Meet Your Rancher: The Menges Family
The Menges Family and their ranches are in Graham and Greenlee Counties, where they run a cow-calf ranch. Please enjoy the interview below to learn more about this ranching family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and about your ranch:
Jeff is a 4th generation lifetime rancher. He graduated from NMSU with degrees in range management and animal science. He grew up in Catron County, NM, on a forest service ranch. We have three sons; Ben, Mark, and Luke. We have two ranches operating as one unit along Gila River and Bonita Creek areas.
How does the technology you use now differ from the technology that was passed down to you or that generations passed may have used on this ranch?
The use of ATV’s instead of horses on the ranch has made us a great deal more efficient than in generations past because we can check waters, cattle, fences, etc. much more quickly. Also, solar technologies are advancing rapidly and now are available to draw water from wells as deep as 800 feet. We use solar technology on many of our wells on both ranches, which is clean energy and a reliable resource for us in Arizona.
What are some common misconceptions that you think people may have about the way your raise your beef on your ranch?
Our ranch headquarters is relatively easy to access, and we welcome those who would like to learn more about ranching to visit the ranch. We engage with the local community a great deal by hosting ranch day experiences, meetings and workshops. One misconception is that grazing riparian areas is detrimental to the resource; however, we have proven that that is not the case, in fact, it is highly beneficial.
What is the most important thing that you do on your ranch every day to make sure you are raising safe beef for the consumer?
Providing the cattle with adequate nutrition and clean water to drink all year long are the most important things we can do as ranchers to keep our cattle healthy
What is the most important piece of information that you would want people to know about you and the work you do on you ranch every day?
We believe if we take good care of the land, it will take care of us and our cattle. We believe in careful stewardship of the natural resources, which in turn allows us to provide a safe and wholesome product for the consumer.
If you could describe in one word the life of a rancher, what would it be?
Lastly and of course most importantly, what is your favorite cut of beef and how do you like to prepare it?
Grilled rib-eye steak
Editor’s Note: Suzanne is an extremely progressive and active member of the Arizona State Cowbelles and the American National Cattlewomen (ANCW) as well as a founding member of her local chapter. The Cowbelle organization works to promote and educate about Arizona beef by interacting with consumers at various events such as the Ranch Day programs Suzanne has helped put on for many years. This program offers the opportunity for school-aged children to visit the ranch to experience and learn about all aspects of ranching in southeastern Arizona. Dr. Menges is currently developing a leadership training program for ANCW. She didn’t brag much about herself in these answers, so we wanted to do a little of it for her.