Oswald Cattle Company, Cotopaxi, CO
Steve and Nancy Oswald live on a piece of land in south central Colorado, The Taylor Ranch, that has been in Nancy's family for more than 60 years. But the ranch's history goes back even farther when Nancy's great grandparents began ranching about 10 miles away along Texas Creek in the late 1800’s.
Nancy's father told stories of riding the train along the Arkansas River when it still carried passengers and of his uncle trying to rope bears. He remembers favorite dogs, favorite horses, favorite cows, and the beauty of a newborn calf. Hardship also speckles the past when burning spines off cactus to feed cows was necessary during drought years and the tragedy of finding a young heifer shot is an indelible memory.
Steve and Nancy were married on a hill above the ranch in April of 1977. The wind blew Nancy's hair horizontally while their parents and a favorite dog looked on. Two years later they took a detour up North when an opportunity for ranching in British Columbia, Canada presented itself. They thought they’d go for a year or two, but stayed for twelve. They worked on two different large ranches, Empire Valley Ranch and the Gang Ranch in a remote area of the Cariboo along the Fraser River. For the next twelve years, Steve honed his ranch management skills, and Nancy began a writing career. They adopted their youngest son, and Nancy taught in both one and two room schools.
The Oswalds moved back to Colorado in 1991 when their youngest son was ready to start school. They went into business for themselves with the purchase of 24 bred heifers and ran the remainder of Nancy's Dad’s cow herd on shares. Not long after their return, Steve attended the Ranching for Profit School which became pivotal in ranch changes, including adding cross-fencing to improve land and pastures and shifting the breeding season to allow for summer calving.
Today their business includes marketing of natural grass-fed beef to consumers and promoting sustainable, profitable agriculture. Nancy recently retired from her job as a fifth grade teacher at the local K-12 school and has published her third Colorado-set historical fiction novel for young readers.
Together, they are committed to carrying on the heritage of the ranch in a world of change. They are connected to both the land and their past with the hopes of passing on a legacy of ranching, agriculture, and land preservation to future generations.