Ranchers diversify to stay put
Capital AG Press
Zack Wirth realized more than 15 years ago that the economics of ranching would not let him make a living on his ancestral home, a scenic slice of western Montana tucked in the Rocky Mountains.
Wirth maintained a breeding herd of cattle and weaned calves on the Rocking Z Ranch, but he needed to supplement the livestock income. He tried selling automobile parts from Montana to New Mexico, but later turned to self-employed construction work. When the physical toll caught up with him in his late 40s, he later considered but quickly dismissed becoming a preparer of tax returns.