Rocky Hill Cattle Company
Tom Butterfield bought the 150 acres of Wallowa Valley irrigated pasture that their cattle graze the year his son Mark was born. The Rocky Hill herd, which includes 150 mother cows, also has the run of around 1800 acres of the Zumwalt Prairie, a small sliver of the vast grassland area and private nature sanctuary in Wallowa County, OR.
Managed by the Nature Conservancy, an agency that works across the Zumwalt landscape with ranchers like Butterfield to maintain the prairie’s ecological health, the land is grazed sustainably by the livestock responsible for its economic viability.
Second generation rancher Mark describes himself as a hay exporter who got into the cattle business when he was trying to improve crop rotation. He and his dad planted a no-till crop and saw the results immediately: ample, lush feed for the cattle, a bump in production for the wheat crop and bonus alfalfa. They’ve kept cattle ever since.
Mark and his dad were partners until 2014, when Tom Butterfield retired and Mark’s son Jaymes purchased his grandfather’s half of the herd.