Our Guiding Principles
Require absolute integrity in all that we do; Maintain a culture of excellence in our people as reflected in their work, our products and our physical facilities; Demonstrate respect for one another in our business, personal, and professional relationships; Excercise superior stewardship of our land, air water, wildlife and all other natural resources; Demonstrate leadership among our colleagues in ranching and our state and local governments in matters affecting our business, our property, and our people; Always be a good neighbor; Reflect a quiet, confident pride in our values and vision; and Dedicate ourselves to continuous improvement and to best managment practices.
The IX Ranch is located south-east of a small town called Big Sandy in the mixed-grass prairie of north central Montana. The ranch extends through the southern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range and on east towards the Missouri River. The ranch encompasses a wide variety of terrain from rolling hills and willow creek bottoms to jagged river breaks and mountains.
Since 1955, our main goal has been to raise high quality feeder cattle while maintaining our natural resources in the way Mother Nature intended. We strive for perfection in all aspects of our operation. From the range we manage and our animals’ welfare to our employees and the conditions they work in everyday. We continue to keep an eye on the future and look forward to the many challenges and opportunities that exist in this ever-changing industry.
Three generations strong, the IX Ranch continues a family tradition of ranching with a commitment to excellence in environmental stewardship and livestock production. Stephen A. Roth - CEO - oversees all ranch operations and holds memberships in the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Quarter horse Association, and Farm Bureau. In 2008 Steve finished his second and final year as President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. He is also actively involved in many committees and agencies concerning government policy, water and private land rights, and environmental issues. His wife Karen is involved in many activities but focuses most of her attention on her grandchildren and keeping Steve on the straight and narrow. She works very hard at keeping their home and yard in tip-top shape.
Richard W. Roth returned to the ranch in 2001 after spending 10 years in the field of agricultural commodity marketing. Along with day-to-day ranch activities, Richard is responsible for marketing, fiscal management and overall ranch production and financial performance. He is in charge of human resources, social media and community and government affairs. He is a member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, NCBA, Big Sandy Water Conservation Board, Montana Farm Bureau and Grain Growers and Rotary International. Richard has two teenage children, Jessica and Ryan, who are active in sports and ranch activities. Both love the outdoors and being on the ranch. Jessica loves horses and wants to be a large animal vet and Ryan, well we don't know about him yet but he likes things that go fast.
Jennifer Roth Scott and her husband Jon reside in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jon is President of First Interstate Bank, Jackson Wyoming and Jennifer is a full time mother of three. Both are active in the family businesses and when free time permits, enjoying coming back to the ranch.
The Eagle Creek ranch is located 18 miles southeast of Big Sandy on the Warrick Road. This part of the ranch is more mountainous as it sits up against the southeastern edge of the Bear Paw mountain range. Aspen groves and Evergreen Trees are abundant here. Range grasses include most species of Wheat Grass, Blue Grama, and Timothy. A scenic and majestic part of the ranch, Eagle Creek is home to owner and CEO Stephen Roth and his wife Karen. Rusty Sparks, COO East Division has been with the ranch for over 30 years and is in charge of calving the first-year heifers in March and coordinating day-to-day operations at Eagle Creek, NL and Seifert ranches. He is also responsible for two other leased ranches on the eastern end of the ranch. Rusty and his wife Diane manage the ranch’s extensive livestock and range management software which includes annual cattle movement schedules and AUM usage and ranch-wide livestock inventory. Diane is actively involved in livestock and range data input as well as assisting with calving out the first year heifers. Rusty and Diane's son Robert and his wife Julie live in Havre, MT and have three children. Their daughter Amy lives in Great Falls, MT with her husband Bill and they have two children.
Each year in October, approximately 850 head of heifer calves are weaned at Eagle Creek. Their mothers are pregnancy tested and trailed to fall/winter pasture. Fence-line weaning is used to wean the heifer calves from their mothers and has proven to be the most efficient and economical method. Death loss in these heifer calves during this time-frame is less than half a percent. Lick tubs from Cenex Harvest States are put out for the heifer calves for 30 days to aid in the weaning process.
500 two-year-olds begin calving the first of March. These first year mothers are exposed as yearlings for only 30 days. During calving, the cows are in a 100 acre pasture during the day and moved to a monitoring lot at night. Every attempt is made to assist these first time mothers in the calving process. 40 plus indoor pens and a heated indoor OB room provide a low stress environment in which to calve. Supplementation is used post calving to bring the young mothers back on an increasing plane of nutrition until spring grasses are present.
The NL ranch is located 30 miles southeast of Big Sandy on the Cow Island Trail. This ranch was added to the operation in 1969 and is home to over 400 cow/calf pairs during the spring, summer and fall. During the winter months, the ranch utilizes the NL to pasture and feed 1,000 mother cows. A large center pivot and flood irrigation provides the winter forage necessary to feed these animals from December until March when they are broken into calving groups and trailed to the other ranches.
IX Ranch Co. also leases the Bear Paw Springs (BPS) ranch, 20 miles east of the NL. Each year around April 20th, the 4 main ranches quit calving and haul those cows that have not calved to BPS. Approximately 220-240 cows calve out on this 10,000 acres and remain there until December. Steer and heifer calves are weaned and shipped from this location in early November.
