Cattle drive moves more than cows through Nevada’s Genoa area
GENOA, Nev. — There was a time when moving Ranch No. 1 cattle to summer pasture was an operation that lasted days and moved the animals up Kingsbury Grade and through the middle of Stateline on their way into the mountains.
These days summer pasture is right next door, but people on horseback still drive cattle far enough for observers to experience a bit of what it must have been like not all that long ago.
This year, Ranch No. 1 coordinated with the River Fork Ranch to move the cows in time for the annual Ranching and Wildlife Program funded by the U.S. Department of Wildlife.
“Somebody had the idea to bring the cows over May 1,” said Ranch No. 1’s J.B. Lekumberry. “We were happy to coordinate the agricultural part by running our cows through from our pasture to their pasture, so the elementary school kids get to see.”
Lekumberry said that Ranch No. 1 grows hay on its upper field during the summer.
Both Ranch No. 1 and River Fork Ranch have conservation easements designed to preserve their use for agriculture, according to Carson River Project Director for the Nature Conservancy Duane Petite, who manages River Fork.
Grazing cattle on the lower ranch during spring, summer and fall helps keep down invasive plants, Petite said.
“One of the cool things is that oftentimes the bulk of the wranglers working the cattle drive are female,” Petite said. “It’s important for female students to see another role for themselves. They see the cattle dogs working. The program reconnects with the ranching legacy we have in the Valley and takes that a step further.”
The conservation part of the program goes into things like pollinators, soil and water.
“It’s just a good opportunity to think about the nexus between our ranching heritage and conservation,” he said. “Those things can go hand in hand to showcase the program.”
Scarselli Elementary students also ate a meal barbecued by Lekumberry, who is a co-owner of J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room. Starbucks sent volunteers to serve the children.
“We want them to see the connection between food, and the land and the ranch,” he said. “We try to time one of the cattle drives so they can see that.”
Both River Fork and Ranch No. 1 are located along Genoa Lane just below Nevada’s first settlement.