New Rancher Camp

Thank you for your interest in The New Rancher Camp!

Our first New Cowgirl Camp was a great success. Our eight participants told us it was a life-changing experience. We have scheduled a New Rancher Camp in July. Anyone 18 years or older may register. Details are below.

New Rancher Camp July 9-13, 2018 at Matheson Farms, Bellingham, WA

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Some of the 2017 Participants at the Lazy R Ranch in Cheney, WA


We also have scheduled two New Cowgirl Camps for 2018 with a focus on women interested in agriculture. They are to be held on:

May 28-June 1 and August 27-31, 2018 at the Lazy R Ranch, Cheney, Washington

Click for more information on New Cowgirl Camp

Register for May New Cowgirl Camp

Register for August New Cowgirl Camp

For more information about how you can support our expanded New Rancher School, please see our prospectus and donation information.

You can also sign up on our email list to get updates. Or Contact Us for more information.

Explore Your Ranching Future at New Rancher Camp

Sandra Matheson, DVM, co-facilitator of New Rancher Camp and third generation rancher

Thinking about a career in agriculture? New Rancher Camp gives you a leg up.

New Rancher Camp is a five-day intensive course for forward-thinking people who are interested in becoming farmers or ranchers. You will learn new skills and discover a holistic approach to farming, life, and land management.

New Rancher Camp July 9-13, 2018 at Matheson Farms LLC, Bellingham, WA

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New Rancher Camp is Led by a Team of Seasoned Pros

Your camp leaders for this retreat-style hands-on camp are Sandra Matheson, DVM, and Doug Warnock, MS, of the Roots of Resilience team. Sandra is a lifelong rancher, documentary filmmaker, retired veterinarian, and ag educator/trainer. Doug is a former rancher, writer, and had a long career with WSU extension. Both are entrepreneurs, and accredited Holistic Management professionals. Doug  and Sandra bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, skills, and perspectives to the camp.

Doug Warnock, MS, Co-facilitator of New Rancher School

Everything You Wanted to Know About Modern Ranching But Didn’t Know Who To Ask

Maybe you have been dreaming of a career in agriculture, but you did not grow up in a farming or ranching family. It can be hard to know where to start. At New Rancher Camp you will be learning from lifelong ranchers and seasoned professionals. No question is too basic or too advanced.

New Rancher Camp planned curriculum will include:

  • Basic farm skills, fencing, and facilities
  • Animal husbandry and low-stress animal handling techniques
  • Raising and working with horses
  • Managing your farm or ranch for resilience
  • Relationship building
  • Farm business management
  • Leadership and creating positive change
  • Working in the field of agriculture and seeking opportunities

Should You Sign Up for New Rancher Camp?

If you—

  • Are considering a career in agriculture, but aren’t sure where to start;
  • Have taken ag-related classes, and now want practical experience;
  • Are thinking about a career change to agriculture from another field; or
  • Are just curious about farming or ranching life;

New Rancher Camp is for you.

At New Rancher Camp you’ll learn about ranching heritage and traditions from multi-generation ranchers. And you’ll learn about current, science-based regenerative practices that will put your future farm or ranch business on a sustainable footing.

Whether you want to work on a farm or ranch or own your own farm or ranch business someday, you will benefit from New Rancher Camp.

There is good demand for workers in the field of agriculture but it is hard to find people with skills and up-to-date training to fill jobs. New Rancher Camp will give you a start on building the skills and knowledge you need for farming and ranching jobs of today.

There are many retiring farmers and ranchers who would like to find someone qualified to take over their operations. If you plan to buy, transition into, or create your own farm or ranch business, New Rancher Camp will help you prepare.

New Rancher Camp July 9-13, 2018 at Matheson Farms LLC, Bellingham, WA

Register for New Rancher Camp

Photograph of monitoring workshops attendess and instructor in the field making observations and taking notes.
Reading the land—understanding indicators for the four ecosystems processes (Energy Cycle, Water Cycle, Energy Flow, and Community Dynamics) and their will help you make good management decisions to improve fertility and productivity

New Rancher Camp Proposed Curriculum

We are still finalizing the 2018 program. Here is what we have so far:

Day 1: Intro to Holistic Management & Livestock

Morning—Holistic Management decision making, managing for resilience, and creating a holistic context

Early Afternoon—Animal behavior, low-stress livestock handling

Mid to late Afternoon—Testing decisions, feedback loop

Evening—Empowering new ranchers in agriculture and the community & campfire social time

