If the words 'regenerative ranching' don't resonate, let Mitch Dumke's transformation inspire you. Mitch, a former vegetarian and software manager, now revels in his life as a working hand and partner at 3 Springs Land & Livestock near Oakley, raising chickens and steers with a holistic approach driven by the increasing pressure on agricultural land in Summit County. “Soil health drives our decisions,” Mitch emphasizes, reflecting on his journey from the tech world to the ranch.

The "our" includes partners James Gilsen and McKinley Smoot, who are equally committed to a holistic philosophy. "You can fix a bug in software code," Mitch observes. "But in ranching, though we can observe and nurture, we trust that billions of soil microorganisms do their part to bring more life to the land."

The impact of Mitch, James, and McKinley's ranching practices is visible in the field. Informed by their youth in the Wasatch Back, Mitch describes the changes they've brought to the ranchland. "There is more diversity in the birds, insects and plants in the field," he says. The land is healing, with bare spots disappearing as the slight disturbance caused by hooves allows natural steer-produced fertilizers to do their job. 'And the land has time, because we keep the animals moving,' Mitch adds, highlighting the positive effects of their approach.

"There isn't a handbook," he laughs about livestock and soil management. "We sometimes literally use duct tape and baling wire." He finds ranch life "regenerates the soul, watching the animals amid an ecosystem that is expanding with birds, insects and plants." With his family, he savors hiking, "especially Silver Spur," and volunteering with the Wasatch Community Gardens. "And traveling when the grass isn't growing," he laughs.

With 1,000 meat chickens and 22 cattle, the trio slaughters and processes their meat for sale locally. "Healthy meat, healthy life, healthy community," Mitch says.

"It is hard and often thankless work," he muses. “I pray not just for the food on the table but also for the places where it originated and the hands it has passed through."