The Land Report

AG 2019

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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to take into consideration: the members of his own family. "is ranch obviously has a place in every family member's heart. During the five years I was negotiating the conserva- tion easement that closed in 2005, I was often heard to say that regardless of where any family member lives in the world, whenever they drive through the gates at San Simeon, they all think they're home. And that's very, very true," he says. "Ultimately, we convinced everybody that it was a good thing, and we reserved the right to build 27 owner homes and a small inn on San Simeon Bay. We haven't built any of the homes, and we haven't built the inn. We've got the rights to do it, and ultimately, with the growing family, I'm sure that some houses on the property are going to be necessary and desired," Steve says. e California Rangeland Trust monitors the San Simeon easement. Founded in 1998, the trust is an organization established by cattlemen and cattlewomen "to conserve the open space, natural habitat, and stewardship provided by Cali- fornia's ranches." "ey actually understand ranching and understand emer- gency needs of getting across creeks and rivers. ey under- stand drought conditions and that the grazing may be a little bit more intense in those peri- ods." ey understand those kinds of things, and they come and supervise the easement twice a year on site," Steve says. Another major initiative got underway in 2010 when Steve invited a delegation from Whole Foods to tour San Simeon. buildings, but we don't want them changed. All of us in the family, whenever we drive through the gates at San Simeon, we feel like we're home." At its heart, San Simeon and its sister operation, the Jack Ranch, are traditional cattle outfits. In the winter, breeder bulls are turned out with cows. Calves drop in the fall. e fol- lowing winter, mother cows and calves are rounded up for vaccinations. Gentle handling helps famil- iarize the calves with humans. It also minimizes the stress they endure. e newly branded calves are quickly reunited with their mothers and then moved into low-intensity grazing rota- tions that protect native range. Inland pastures are grazed first to allow coastal pastures time to mature for summer and fall grazing. Calves aren't weaned until summer, when they'd nat- urally wean themselves. After weaning, steers and heifers are moved to the choic- est pastures to put on weight. e specific locations are selected based on rainfall and recent grazing history. About 1,400 acres of irrigated pasture provide insurance against the ever-present threat of drought. Once the cattle reach about 1,200 pounds — ideally around the 18-month mark — they are moved to a facility certified for humane processing. Hearst Ranch has earned numerous humane handling certifications through the Global Animal Partnership. is time-tested plan has been developed and improved by generations of Hearst Ranch cowboys and family members over the past 150 years. "We're letting cows be cows, and giving them plenty of room to do it," says Steve Hearst, the fifth-generation family member who runs Hearst Corporation's ranching and timber operations as well as its real estate interests in San Francisco and Southern California. In addition to San Simeon, the family's name for the his- toric 83,000-acre Piedra Blanca Rancho that surrounds Hearst Castle, the properties include the 73,000-acre Jack Ranch in Paso Robles and 61,000 acres of timberland in Northern California. "I came over after 25 years at newspapers and, as a fam- ily member, had the privilege of growing up on these ranches and getting to play on them and also work alongside some of the cowboys with brandings and so forth," Steve says. His arrival heralded an era of momentous change, one whose initial focus was to develop a conservation easement for San Simeon. At 128 square miles, it is five times Manhattan's size, and it boasts miles of breathtak- ing Pacific Ocean frontage. "e conservation deal is something that required some pretty heavy lifting at the begin- ning because of all of the battles with the Coastal Commission over certain developmental opportunities at the ranch on the coast with some resorts and golf courses and so forth. I think we were fairly villain- ized, unreasonably so, but very villainized by some extremist environmental organizations and independent rock throwers from the local communities." In addition, there was another major constituency We're letting cows be cows and giving them plenty of room to do it. —STEVE HEARST 42 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | AGRICULTURE 20 19

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