Sustaining The Family Ranch
Danny and Mandy Plainfeather live and operate their ranch on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Mandy grew up helping her mom and dad on their family ranch and Danny spent 17 years helping his father ranch.
Thanks to ranching and helping on other’s ranches, they both gained an understanding of how to operate their own ranch, what hard work is and hope to pass the ranch onto their children and grandchildren in the future. When Mandy’s parents passed away during covid, they knew that it was now their responsibility to maintain the families ranch and to take on a larger role of caring not only the land and their cattle, but her dad’s cattle as well.
“There are storms ahead and we gotta push through” says Mandy when they are met with challenges.
The Plainfeather’s started their operating loan with us in 2021, then applied for an equipment loan to buy haying equipment. Danny heard about Akiptan at an Indian Agriculture Council conference in Billings, Montana, then he got in contact with the loan officer, Melissa and she walked them through the process. They were approved quickly thanks to her support and the loan helped them to purchase their cattle herd. They both agreed that the paperwork was easy because Akiptan guided them through it and explained it in a way that was easy to comprehend.
“They give you a chance, they really want to see Native’s succeed” - says Danny of the Akiptan loan products and technical assistance.”
Danny spent years helping at others ranches and enjoys being on the other side of the business now. They now care for their herd and their parent’s herd. Mandy’s parents spent years getting hay from other local rancher’s, but now with the support of Akiptan’s patient capital, Mandy and Danny were able to purchase haying equipment. They are proud to be able to cut their own hay and also take care of their late father’s herd. Danny and Mandy want to be able to pass the ranch on to their children and grandchildren in the future, they hope to purchase more cattle and be able to keep back as many heifers as possible. They are excited to see the possibilities and to have fellow native ranchers requesting them to put hay up for them.
Mandy and Danny have a few words of encouragement for those who are wanting to get into the ranching business, Mandy says that beginning ranchers should start out conservative, work hard, don’t give up and to make sure that they have what they need. Growing up having a cattle ranch supported Mandy and her siblings to gain their higher education degrees and it’s important to understand how raising cattle can benefit many areas of your life, education and sweat equity included. Mandy acknowledges that the family ranch supported her education and is eager to give back to her children and grandchildren. Danny adds that "It's a long road, it takes a handful of years to make a profit and to remember that we are taking care of these cattle because we care.”