The Land

Our Commitment

Izee is located in Grant County, Oregon. Though its roots go back to Lewis and Clark’s first expeditions out West, identifying this as prime grazing country, Grant County was made famous as a gold boom town. Not long after that and well into the mid 1900s, Grant County and Izee, in particular, were noted for their timber. Today, Izee is mostly a remnant of the 20th century Mill boom town that erupted as a result of the rich ponderosa pine resources. After acquiring the IZ Ranch in 1993, the Nelson family made a commitment to steward the land responsibly and preserve it’s heritage of natural timber and lush grazing resources.

Read more about the History of Izee and its pioneers in this account by historian Jack Southworth.

The old Izee Mill School

The old Izee Mill School (photo courtesy Curtis Irish)

Sustainability & the Environment

IZ Ranch is deeply committed to sustainable ranching practices and we take our passion for the environment as seriously as our passion for cattle. As ranchers, the land, forage, forests, and water are what sustains an economic unit for future generations – we are the ultimate environmentalists.

The following are just a few examples of our commitment—in nurturing wildlife, we work to prevent soil erosion, conserve and protect our water, and maximize growth of renewable forage and timber. To this effect, we:

  • Planted 250,000 Ponderosa pine trees over a ten year period.
  • Maintain forests at proper stand density to maximize growth of the resource, reduce disease and insect damage.
  • Remove juniper trees to improve ground water, spring health, and maximize riparian health. Juniper tree chips used for electrical generation in local co-generation plant.
  • Developed 25 springs to provide water off riparians for cattle and wildlife
  • Drilled three wells in high elevation areas. Installed solar panels and pumps to provide water that would otherwise have no source for cattle and wildlife.
  • Have developed numerous exclosures and planted natural trees/shrubs on South Fork John Day River to exclude cattle and allow maximized return of the river to a healthy condition.
  • Have fenced over 10 miles of South Fork John Day River to create riparian pastures for cattle management that will allow enhanced stream bank stabilization, reduced erosion, and cooler water temperatures for ideal trout habitat.
  • Selective control of sage brush to allow competitive advantage for highly desired bitter brush for winter feed for deer and elk.
  • All winter feed grounds are seeded annually to spring wheat to reduce erosion and provide enhanced feed grounds for the following winter.

Beyond the specific steps mentioned above, we also encourage you to read more about how the Cattle Industry benefits the environment, consumers, and the economy at large. Finally, we are actively collaborating with the following agencies in stewarding the land responsibly for future generations: