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Heifer Ranch: A History

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In our first 27 years, small farms across the United States served as breeding and holding areas for livestock until they were ready for shipment. When we received a gift of approximately 2,000 Angus cattle, the need for more acreage became crucial.

Heifer Ranch History

We discovered Fourche River Ranch—1,200 acres of pastureland, 65 miles of fences, more than a dozen homes and barns, and bounded on three sides by the Fourche LaFavre River—just three miles south of Perryville, Arkansas.

Heifer Ranch History

On May 28, 1971, William E. Darby, a businessman and philanthropist, sold us the ranch and donated 50 cattle with the sale.

Heifer Ranch History

Following our move to Little Rock from St. Louis, we began a capital campaign to pay for Heifer Ranch. Arkansans received us warmly. Donors came from all over the country to visit. Many gave for the right to “own” an acre, inspect the herds and fish in the river “for as long as the sun shines and the river runs into the sea.” Heifer Ranch was paid for in five years.

Heifer Ranch History

Heifer Ranch was the ideal location for a holding farm.

Heifer Ranch History

In the last 40 years, our purpose has evolved. The Ranch no longer serves as a holding farm for shipments of livestock, as we almost exclusively source livestock from the countries in which we work.

Heifer Ranch History

Now, the primary purpose of Heifer Ranch is as a Learning Center. We use 250 acres for educational purposes and lease the remainder of our acreage to other ranchers in the area.

Heifer Ranch History

Visitors learn about the root causes of hunger and poverty and the ways in which livestock and people can make a difference. At Heifer Ranch, we practice and teach stewardship of the land, environmental care, livestock management and appropriate technology.