Year Inducted: 2014
Valley Ford, California
Conlan Ranches California and True Grass Farms of Valley Ford, Calif., was honored as a regional winner of the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP), today. The award, which is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, is presented to farmers and ranchers who are working hard to protect America’s natural resources.
The land on which Conlan Ranches California and True Grass Farms operates has been in Guido Frosini’s family since 1867. However, when he took over the operation 13 years ago, the ranch had fallen into a state of disrepair. Since then, Frosini has worked to clean up the ranch by building fences and implementing an intensive grazing program. He has also worked to clean stock ponds, and to plant trees and grass where needed. Frosini has also culled the original herd to establish a top-quality full-blood Wagyu herd. During the severe drought of the past two years, the ranch has not only survived, but thrived as a result of Frosini’s work.
“It’s amazing to me what Guido has done to keep this grassland intact in such a severe drought. His land is healthy and vibrant in the face of some really extreme conditions,” said Rebecca Burgess, Education Director, at The Carbon Cycle Institute. “His water tables are rising. He’s sequestering carbon and water. These are all extremely important and beneficial things that are happening here. And that creates happy and healthy animals.”
Today, Conlan Ranches and True Grass Farms operates on nearly 1,300 acres of privately-owned land in Marin County, near San Francisco, Calif. Their herd is the only certified organic Wagyu operation west of the Mississippi River and one of the largest in the United States.
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Frosini has a diverse background for a young producer. Although his experience isn’t in ranching, he enrolled in Santa Rosa Junior College to study land management and cattle production, while also seeking advice from well-known professionals in the area. Frosini also gained hands-on experience through an internship on a Wagyu ranch in Hawaii. As a result of that experience, he gathered new land management techniques and was able to apply what he learned to alter the calving season of Conlan Ranches.
Through extensive management improvements, organic matter percentages have increased in the soils on the ranches managed by Frosini. Better ground cover has resulted in very clear runoff, even during large storms. Frosini has also increased habitat for deer, wildfowl, reptiles and amphibians as a direct result of his environmental stewardship. “We want customers that believe in what we do as land managers and who are proud to continue supporting us so we may continue to support them,” Frosini said.