FUTURE THINKING​

BERT GLOVER ON EXPORTING AUSTRALIAN regenerative farming IP to US ranches

Bert Glover, Founder and CEO USA

There are few ranches the scale of Matador Ranch and Cattle. Stretching across 412,000 acres from the Beaverhead Valley through the Blacktail Range and into the Centennial Valley of Montana, United States, ‘The Matador’ teems with Angus and Wagyu cattle, native wildlife, crystal clear trout streams, healthy soil, and knee-high grasslands.

(And as an Australian agricultural asset developer with a passion for building profitable businesses and thriving ecosystems, adding grizzly bears to our list of priority conservation species has been a bit of a thrill.)

Founded in 1872 and formerly owned by the Koch family, Matador has a rich history of running cattle using production systems that tread lightly on the landscape. So, what better place to launch Impact Ag Partners’ US expansion – collaborating with the ranch team to level-up ranching and create ecological change, economic value, and social benefit.

As operating partner for the ranch, our brief from Matador’s new owner, Rupert Murdoch (who took ownership in 2021) was clear and ambitious: to use world leading techniques to transform Matador into the most profitable ranch in the US, while enhancing its ecological legacy. That meant transitioning to regenerative ranching that built and preserved its flora and fauna.

Our strategy centres on intensifying cattle grazing. Animals are moved frequently – sometimes even daily, depending on grass cover – with paddocks rested between 30 to 120 days through the spring, summer and autumn. We’re trying to replicate the historical grazing pattern of the native bison, which moved in large groups across small areas allowing the land they left behind to recover and rest – stimulating plant growth and carbon sequestration.

Leveraging skills we’ve honed in Australia, we have implemented four carbon projects based on the US Verra-approved method – working with accredited third parties to conduct measurement, recording, and verification.

It’s a space Impact Ag plays comfortably in. Thanks to our investor partners, we’ve pioneered carbon projects with promising results in both regulated and voluntary markets at home in Australia, including the largest global transaction of voluntary soil carbon credits. Matador Ranch and Cattle provides us a larger stage to implement these solutions and influence the broader carbon debate whilst delivering tangible returns to the ranch.

Beyond carbon, Impact Ag has been exploring other premiumisation opportunities to elevate Matador’s environmental and economic results. This includes developing two beef brands to secure premium market access for our grassfed product; virtual fencing for more precise livestock management; the conservation control of elk; and collaborating with government to protect endangered species.

But a flagship initiative is our collaboration with the University of California, Davis, and Blue Ocean Barns to reduce methane emissions from cattle using asparagopsis. By feeding cattle this natural seaweed supplement, we help them reduce their methane emissions, improve weight gain over time and improve their feed and energy efficiency – a win for both the cattle and the planet.

Our work at Matador is about more than profitability; it’s about setting a new standard in how we produce food in natural ecosystems. By applying our advanced IP to US farms and ranches, we aim to prove that environmental stewardship and profitability are not mutually exclusive – inspiring broader adoption of regenerative agriculture for more resilient and productive agricultural systems.

And it underscores the importance of international collaboration in scaling up nature positive agriculture to tackle climate change. Whether we’re in Armidale or Montana – graziers, farmers, or ranchers – climate change has us worried about the same things: rising temperatures, increasing CO2, changing precipitation, longer and more intense droughts, heat stress.

I see Impact Ag’s job as not just operating partner for this magnificent land. It’s about sharing our collective decades’ worth of lessons in implementing the regenerative transition – what works, what doesn’t, where to focus energies and investment – to spur a broader conversation on how regenerative ranching could be part of the climate solution.

It’s our hope that ranches and farms worldwide are inspired by the Matador example – amplifying our impact far beyond Montana’s borders.

FUTURE THINKING