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A ‘big picture’ outlook

KEITH NANTZ stands by one of his herds at his Oak Springs Ranch near Maupin.

KEITH NANTZ stands by one of his herds at his Oak Springs Ranch near Maupin. Photo by RaeLynn Ricarte.

Cowboy Keith Nantz partnered with landowner John Dillon in 2008 to start the Dillon Land and Cattle Company, which is headquartered in Dufur.

A Rancher's Life is a year-long series by reporter RaeLynn Ricarte and photographer Mark B. Gibson of The Dalles Chronicle. Here are the stories so far:

A Rancher's Life and A 'big picture' outlook started the series January 25, 2014.

All in a Day's Work and Moving cows is just the beginning were published February 12, with Weathering the storms. An audio slideshow, Working cows, was also published in February.

March started with a look at wolves in two parts, Wolf trouble and Wolves on the move. It continues with Springs promise, a look at calves and spring on the ranch.

The ranch itself is located on Oak Springs Road between Tygh Valley and Maupin and encompasses 1,500 acres, much planted in wheat and hay.

A herd of about 100 Angus and Angus-cross cattle graze that property and 120 acres along Fifteenmile Creek, as well as leased land on Eightmile Creek.

Another 2,000 acres of ground is leased from a nearby landowner for use in the enterprise.

Nantz is the operating manager for the business side of the company and works with Jason Ware in production and Craig Rutherford on mechanical issues.

He is proud to be among the 2 percent of the nation’s population that works in the agriculture industry.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Nantz serves as president of the North Central Livestock Association, which represents both Wasco and Sherman counties.

He is also co-chair of the Private Lands Committee for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, a member of the Water Resources Committee, and vice-chair of the state Young Cattlemen’s Committee.

“I’m a big picture person and I’m very, very involved with the political side of things,” he said of his work on behalf of the 13,000 cattle operations in the state. “If I’m not out there actively pursuing change, how can I gripe about things?”

Nantz is on a continual learning curve by seeking to learn and implement new strategies for production.

He is a graduate of the Ranching for Profit School run by Ranch Management Consultants of Fairfield, Calif., and continues his education through the organization’s Executive Link program.

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