Day 2: Business and Financial Planning;  Livestock Husbandry

Morning—Holistic Financial Planning

Early Afternoon—Livestock husbandry

Late Afternoon—The One Page Business Plan

Evening—Campfire social time and relationship building

Day 3: Your Land and Facilities; Animal Helpers

Morning—On the ground: Ecosystem, Monitoring, and Diagnosis

Early Afternoon—Dog selection and handling

Mid to late Afternoon—Land and facilities planning and field trip

Evening—Group trip to explore Whatcom County

Day 4: Intro to Planned Grazing; Farm Skills; Fencing

Morning—Holistic Planned Grazing

Early Afternoon—Farm skills and fencing

Late Afternoon—Holistic Planned Grazing, continued

Evening—Campfire social time and celebration of  our accomplishments

Day 5: Building Your Team; Equestrian Skills

Morning—Building your team, working together

Early Afternoon—Raising and working with horses

Mid Afternoon—Q&A; your next steps

Is it really a “camp”?

Yes. Most activities will take place on Matheson Farms, Bellingham, Washington. Camping on site is encouraged. Bring your own tent, sleeping bag, and other necessities. (A complete list of suggested items will be supplied after you register).

If you choose to not to camp, hotel accommodations are available nearby.

Registration Information for New Rancher Camp

Space is strictly limited to ensure personal attention to each participant.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in New Rancher Camp. The investment is $997 if registered before June 22, 2018. That includes all instruction (40+ hours), materials, a place to camp and all meals except for one night out in town for dinner as a group. That is on your own. After June 22, 2018, the price goes up to $1197.

New Rancher Camp July 9-13, 2018 at Matheson Farms LLC, Bellingham, WA

Register for New Rancher Camp

Questions? Need more info?

If you still aren’t sure if New Rancher Camp is for you, or if you have additional questions, please contact us at

Waiver of Liability

New Rancher Camp will take place on a real working ranch. Many activities will be hands-on. Before registering for New Rancher Camp, you will be asked to sign the following required liability waiver. Please also read the warning about liability limitations for agri-tourism activities under Washington State law.

To protect the safety of all participants, alcohol and drug use is not permitted during New Rancher Camp. Participants who appear to be impaired with not be allowed to participate in New Rancher Camp activities.

Acknowledgement of Possibility of Risk or Injury

As a participant in Roots of Resilience New Rancher Camp, I recognize the risk and acknowledge that there are certain risks of physical injury—including death, damages, property damage, or loss—which I may sustain as a result of participating in any and all activities connected with New Rancher Camp, or the use of the facilities or equipment.

I understand that a ranch environment has many inherent risk factors, including, but not limited to:

Cold and sun/heat
Dust and pollen
Hand tools
Highway traffic
Livestock handling
Machinery and equipment
Slips, trips, and falls
Small critters that can sting or bite

I understand that it is my responsibility as a New Rancher Camp participant to be aware of and mitigate exposure to these and other risks inherent to New Rancher Camp participation.

Waiver of Claim for Injury

I agree to waive and relinquish all claims that I may have for injuries or damages as a result of participating in New Rancher Camp or using the facilities or equipment against Roots of Resilience and Matheson Farms LLC, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, owners, volunteers, and affiliates.

Release from Liability

I do hereby release and discharge Roots of Resilience and Matheson Farms LLC, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, owners, volunteers, and affiliates from any and all claims for injuries, including death, damages, property damage, or loss which may have or may in future accrue to me in account of participating in New Rancher Camp.

Indemnity and Defense

I further agree to indemnify and hold harmless and pay defense costs and defend Roots of Resilience and Matheson Farms LLC, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, owners, volunteers, and affiliates, from any and all claims resulting from injuries—including death, damages, property damage, or loss—sustained by me and arising out of, connected with, or in any way associated with the activities of New Rancher Camp or the use of facilities or equipment.


Under Washington state law, there is limited liability for an injury to or death of a participant in an agri-tourism activity conducted at this agri-tourism location if such an injury or death results exclusively from the inherent risks  of the agri-tourism activity. Inherent risks of agri-tourism activities include, among others, risks of injury inherent to land, equipment, and animals, as well as the potential for you to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to your injury or death. We are required to ensure that in any activity involving minor children, only age-appropriate access to activities, equipment, and animals is permitted. You are assuming the risk of participating in this agri-tourism activity.

New Rancher Camp July 9-13, 2018 at Matheson Farms LLC, Bellingham, WA

Register for New Rancher Camp

Rejuvenating Grasslands and Healing the Planet