The Salt Creek Ranch, on the pastoral Western Slope of Colorado, has been in the MacKenzie family since the mid-90s. Fran and her sister, Lesta, purchased the ranch together, inspired by happy memories at their grandfather’s ranches in California and Colorado.
Fran and Lesta naturally raised champion Registered Herefords until Lesta lost her battle to cancer in 2012. Although the goal had always been to establish the ranch as a family homestead, the responsibility of managing the property on her own seemed overwhelming, and Fran reluctantly listed the property for sale.
But when Colorado legalized industrial hemp farming in 2014, a huge, yet risky, opportunity presented itself. Fran’s daughter, Margaret, talked her mom into giving hemp farming a try.
Thanks to Fran’s dedication to soil heath, and all those cows, the soil at Salt Creek was primed and ready for planting hemp. She has energized the soil with balanced and bioavailable organic nutrients, while promoting and sustaining microbiota within the soil environment.
Plateau Valley, where the ranch is located, is isolated from surrounding regions by Grand Mesa National Forest. The climate, and the lack of hemp pollen in the air, has proven to be the ideal setting for growing pure, potent hemp.
Starting with one acre and seeds purchased in a clandestine side-of-the-road exchange, they broke ground on what is now a thriving hemp farm.