At the turn of the century, Joe Vanek purchased a few hundred acres of land on Warm Spring Creek near Brooks, Montana. After years of hard work his son Wincil, was able to purchase some adjoining land to expand the ranch. This purchase included a spring that maintains a constant temperature of 68°F year-round, best known today as Gigantic Warm Spring. Since the beginning Vanek Ranch has been family affair, with the 3rd, 4thand 5thgenerations currently working together to get the day-to-day work done. David Vanek Sr. took over operations in the 1960’s and has recently handed the reigns over to his son Alan Vanek. Working along with Alan are his wife Leah and their son Cody as well as his brother Bill and his son Hugh.
The Vanek’s take pride in the quality Black Angus beef cattle and alfalfa they raise but also work in the custom cutting and contract trucking sector. In the summer season, they also operate the Gigantic Warm Spring as a recreational spot. Opening this weekend, May 25th, the world’s largest warm spring is a great spot to cool off on a hot summer day. Check out the Facebook page for more information.
New technology in agriculture offers the biggest potential for expansion and improvement on the Vanek Ranch. Looking forward they hope to incorporate cameras in the calving shed for remote monitoring of mothers and babies, drones to locate cattle in vast, mountain pastures and improved genetics in the cattle herd to produce a more consistent product.
Being willing to listen with no bias is a good way to bridge the gap between rural and urban populations, Bill Vanek feels. Most often the questions have answers that are just not communicated in an effective manner. Agricultural education opportunities for youth such as ag days, FFA and 4-H are all programs that the Vanek’s support. Looking forward the family sees land and water being limiting factors for family farms and ranches. Keeping land in production is important and vital for communities like ours.