Cattle on the move near the Matador Ranch
Cattle on the Move Cattle on the move near the Matador Ranch © Ami Vitale

Places We Protect

The Matador Ranch


Helping conserve wildlife and family ranching.


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 and the longest migration of pronghorn on Earth.

The ranch is the site of our pioneering grassbank and the hub of research on grassland conservation. 


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 pronghorn, deer, elk, 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