I asked Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Laurie Munns about how she got started in the cattle business. She was 19 and wasn’t raised on a farm. She lived in Garland, Utah, a small farming community so she wasn’t completely unfamiliar with agriculture. Still, it must have come as a bit of a shock when a few months before she was to be married to her fiancé Tim, that they decided to borrow some money and buy a small ranch.
Nothing like starting married life with a mountain of debt and a high risk future. Dry land farming on the northernmost edge of Utah isn’t exactly the easiest way to eke out a living. Still, with some luck, a few cows and a lot of hard work, things might happen for the best.
They bought the place two weeks before the wedding and moved in shortly afterwards. They had to wait for the original owners to move out first. That was back in 1977 and, “It was quite an accomplishment for us to survive,” she said.
Munns Flying M Ranch is bigger now. Laurie said they bought a few nearby places as they became available and their cow/calf dry land farm operation now covers about 4,200 acres. “We grow some dry land wheat, safflower and about 120 acres of irrigated alfalfa hay, too,” she said. “We try to grow enough hay to satisfy the needs of about 450 momma cows.
“We’re in Box Elder country, one of the top 100 cow/calf counties in the country,” she said. “But our hot summers here aren’t conducive to a good cattle operation, so we send our cattle to the high mountain country in South Eastern Idaho and winter them on the home ranch in Northern Utah.”
The Idaho property near Chesterfield, about two hours northeast of Snowville, is part of a grazing association that Laurie and Tim are members of. Her son and his wife, Sonny and Kallee, manage the grazing association.
“We’re delighted that Sonny wants to stay with cattle ranching. He’s interested in breeding and he’s working to help improve our herd.”
The Munns have three more children, all living away from home. Twin sons, Bud and Bill and their oldest, a daughter Sara.
Sara is a hair stylist and married to a chef; Bud is at Shepard Air Force base training to be a fighter pilot with the Idaho Air National Guard. Bill is at Texas A&M. “I always wanted boys so they could help around the ranch,” she said. “I just didn’t realize they would grow up and move away.”