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Our Mission

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


Ariel Greenwood

Grass Nomads LLC

"There are no words for how valuable my relationships forged and nurtured in Women in Ranching have been to my career and to my development as a human. Finally, I have a circle of sisters who care deeply about the same things I do, and support me in practicing that care out with the animals on the land."

Andrea Malmberg

Andrea Malmberg

Buffalo Peak Land and Livestock

"There is something transformative about having the opportunity, the time, and the place to deeply listen to others whose dreams you resonate with, as well as relating to the challenges that are unique to our work. Each time I have returned home from a WinRs Circle, I have re-found clarity and a set of skills, more finely honed, to manage my resource base better and to be fully open to its influence on me."

BethGodbey Equine Empowerment CO_photo Natalie Heller_Cropped

Beth Godbey

Equine Empowerment

"The WinR circles are so unique because they provide a safe place for women, living the agricultural lifestyle, to come together, share their stories, dream and create big leaps.  There is nothing like Women in Ranching that both recognizes the importance of women in agriculture and also creates space to empower their important role in America."

Ashlyn Perry

Ashlyn Perry

Trout Stalker Ranch

"Women in Ranching is opportunity - the opportunity to gather, share, learn and grow. It is a place where we can let our hair down and figure out how we can help all the plants, animals and people that are in our care work together in harmony."

See our


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.

Troutstalker Ranch Circle 5
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 Group Picture
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 Group Photo
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. 

Women in Ranching 2019

By the Numbers


Women served


Value of donated goods and services by WinR host ranches


Value of donated services by WinR volunteers


Total need-based scholarships for travel and expenses awarded to participants 

How Women in Ranching works

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.

How we got started

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. We believe these gatherings activate women to connect and share with each other and strengthen our collective voice for the betterment of our rural communities.

Why focus on women in ranching?

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

BethGodbey Equine Empowerment CO_photo Natalie Heller_Small

Beth Godbey

Circle 3

Doniga Markegard

Circle 1

Ariel Greenwood

Circle 1

Erin Kiley

Circle 1


Chia Thrane

Circle 3

Beth Robinette

Circle 2

Marissa Taylor

Circle 2

Leslie + Mollie Dorrance

Circle 2

Amber Smith

Circle 2
Paigelynn Trotter CA 3_Small

Paigelynn Trotter

Circle 3

Stories from Women in Ranching

Tenacity + Solidarity + Creativity

One cold, dark, November night, I was lost somewhere outside the small town of Walden, CO, searching for a bison ranch. I had taken time off from my marketing job at Whole Foods Market to help during the outfit’s annual bison roundup. With no cell service, I was becoming increasingly concerned about finding the ranch. Self-doubt kicked in. When I finally had service I called my husband. “Is this normal?! For a 30-some year old woman to be spending her free time showing up at some ranch not knowing where she is going to sleep, what she is going to eat, to learn about a completely new profession?!” My husband replied, “No, but do it anyway.”


I’ve always doted on the calves, but this year I realize that I am in love with the Motherherd. I love the Mother words: Motherlove, Mothergod, Acequia Madre. Written as compound words, they become icons rather than alphabetic symbols to me, and like an icon, the paint, wood and gilt is believed to be infused with the sacred nature of what it depicts. The word and the herd smooth my skin when I’m rattled or angry.

Living with livestock: A summer herding cattle in the Sawtooth Mountains

As I drove north and east, away from the golden California foothills that are Steinbeck country and into a Martian landscape where places went by names like “Craters of the Moon,” “Atomic City” and the “Sawtooth Mountains,” I wondered what was wrong with me.

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Help us grow the Women in Ranching program by donating now. Your financial contribution will help cover such expenses as meals, facilitation, horse handling and scholarships for women who need extra support to participate. In the donation form, include a message to WLA that says "Women in Ranching donation."

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Get in Touch

If you are interested in hosting a WinR Circle on your ranch, participating in a gathering or supporting this growing movement, please contact our Program Manager, Amber Smith.

©2019 Western Landowners Alliance • PO BOX 6278, Santa Fe, NM 87502 • 505.466.1495 • Privacy Policy

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