Building and expanding: Teichert brothers weather tough times together
Cokeville – While it seems that many families don’t get along in business, Tim and Matt Teichert have been running Teichert Brothers Cattle Company since 1994.
“Matt was here and had some cows. He asked if I wanted to go in with him because dad wanted to sell his cows and retire,” says Tim, “so I moved up here from southern Utah.”
With the help of a few hired men, their wives and children, the Teichert brothers are able to successfully run a cattle operation.
Taking over the ranch
“Our grandpa came here in about 1928,” explains Tim of the operation’s beginnings. “They had a place in American Falls, Idaho, on the bottoms, but their ground was condemned. With the money they got, they came here and started.”
The Teichert family ran a dairy through the Great Depression, also buying land. The brothers grew up on the land they now ranch.
“Dad worked for the State Engineer’s Office, had the ranch and helped to raise nine kids,” says Tim. “When we were kids it was a Hereford operation.”
The operation raised registered Herefords and had a bull sale each year, but when Matt and Tim’s father took control of the operation, they began to switch to running Red Angus bulls.
Today, the Teichert Brothers run a commercial herd and registered herd. Their commercial cows are primarily Angus, Charolais and Hereford, and the registered sector of the operation features Red Angus and Black Angus.
“The first couple years we were leasing dad’s place, we ran yearlings,” Tim says. “I was teaching physical education, health and English at the time.”
They still each have a job in town on top of ranching, but a few hired men, their wives and children help out on the ranch.
Cows and hay
With herds that calve from February though May, the Teichert brothers keep busy.
“Our purebred cows start calving the end of February,” explains Matt. “We can’t barn the commercial cattle, so they start later.”
On BLM and Forest Service lands, they are able to spend time of the range for much of the year, beginning in April until Oct. 1
“Our range is in the hills to the west,” explains Tim, adding that it is adjacent to their deeded land.
They are able to stay on spring range until the middle of June before they trail the cattle through the town of Cokeville to summer rangeland.
“We run cows on the southern boundary of the Bridger Teton National Forest,” he says.
Depending on when snow flies, they start feeding hay from the end of November to Jan. 1.
“We can handle a little bit of snow, but last year, we got a lot of snow early, and it got really cold,” explains Tim. “We had to start feeding by the end of November.”
To accommodate feeding their cows, the Teichert’s put up hay from meadows they own.
“It’s all grass hay. We’ve also had pivots in barley and oats, and they do really good,” Tim adds, noting that some years they have enough to sell some, while other years they buy hay to supplement their crops.
The Teichert’s have been working to expand the land on the operation continually.
“We’ve expanded pretty rapidly and have bought a place almost every year,” says Matt.
Without ditches through the meadows, Tim explains they flood irrigate the land, noting it looks like a lake with two to four inches of water.
On the river, they have also been working to rejuvenate willows and get rid of cattails to improve habitat and grazing conditions. Additionally, they are planning to install a bridge for easier access to lands across the Bear River.
“We’re just trying to make it better,” says Matt. “I like the land the best – even better than the cows. I like fixing it up to where we can produce more.”
“I’m the same. I enjoy fixing it up to run cows,” Tim adds.
With lush hay meadows, coupled with flood irrigation, Tim notes that there are ducks, geese, cranes and other birds that inhabit the hay meadows.
“Our land adjoins the Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge,” Tim adds, mentioning that the land also provides habitat for a variety of birds, deer and elk. “The only problem we have with elk is the sometimes get into the stack yards.”
Wildlife Services and Partners for Wildlife have been valuable partners for the Teichert’s, helping them with funding and resources to put in to rehabilitating the lands. They have also partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to continue developments on the land.
“We’ve done about 19 water structures total,” says Tim.
The unique nature of the valley creates some challenges for the Teichert’s.
“We have longer winters,” says Matt. “We’re also quite a ways from any markets or auctions.”
They sell their cattle at Riverton or Torrington, feeding them in Nebraska.
But overall, Matt says, “The place that we bought is a dream outfit – the Bear River floods it, it’s easy to irrigate and we can turn cows out for fall feed. It’s really a pretty place. We think we are pretty lucky.”
As the Teichert brothers operate in Cokeville, they place a strong focus on family.
“We’re a really close family,” says Matt. “That has been good. We’ve been lucky.”
They grew up in a family with nine children.
“Matt is the oldest boy, and I’m number seven,” says Tim, noting that they have two sisters and the rest of the family are boys.
Tim and his wife Renae have three children: Bronson, 19, Janae, 11, and Tana, 9.
Tim’s oldest, Bronson, is in his first year at Utah State University while his younger daughters live at home.
Matt’s family includes his wife and 10 children.
“I had five kids with my first wife. After we lost her to cancer, I remarried a lady that also had five kids,” he says. “Six are married and two are in college now.”
Matt adds that he has seven grandchildren, with four more due by the end of the year.
“They are all good kids,” say the brothers of their families.