Raising ‘Belties’ a labor of love for Silt rancher | TheFencePost.com

Raising ‘Belties’ a labor of love for Silt rancher

Alan Lambert | Rifle, Colo.

Not many people would say it would take a traumatic brain injury to want to be in the cattle business.

For Lyn Danielson, it was different. She did it to help her son – or so she thought – and ended up falling in love with a breed of cattle from the Scottish Highlands.

In 2007, at the age of 35, Danielson's son had his own cattle ranch near Meeker and was out riding with his 10-year-old daughter when a freak horse accident gave him a severe brain injury. As the years of recovery progressed, Danielson felt her son needed a job, thinking he would want to continue in the ranching business. As he could ill afford another accident, Danielson began researching docile cattle breeds that would do well at high elevations. The answer came in the Belted Galloway breed.

Commonly known as "Oreo" cows, they, like the popular cookie, are black at both ends with a big, white stripe of "belt" around the middle.

After Danielson purchased four Belted Galloway cattle to start a herd, her son found he no longer had an interest in ranching and recovered enough to be on his own again with a different career. Danielson, however, found she had fallen in love with this docile breed of bovine. So, after retiring from a long career as a legal assistant, she started anew in the cattle business.

"This is my retirement," Danielson said. "It's what I've always wanted to do, but it's really more of a hobby."

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She and her husband sold their home in New Castle and built their dream home on 14 acres of land they owned along the Collbran Road, overlooking the southern end of the Divide Creek valley. Because of the small acreage, Danielson said she limits her herd to four cows and sells her calves, not as beef, but to other breeders looking to build a purebred Beltie herd. And with only four cows, it wasn't worth it to purchase a full-blood Beltie bull to insure a good calf crop, so she uses artificial insemination to impregnate the cows.

"That way I get the choice of the best bulls and don't have to feed it all year," said Danielson.

Other attributes of the purebred Belted Galloway, said Danielson, is that they are polled, or do not produce horns, are not susceptible to high-country diseases such as brisket, and poison plants such as Larkspur, which Danielson has in abundance on her property.

Although they are not all that common in the Western United States, the Belted Galloway is far from being a novelty pasture ornament and Danielson has made it her passion to see them become an accepted and common beef-producing entity in Colorado's high country.

"And you should try the meat," Danielson said. "The taste … it is absolutely wonderful." ❖

Alan Lambert is a writer for the Citizen Telegram Contributor in Rifle, Colo.

In Other West Slope Ranching News …

Rifle Parcels Set To Go To Auction For More Than $2 Million

Two large parcels of land in Rifle touted as prime for development are to be auctioned off June 24 for more than $2 million each.

Sheldon Good & Co. will auction off the 135-acre Rifle Ranch and 16.63-acre Rifle Centre – subject to minimum bids.

Rifle Centre, 500 Airport Road, is to sell at or above $2.5 million. It offers prime development land, between Choice Liquors and the Rifle Commons Shopping Center next to Walmart, across from the Grand River Medical Center.

Rifle Ranch, 11747 County Road 320, is an irrigated flat parcel that the auction company said will sell at or above $2.7 million and includes senior water rights from the Loesch Crann ditch.

The parcel lends itself to many different development options or the continued use of agricultural land.

Rifle Ranch produces approximately 100 tons of hay a year.

Sheldon Good describes itself as a 49-year-old real estate auction firm that has sold billions of dollars worth of properties, from commercial and industrial properties to single-family residences.

John Cuticelli, chairman of Sheldon Good, noted that “the seller has said he wants to sell at or above the minimum bids, so I will sell this property,” he said. “I would say $20,000 an acre is a very compelling price for 135 acres.”

“And $150,000 an acre for a prime development site is a good deal, too,” he said of the Rifle Centre site.

Buyers must be willing to sign a purchase agreement and put 5 percent of the winning bid down to complete the sale, Cuticelli said.

Bids are to be delivered to Sheldon Good & Co., Attn.: Rifle, Colo. Project Manager, 488 Madison Ave., Suite 201, New York, NY 10022, by 3 p.m. MDT, on June 24. For additional information on the auction and to view the property by appointment, call 800-516-0014 or visit RifleLand.SheldonGood.com.