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The ranch currently runs 11,000 head of mother cows, 500 bulls, 9,000 calves, with annual herd size of 20,000

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM - Bails of hay stacked at ZX RanchThe ZX Ranch is located near Paisley, Oregon. It was established in the 1880s by a prospector named John D. Coughlin. It was primarily a cattle ranch, and he acquired land under the Wetlands Act of Oregon and by purchasing land from the Klippel family. He expanded his holdings but after 20 years, he sold the marshy ground to the Kern County Land Company based in Bakersfield, California. The company did extensive work to drain the Chewaucan Marsh and develop a large irrigation system. This allowed the company to develop large scale hay production. The ZX brand was registered to the Chewaucan Land and Livestock Company in 1918. It is not certain how the brand was developed, but some of the earlier ranches had brands with similar letters such as the XYZ and YZ, and they may have decided to use ZX.

The ability to produce hay allowed the cow herd size to grow rapidly. The ranch owned 230,000 acres by the 1930s and leased an additional 1.5 million acres. The herd size reached a maximum size of about 30,000 breeding cows. During the fall and winter months, buckaroos spent their time working the herds in the fields of the former marsh. During the spring and summer months, cattle were herded to leased or permit lands.

Mature calves were shipped to California and the Bakersfield shipping pens. The ranch had a remuda of horses from which buckaroos broke the horses for riding. The ranch also hired wagon cooks for the large roundups on the vast ranges of the ranch. Several buckaroos were needed to move cattle from various ranges and to shipping points.

The ranch changed ownership a number of times. It was purchased later by the J.R. Simplot Company of Idaho, and the ranch size was about 1.3 million acres, including 80,000 deeded acres and land leased from other private owners, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Currently the ZX runs 11,000 head of mother cows, 500 head of bulls and 9,000 calves with an annual herd size of about 20,000.


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