Geography on this part of the ranch is termed as “breaks” country. There is plenty of sage brush, clay soils and rugged terrain for cows and other wildlife to roam. An inch of rainfall received on this part of the ranch can fill reservoirs, create gully washers and tear out fence in a very short time. Cattle grazing on this part of the ranch tend to be heartier and in better body condition due to the high protein content in the grass. Species of grass include Wheatgrass, Blue Grama, Rough Fescue and Green Needle grass.
Shane Cox is the foreman at the NL. He and his wife Keri have three young boys Samuel, Wesley and Tristan. Keri is originally from northeastern Montana in the neighborhood of Opheim and Culbertson. She graduated from MSU Northern in 1998 and is a school teacher by trade. But with two little ones around she finds that being a full-time mom is just as rewarding. Keri and Shane are expecting a new addition to the family later this summer. Congratulations!
Shane is orginally from Flathead but was raised on a large ranch in Idaho. He has worked for ranches such as the Matador and Sunlight Ranch as well as Muleshoe Outfitters. Most recently he was employed with the historic N Bar Ranch in Grass Range. Shane has a background in law enforement with the Montana Highway Patrol and enjoys hunting, leatherwork, camping and roping.
The Seifert ranch is located 24 miles south of Big Sandy off of Highway 236. Over 400 cows are calved here every spring as well as the feeding of 450 three-year olds and 500 older cows during the winter months. A 400 acre center pivot produces cereal grains and alfalfa as part of the ranch’s crop rotation plan.
Cattle grazing on this part of the ranch enjoy vast open spaces filled with plenty of native range grasses like those found at the Whitcraft. They include Kentucky Blue Grass, Green Needle, Needle and Thread, Brome, Wheat Grass, Tufted Hairgrass, and Rough Fescue. Field sizes are much larger on this part of the ranch and developing adequate stockwater sites play a key role in managing livestock and range conditions.
The Whitcraft ranch, located 5 miles southeast of Big Sandy is the hub of all ranch operations. The majority of all shipping, calving, weaning, ultra-sounding and hay production takes place here. The Whitcraft, or IX West Division as we like to call it is comprised of over 50 square miles of range, crop and irrigated lands and managed by Todd Amsbaugh. He and wife Paula who started on the ranch back in 1990 have two grown daughters and three granddaughters. Todd is responsible for all day-to-day operations within his division, ranch-wide equipment maintenance and the ranch's internship and manager in training programs.
The Whitcraft is also home to the company Vice President Richard Roth and his two children Jessica and Ryan. Richard came back to the ranch in January 2002 after having spent time marketing agriculture commodities both in the public and private sectors. Richard manages all business, financial, and production segments of the operation as well as all company relations. Katia Milius is the chef and cooks three meals for up to 10 men/women every day. The bunkhouse crew is made up of Michele Manhart from Neloa, IA and Benjamin Axberg from Norfolk, MA. Michael Lacey from Colorado Springs, CO is the Manager in Training.
New to the IX team is Paul Mathis from Pullman, WA. He is in the “Manager in Training” position and housed in the town of Big Sandy. Paul is finishing up his degree from Oregon State University in Ag Food Systems and was in the US Marine Corps. He and his wife Jackie have two boys Timmer and Jackson.
Two key components of the operation, hay production and replacement heifer development, take place at the Whitcraft. Over 3,500 tons of hay is put up each year off two center pivots and flood irrigation. Round bales are the bale of choice and work well with Haybuster hay processors. Approximately 2,500 head of livestock are wintered at this location.
Of the nearly 1,300 head of heifer calves we have each year, 600 head are kept as replacements and fed throughout the winter. Each November weaned heifer calves are brought in and sorted phenotypically. The calves selected as replacement heifers are then weighed, BANGS vaccinated and given their second round of immunization shots as well as a parasite pour-on. Heifer calves that do not make replacement heifers (Sale Heifers) are also weighed and given their second round of immunization shots and pour-on. These sale heifers will qualify for NATURAL beef programs. Replacement heifers are divided into two-300 head winter feed groups. These heifers are grown on 17 lbs of hay plus 4 lbs of protein supplement for 120 days. Sale heifers are wintered on 17 lbs of processed hay for 120 days. All livestock receive free-choice salt and CHS brand mineral supplement.
Rangeland in the West Division is a combination of rolling hills and coulees. Grasses found on this part of the ranch include, Kentucky Blue Grass, Green Needle, Needle and Thread, Brome, Wheat Grass, Tufted Hairgrass, Rough Fescue and Crested Wheat.
Since 1955, our main goal has been to raise high quality feeder cattle while maintaining our natural resources in the way Mother Nature intended. We strive for perfection in all aspects of our operation.
The IX Ranch is very proud and fortunate to have some of the best, most experienced and deticated employees in the business.
The IX Ranch Company located in Big Sandy, Montana is seeking students from agricultural universities who are interested in learning what it takes to operate a successful cow-calf operation in the 21st Century.