We are still here!

After Dale’s great- grandparents started this ranch in 1895, with a desert claim and the strength to work and love the land, we have continued on in his family’s footsteps.  We raise Simmental x Angus cattle and two breeds of registered sheep, Texel and Icelandic.  We grow hay and grain for the animals, and work together to keep the ranch’s wheels turning.

Our oldest, Michaela is married to Shawn Hystad.  They have supplied us with our granddaughters Rachel and Dakota. Jared is working construction in ND while Boo works for CHS nutrition in Great Falls, welding and other things.  The youngest, Ethan, is trying to find his course and is working on his CDL. Two Border Collies (Fly and Gnat), and Boo’s little dog Tic, which we have part time make up our family. This year we did add a new Border Collie, Tess, from Barb & Per Gunness. She is now 9 months and is going to be great.

We work hard, play hard and enjoy life.  Cattle and sheep have always been a part of the ranch and while we have changed breeds in both over the years we are pretty settled in what we have now.  I did buy a few registered Simmental heifers.  Have not decided just where I am going with this, but the grandchildren will need animals to show sometime!

The Icelandic sheep were a breed we started working with in 2001, when we sold all of our commercial sheep to run a few more heifers, my husband’s idea.  We looked hard and found the Icelandic and loved their triple purpose do-ablility and I really liked the colors.  Horned or polled Icelandic sheep are still the best tasting lamb that a person can produce.  Dual coated wool and you can milk them, make-up their triple hit.  Icelandics are known for their grass based genetics and do not need much grain if any.

We are still raising registered Icelandic but introduced a new breed in 2008.  We found Texel, a Dutch based meat breed of sheep that are taking us by storm.   Texel sheep are white, polled, and with cute black noses and hooves that just make you smile.  The Texels are extremely docile and are not oversized.  We are breeding sheep, not ponies!  Texel have large loin eyes, and big leg scores.  Our Texel sheep produce twins and triplets for us and grow well.  We keep a few select rams each year for sale.

We start lambing around the 10th of  March as the Texel will breed earlier than the Icelandic. We will wean lambs in mid-August.  While we don’t have large herds of either breed, we run about 70 ewes total and look to keep a few more in the years to come.

Our Cattle, while our main income, are mostly a great set of cross-bred cows. We start calving the 3rd of Feb and usually hit a good patch of weather most years.   We raise our own replacements and most of our own bulls with AI so are almost a closed herd.  We missed the white faces on our Simmental crosses so are working to put them back on.  Sorry, I don’t care for a herd of all black cows, that is boring.

We live in a beautiful area that is in the foothills for grazing.  We are located in central Montana just south of Great Falls, with Glacier Park to the north and Yellowstone to the south.   Coffee is on, come visit!

Dale and Lilly LeVeque