Ed Roberson

Matt Skoglund - Adventures in Bison Ranching

Matt Skoglund - Adventures in Bison Ranching

Matt Skoglund and his wife Sarah are bison ranchers and the owners of the North Bridger Bison Ranch, which is located in Montana's iconic Shields Valley. The Skoglund's bison operation is deeply rooted in Holistic Management and Regenerative Agriculture principles, and their goal is to produce healthy and delicious meat, while simultaneously improving the land, helping the environment, and contributing to Montana's economy. Through hard work and genuine curiosity, Matt has found his life's true calling in bison ranching—a challenging yet deeply rewarding business that combines so many of Matt's passions into one dream job. By now, you may be assuming that Matt comes from a western ranching family or perhaps holds agriculture degrees from a land-grant university. But the reality is that Matt grew up in the Chicago area, attended college in the northeast, then law school, then began a career as an attorney in the litigation department of a large Chicago law firm. After several years of practicing law, he and Sarah could no longer resist the desire to move West, so they took a leap of faith and moved to Bozeman. Matt found a job with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where he worked for nearly ten years, digging deep into many conservation issues that affect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including bison. Finally, in 2018, after several years of dreaming and planning, they pulled the trigger, bought some land, and started their adventure in bison ranching. Matt and Sarah's story is inspiring and instructive, especially for those who have dreams of pursuing lives and careers in the West. Instead of jumping all over the place like I normally do, this conversation is pretty much split into two main sections. The first half covers all the details about North Bridger Bison, how they acquired the ranch, their process of field harvesting the meat, who their customers are, and some of the biggest surprises of running their own business. The second half covers some broader personal topics, such as how being a father has affected Matt's outlook, why he was able to walk away from a lucrative career in law, and the life lessons learned from being a college hockey player. Whether you are strictly interested in agriculture or only interested in people's personal evolutions, there are aspects of the Skoglund's journey that will be fascinating to both groups. Be sure the check the episode notes for a list of everything we discussed. Hope you enjoy! --- https://mountainandprairie.com/matt-skoglund/ --- TOPICS DISCUSSED: 4:00 - The location of the ranch 5:45 - Why they chose the Shields Valley 8:15 - Details around purchasing the ranch 12:30 - Genesis of the bison ranch idea 14:30 - Books that shaped Matt's business philosophy 16:00 - Transitioning from dreaming about ranching to doing it 18:15 - Criteria when searching for land 22:45 - Collaboration among bison ranchers 25:30 - Details of field harvesting bison 30:40 - Biggest surprises of bison ranching 36:00 - How past professional experiences inform bison ranching 37:00 - Lessons learned from stressful situations 39:30 - Transition from the law to conservation 42:00 - Moving to Bozeman 43:00 - Getting off the big law firm "treadmill" 44:50 - Where Matt got his independent streak 47:30 - Lessons learned from high-level athletics 49:30 - How having kids changed Matt's life and perspective 54:30 - Three specific heroes and mentors 58:45 - Aldo Leopold obsession 1:00:15 - Favorite books ---- ABOUT MOUNTAIN & PRAIRIE: Mountain & Prairie Podcast Mountain & Prairie on Instagram Upcoming Events About Ed Roberson Support Mountain & Prairie

Duration: 1 hr 4 min

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