Some days, Logan Mannix rides a motorbike through his family’s land in the pristine Blackfoot Valley, moving cows from pasture to pasture or setting up irrigation. Other days he’s working with a big crew of family and ranch hands, branding or driving cattle. He said the variety is part of the reason he’s glad he’s back working on the family ranch.
“It’s a combination of sometimes being off on your own in the outdoors and being amazed at the environment around you, and on the flip side the amazing relationships you can develop with siblings and aunts and uncles,” he said.
Logan’s great-great-grandfather, Timothy Benjamin Mannix founded the ranch in 1882. Today two generations of Mannix family members work on the ranch. Logan’s father, David, and uncles Brent and Randy head operations. The brothers’ wives, 7 members of the 5th generation of ranchers, and a few non-family employees also work on the ranch. Logan was a science teacher for years and returned to the ranch to raise his family and manage the Mannix Family Grass Finished Beef business.
Logan said the ranch’s deep history guides the business.
“When we make decisions, we think about what’s going to work for our grandkids and great-grandkids,” Logan said. “We consider a long time horizon when thinking about everything from soil health, to relationships with our neighbors, to relationships with the land.”
“The reason I really like the idea of local food is because it’s the only way you can really feel like you’re supporting a producer you know is doing a good job managing the land.”
Most decisions come back to the land–the landscape is even reflected in the cows’ genetics. The family has been selecting for traits that will allow their cows to thrive on the Mannix land for decades. The animals are small and grow well on the types of forage available in their pastures. In the early 2000s the family decided to try finishing their beef on grass. Logan said that when people have a bad experience with grass-finished beef, it is often because the beef was harvested too lean. The Mannix family consistently produces grass-fed and finished beef that is tender, well marbled, and flavorful. Logan said that is achieved through the family’s selection of genetics and a unique grazing system.
Logan said he knows Mannix beef is delicious, but he’s even more proud of the way the family cares for the environment around the ranch.
“Buying beef from us means supporting responsible land management,” Logan said.
The ranch has collaborated with conservation groups on stream restoration, wildlife management, and soil health projects. Most of the land is held in conservation easements that will prevent it from being heavily developed in the future.
Logan said the idea of land stewardship has always been central to the family’s approach.
“Grandpa Burt passed along a very simple value—leaving the land better than you found it,” he said.
Logan said conservation efforts have also been good for business. By partnering with conservation groups and government agencies the Mannix family has gotten opportunities to expand their operation, manage their land, and improve their grazing system.
Logan, his family, and other producers around the state are working toward building a tightly knit Montana food systems where consumers understand how the food they eat impacts the environment.
“The reason I really like the idea of local food is because it’s the only way you can really feel like you’re supporting aproducer you know is doing a good job managing the land,” Logan said.
Check out our listing for the Mannix Brothers Ranch HERE to learn how to get your hands on some of the family’s delicious products.
Mary Auld is a Communications Coordinator for Abundant Montana. She lives in Missoula. Her first pets were worms in the compost bin. You can reach her at [email protected]