Empowering Women on the Land
WLA’s Women in Ranching program envisions a culture of western ranching that acknowledges and celebrates the diversity of our land stewards. We create space and permission for women to come together and find renewal in the necessary work to shape whole, healthy landscapes and sustainable food systems.
What our participants say
Circle 6 - Montana
Wild Rose Center
This circle formed in September 2019. The Wild Rose Center is a healing retreat center on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, in Busby, Montana.
Circle 5 - New Mexico
Trout Stalker Ranch
Trout Stalker Ranch is a premier fly fishing destination on the Chama River in northern New Mexico. They are also known for impeccable land stewardship practices.
Circle 4 - Montana
J Bar L Ranch
The J Bar L near Twin Bridges, Montana hosted 21 amazing women for Circle 4 in August 2019. The J Bar L is a stunning working ranch doing powerful stewardship work.
Circle 3 - Montana
Diamond Cross Ranch
The Diamond Cross in Birney, Montana is home to beautiful and strong cows, elk, and women. They hosted in August 2019.
Generous ranch owners offer their ranch locations free of charge to our program and help to organize catering services, thereby keeping Circle membership fees low for participants. Women in Ranching provides a team of facilitators who work with the landowners and ranch staff to bring a cohort (we call them circles) of about 20 women together. Each circle comes together for a one-year, two-gathering course, with ample opportunities for peer to peer learning, leadership building and intentional community development. We emphasize permission, emergence and acceptance.
Women in Ranching Circles catalyze action: books have been written, partnerships have formed, business concepts have become reality, monthly rural women’s groups have taken shape and these women have begun to say YES to their dreams. These gatherings create meaningful progress in ranching through building an intricate, resilient network of dynamic social capital that is centered in empowering and supporting women’s work on the land. Our facilitators hold space for these women to explore roadblocks and find strength in their unique voice.
The first Women in Ranching Circle was hosted in 2016 by Paicines Ranch, in California. Two years and several convenings later, WinR found a permanent home with the Western Landowners Alliance, a West-wide organization advancing policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes and native species.
Today, we are a growing collaborative of women who convene on host ranches to learn, play and find a renewed awareness of inner abundance and resiliency. These gatherings activate women to connect and share with each other and strengthen our collective voice for the betterment of our rural communities.
Women in Ranching (WinR) emerged in direct response to an expressed need: working-lands women throughout the West were seeking ways to connect with one another, to promote leadership and inspire creative solutions for how best to support a growing resource of female leaders.
Meet some of the Women in Ranching
Leslie + Mollie Dorrance
Stories from Women in Ranching
By Beth Robinette |
When I first moved back to my family ranch ten years ago, fresh out of college, I was plagued with insecurities. I had been around ranching all my life, the oldest of two daughters, and my parents were very egalitarian and encouraged us girls to do anything. Anything that is, but raise cattle. I could fumble through a fence repair, and obviously I could drive a stick shift, but I felt as though I would never learn everything I needed to from my dad.
By Sarah Parmar |
Last summer, I told my colleagues that I would be taking a sabbatical from work to develop a succession plan for my family ranch, a 300-head cow-calf operation in southern Arizona. “Succession plan” was such a nebulous term that I felt like I needed dedicated time just to figure out what it meant before I could create one. It was overdue. In 2013, one week before my son’s birth, my father had an accident while riding that could have easily killed him, and nearly did.
By Guest Author |
Opening the pickup door and stepping out onto native grass, the sun begins to rise amidst the sound of the dawn chorus. I listen to the melodic tinkling of a Baird’s sparrow (my favorite song, and also set as my morning phone alarm); the downward whirl of the Sprague’s pipit (my ring tone); the buzz of the Brewer’s sparrows, the joyful couplets of the McCown’s longspur. The chestnut-collared longspurs are chasing each other in play, or fight.