Defying convention is standard at San Juan Ranch. And with the mounting pressures from prolonged drought, climate change and unsustainably low crop prices, Julie Sullivan and her partner George Whitten’s idiosyncratic take on what it means to be a rancher in the West might save their operation, and also help others inevitably facing the same challenges.
“The idea that people that are raising animals for food can’t care about them, or have to harden their hearts is opposite of what it should be,” Sullivan said. “The more compassion and empathy that we can have for them – those are the people who should be raising animals.”
Along the way, San Juan Ranch has joined a broader movement to connect female ranchers, mentor young women and pioneer a new ethos behind ranching in the West.