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Success Stories The Selman Family | Utah

Harold Selman Ranches
Tremonton, Utah
By Ron Francis, NRCS Public Affairs Specialist, Salt Lake City, Utah;
801-524-4557;; October 31, 2007


The Selman Family. The Selman Family stands out among the many private landowners in Utah and nationwide who are leading the way in modern conservation. Their ranching operation is a terrific example of how a well-run livestock operation can turn a profit while also protecting wildlife, soils, and other natural resources.

Through four generations, the Selman family has gone out of their way to promote sustainable ranching and farming operations while conserving habitat and implementing model stewardship practices. The family's ranching legacy clearly demonstrates how a deeply engrained family stewardship ethic has lead to enhanced efficiency, increased production, and greater profitability.

The Selman story dates back to the 1940s when Harold and Dorthella Selman began ranching and farming in the Tremonton area. It was then taken over by their son, Fred, and his wife, Laura, who continue to manage the ranch. Their son, Bret, and his wife, Michelle also help on the ranch. The ranch is currently comprised of five main properties, including the 6,700-acre Four Mile Ranch and the Home Ranch, which includes a substantial community garden. Approximately 2,500 head of ewes and 125 head of stock cows are raised annually.

The family has employed numerous conservation practices through the years, including planting windbreaks for wildlife and bird nesting; rotational grazing; planting native vegetation; developing alternate water sources to protect riparian areas; preserving water quality and quantity; and enhancing habitat for rare wildlife. Commenting on their work to preserve the Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Bret said "The best pat on the back is when you're out alone in the morning and you see the numbers of grouse increasing on a lek, and you know you've doing the right thing for the right reason.'

The Selmans have also made a commitment to reaching out to a myriad of federal, state, and local land management partners, as well as the agricultural community and the general public. Bret is involved in the Utah Farm Bureau, Bridgerland Audubon, and the Division of Wildlife Resources Advisory Committee. Fred is Chairman of the Northern Utah Soil Conservation District. Laura has served on the Board of the Farm Service Agency and Northern Region Shrub-Steppe Working Group. The Selmans also often serve as spokespeople for ranching and conservation interests by working with local and state media to get information out to the public. In a recent video interview, Laura said "education and involvement with Ag in the Classroom are places where we can all work together to bring out the importance of agriculture."

The Selman Family were recently chosen for the first-ever Leopold Conservation Award in Utah presented by the Sand County Foundation in partnership with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation and the Utah Cattlemen's Association.

Photo of Bret with horse courtesy of J.R. Raybourn Photography.


Photo of lambs.