Let's clarify, he ranches on 50,000 acres of state, federal and private public lands, located in the Antelope Springs Allotment, one of the most remote parts of Idaho. "I'm raising 600 to 800 mother cows," he said. Like a lot of Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) members, his ranch is a multi-generation family business. "My family settled this land in the late 1800s. I'm the fifth generation and we just put the sixth generation on the ground.”
He was talking about Tap, his newborn son.
Let's get back to the fish bowl, though. The southern Idaho land, near the Nevada border, is home territory for Sage Grouse. Not only does he manage the land for the benefit of his herd, he has to work with the Bureau of Land Management to ensure the health of the largest Grouse in North America. The bird, at one time an almost endangered species, is slowly rebounding, thanks to the work of people like Brackett.
Watch a video and listen to him talk about living and working in a fish bowl, click here.
Two years ago, when Brackett, the incoming President of the Idaho Cattle Association, was asked about the Sage Grouse, he said he didn't worry too much "because Antelope Springs has plenty of feed and habitat for cattle and wildlife."
"This is as good as it gets. We're quite proud of it. Unless you have something to hide, there's nothing to be scared of. Because in the end, the resource will show what's there," Brackett said.
But it's the cattle, black Angus, that is the focus of his attention. He considers the herd to be 'right-sized' under current economic conditions. "We might want to work with a larger herd sometime in the future but expanding just for the sake of expansion is never a good thing."
"What we have is a lifestyle worth preserving, he said. "It's hard to explain. We're never going to get rich, but the opportunity to work side-by-side everyday with your family is worth more than the money. At the end of the day, you can’t buy happiness.”
Brackett has followed the usual path of CBB members. He's spent years volunteering his time with a lot of worthy organizations including eight years in ICA leadership, past chairman of Idaho Beef Quality Assurance, Jarbidge local sage grouse working group, Mule Deer Foundation, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and National Wild Turkey Federation.
Now finishing his first year with CBB, he's serving on the nutrition and health subcommittee. "I'll probably be moved to another committee next year," he said.
"I've enjoyed my time with the Cattlemen's Beef Board. It's given me a chance to meet a lot of very smart people with a lot of knowledge about this business. I like that it's a mix of old timers and young blood, too. It's important to gain wisdom from those that have been around for a while and mix it up with the enthusiasm and new ideas of the newer members."