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Missoula couple brings the beef, and conservation to the city’s outskirts

MISSOULA – In an era when more and more of Missoula’s open space and agricultural lands disappear to development every year, one couple is using that change to their advantage.

And at the same time, they’re also using their land to educate, and conserve the land and water which make this part of Montana so special.

Bart and Wendy Morris are the proud owners of the Oxbow Cattle Company, a sprawling grass-fed beef operation which now encompasses hundreds of acres along, and above Miller Creek.

The couple is developing a unique model of commerce, where they raise the best beef and then sell it direct-to-market from their small store building at the ranch on Lower Miller Creek. They say it’s fulfilling their dream of using agriculture to not only feed, but also benefit the land and their neighbors.

“It’s kind of bringing the city of Missoula in contact with where their food is produced is what it essentially is,” they said. “The land and the livestock and right here on the edge of town. I mean that’s our goal is to share this with Missoula. All the animals that are produced here go directly to the city of Missoula. All our beef does. We direct market it all here. It’s all natural, grass finished. Locally raised as it gets.”

Oxbow Miller Cr Project
A Bitterroot Water Forum volunteer waters new trees planted along Lower Miller Creek on the Oxbow Ranch. (Dennis Bragg photo)

But it’s not just about raising cattle at Oxbow. The Morrises are also teaming up with the Bitterroot Water Forum to help restore a more than half mile stretch of Miller Creek, with new fencing and careful grazing management that will help bring one of the last major tributaries on the Bitterroot River back to life.

Tonight at 10, Dennis Bragg will go On Special Assignment to show how this partnership could be a model for more local conservation efforts in the years to come.

Dennis Bragg

Dennis Bragg

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