS vaccinated and given their second round of immunization shots as well as a parasite pour-on. Heifer calves that do not make replacement heifers (Feeder Heifers) are also weighed and given their second round of immunization shots and pour-on. These feeder heifers will qualify for NATURAL beef programs. Replacement heifers are divided into two-300 head winter feed groups. Replacement heifers are grown at a rate of .25-1.25 ADG for 120 days. Feeder heifers are grown at a rate of 2-2.6 ADG for 120 days. All livestock receive free-choice salt and CHS brand mineral supplement.
Rangeland in the West Division is a combination of rolling hills and coulees. Grasses found on this part of the ranch include, Kentucky Blue Grass, Green Needle, Needle and Thread, Brome, Wheat Grass, Tufted Hairgrass, Rough Fescue and Crested Wheat.
Since 1955, our main goal has been to raise high quality feeder cattle while maintaining our natural resources in the way Mother Nature intended. We strive for perfection in all aspects of our operation.
The IX Ranch is very proud and fortunate to have some of the best, most experienced and deticated employees in the business.
The IX Ranch Company located in Big Sandy, Montana is seeking students from agricultural universities who are interested in learning what it takes to operate a successful cow-calf operation in the 21st Century.