Glenn and Caryl Elzinga started Alderspring Ranch near Salmon, Idaho, in 1992, with the purchase of 147 acres and 7 cows. They began direct marketing grass fed and finished beef in 1993 with 2 head. By the grace of God, from these humble beginnings Alderspring Ranch has grown to a 7 figure direct marketing enterprise and a 1700 acre ranch with a 46,000 acre wild rangeland permit. The entire operation is certified organic, including the 46,000 acres of permit land.
Glenn and Caryl run the ranch with their 7 daughters, a stellar son-in-law, and some exceptional employees. The ranch markets 100% of its production, 300-400 head a year, through an internet storefront at Alderspring.com and natural food stores. The Elzingas work with several partners to augment home-grown calves with additional yearlings and calves for finishing on Alderspring Ranch, including some from the 33 Ranch (Dan Rasmussen, another speaker at the conference).
After working for several years on restoring fertility and biodiversity on the irrigated valley home ranch, the Elzingas turned to the native rangeland used for summer grazing. In partnership with agencies and NGO’s they initiated a 5 year pilot project using full time herders on extensive wild rangeland to meet ecological and economic objectives. Seventy percent of the green forage their finish cattle consume is on these wild landscapes. By marrying technology with horsemanship and stockmanship, the Elzingas are working to reduce or eliminate conflicts on public rangelands between livestock and predators, endangered species, and environmental groups.
The wild landscapes are connected to discerning patrons through the exceptional flavor and nutrition that wildland grazing can produce. The connections are also a personal fit: the Elzingas have successfully used nutrition to address chronic health challenges in their own family and the ecological emphasis in their operation is an outgrowth of their academic training and early careers, Glenn as a forester and Caryl as a plant ecologist.
The Elzingas enjoy skiing and backcountry pursuits as a family, play bluegrass, and participate in the worship team at their church.See All Speakers