Hood Ranch - - A Ranching Legacy

 “It is important that people understand the importance of agricultural water. It is the basis for a sustainable food supply, provides for wildlife habitat, and helps create the scenic vistas we enjoy. Agricultural water is a part of our heritage, as well as our culture today. It is at the core of our environmental goals and economy and we need to use all of the various tools available to keep water in agriculture while at the same time allowing owners of water rights to realize its monetary value.” ~ Keith Hood



Keith Hood is a 4th generation born rancher in Custer County, Colorado. His family ranch was founded in 1871 with 5 or 6 homesteads. Their water rights date back to 1874 through 1890. The Hood Ranch is also protected with a conservation easement held by San Isabel Land Protection Trust.

On most days Keith wakes at 5:30 a.m. During hay season he doesn’t walk in the door until 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable people we know at San Isabel. Keith comes from a lineage of Gramma’s who started their day with a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey! While Keith prefers to finish his day with a shot of whiskey, he also enjoys a little dancin’!

 

Keith Hood - 4th Generation Custer County Rancher

 

Keith is a working rancher who depends on the health of the land for a profit. He graduated from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Animal Science in 1973, and has one daughter who is also an active farmer. Keith now is the manager of The Hood Family Ranch, LLC, an active cattle ranching operation. Keith has been a board member on and off with San Isabel since 2001 and also serves on the Custer County Planning Commission and is the Custer County representative to the Arkansas Basin Round Table. The Hood Family placed a conservation easement on their ranch in 2004 because it gave the family a chance to preserve the land as undeveloped property while allowing the operators of the ranch to continue to make ranching decisions as they have always done. It also provided funding for the establishment of retirement funds and an investment portfolio providing long term income.

When we asked Keith what he sees as the future of agriculture in our region he said “keep it just as it is”.

 

Original Homestead Built in 1870's

 

 

 

Productive Hay Fields with Water Rights Dating Back to 1874 through 1890

 

 

 

What remains of the 2nd Lutheran Church Built in Custer County Dating Back to the late 1800's
Old John Deer Letz Grain Grinder. Keith Recalls His Family Growing Oats During His Childhood
In addition to hay production, Hood Ranch has a cow/calf operation. Pictured: Simmental calves
Old Wagon Wheels Frame the Front Landscaping of the Ranch House
Keith Teaching SILPT's Development Director to Taste for the Sweetness in Timothy Grass
Photo Credits: Kate Hogins

 

 

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