Agricultural Enterprises

Beef cattle

Meet our high elevation herd

Fort Lewis College continues the tradition with 120 head of mother cows that were born and raised at 7600’. The herd is made up of 80 commercial Red Angus and Murray Gray cows along with 40 registered Hereford cows. Approximately 15 grass-fed animals are sold per year through the Country Store, Campus Farm Stand or as custom beef (quarters, halves and wholes). We also provide nearly 6,000 pounds of ground beef to campus dining each year from our herd.

Cows in a field with the La Plata mountains in the background during the fall

Researching and preventing pulmonary hypertension and high elevation disease in cattle

From 1946-2006, the Old Fort was home of the 4-Corners Bull Test, the nation's only high mountain bull test. Many of the cooperators as well as buyers ran their cattle at high elevations and were concerned about costly losses to brisket disease. The PAP (Pulmonary Arterial Pressure) measurement was invented by Dr. Tim Holt (Fort Lewis College Alumni, Class of 1980). The Old Fort partners with Colorado State University to continue this research by summering CSU bulls or heifers to obtain better PAP measurements before they are offered at their annual sale in Fort Collins.

View more information about PAP cattle research

Hay production

On-site hay production to feed our cattle

Approximately 300 acres of both grass/alfalfa and grass hay are irrigated using the nearly 13 cfs of irrigation water from La Plata River. Irrigation methods include center pivot, sideroll and flood irrigation. Approximately 71 acres are enrolled in the Colorado Department of Agriculture Soil Health program through Mancos Conservation District. All hay produced remains on site to feed the cow herd.

Learn more about the Colorado Department of Agriculture Soil Health Program

A freshly cut hay field

Historic apple orchard

Restoring local apple varieties

A two-acre orchard was established in the early 1900s. In 2013, approximately 120 live apple and crabapple trees remained. With the assistance of Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project, DNA samples were collected to identify varieties, trees were pruned and grafts were taken. Since 2018, over 120 trees have been planted from these grafts. We partner with Fenceline Cider to produce an Old Fort Cider from the Hewes and Virginia crabapples.

Learn more about the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project
Learn more about the Old Fort orchard

A row of old apple trees in summertime

The Old Fort

18683 CO-140
Hesperus, CO 81326

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Land Acknowledgement 

We acknowledge the land that the Old Fort is situated upon is the ancestral land and territory of the Nuuchiu (Ute) people who were forcibly removed by the United States Government. We also acknowledge that this land is connected to the communal and ceremonial spaces of the Jicarilla Abache (Apache), Pueblos of New Mexico, Hopi Sinom (Hopi), and Diné (Navajo) Nations.

The Old Fort, and its parent, Fort Lewis College, are committed to reconciling their history as a federal Indian Boarding School from 1892 to 1909.

Learn more about reconciliation


FLC logo

The Old Fort is owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Fort Lewis College.