The Matador Ranch

The Nature Conservancy’s Matador Ranch sits within some of North America’s best remaining northern mixed-grass prairie. This land supports grassland birds that are in decline throughout their range. It is also home to black-tailed prairie dogs.

The ranch is the hub of our research and a model of innovative partnerships for grassland conservation. (see map)


The Conservancy purchased the 60,000 acre ranch in 2000 to demonstrate how conservation and ranching can work hand in hand. As the largest private ranch in the area, the Matador first needed to demonstrate that it was a good neighbor.

The Matador’s pioneering grassbank was one way to reach out. The grassbank lets local ranchers graze their cattle on the Matador for discounted fees based on the various conservation practices used on their own ranches. Since the ranchers involved in the Matador grazing program have prairie dogs, sage grouse or grassland birds on their own ranches, benefits accrue for both wildlife and the ranchers’ bottom lines.

This partnership has also resulted in placement of permanent conservation easements on private land in the area.


The Matador is on track to be a center for scientific research on grassland conservation. The ranch has already played a key role in tracking imperiled Long-billed Curlews. long-term research based on-site. 

Matador Ranch

For information and ranch visits contact Charlie Messerly

4883 Ranch Road, Dodson, MT 59524
Phone:  406-673-3344



Matador grassbank

Click the image above to join a virtual cattle drive with the Matador Ranch grassbankers.

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