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Wednesday, 07 September 2016 08:00

Schlosser family’s roots in M.D. Ranchland dig deep

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The Schlosser Family were the BMO Farm Family winners representing the Municipal District of Ranchland No. 66 at this year’s Calgary Stampede. The Schlosser Family were the BMO Farm Family winners representing the Municipal District of Ranchland No. 66 at this year’s Calgary Stampede. Photo courtesy ShowChampions

The Schlosser family has deep roots in the Nanton and Stavely area.

“We say that you had better be careful about who you’re talking about, because we’re probably related,” laughs Diane Sawley.
Diane’s parents, Clark and Ethel Schlosser, founded the Anchor P Cattle Company and are the 2016 BMO Farm Family of the Year for the Municipal District of Ranchland No. 66
Both Clark and Ethel grew up in the Nanton-Stavely community.
In 1962, they purchased a ranch in the foothills 13 miles west of Stavely, where one of their four daughters, Naomi Blake, her husband Jay and their children now live.
Clark didn’t just work his own ranch, he worked on neighbouring ranches and pursued a professional rodeo career as a steer wrestler. He later served as a rodeo judge for 25 years.
In 1996, Ethel inherited a portion of the Rocking P Ranch, which was founded in 1900 by her grandfather, Rod Macleay.
With the establishment of the larger Anchor P Cattle Company, Diane and her husband Cody joined up to operate the new acquisition 20 miles west of Nanton.
Today, the ranch covers 7,440 acres of mostly native grassland with 200 acres of hay at the Nanton place.
The Anchor P is mainly a commercial Black Angus cow/calf operation with 600 mother cows at the Nanton location and 200 heifers on the Stavely place. Another 300 calves are backgrounded by another daughter, JoAnn Sears and her husband Mike, who also rent summer grass for 200 of the family’s cows. The the rest are moved to forestry allotments on the Lower Livingstone River, Burke Creek and a share in the Waldron Ranch.
The three-day drives to and from summer pasture, as well as most of the other cattle work, is still done on horseback. Especially in the forestry allotments, as the land is too rough for the cattle to be worked any other way.
Blessed with reasonably abundant water from natural creeks and springs, the ranch makes use of portable solar water pumps to protect riparian areas. Portable electric fences along with salt and mineral placement are used to manage rotational grazing.
The Anchor P Cattle Company is certified by the McDonald’s Sustainable Beef program.
For a family as deep-rooted as this one, community participation is a part of life.
“We’ve been here a number of years and so have our neighbours,” says Diane. “Our grandparents were friends with their grandparents. It’s a very tight community.”
Clark has been a member of the Elks club for most of his life and is proud of his Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Gold Card. Ethel is a lifetime member of the Order of the Royal Purple and is active with the Ranchland recreation board.
Both Diane and her husband Cody are on the executive of the Rocky Mountain Forestry Range Association and work with the Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange.
Naomi and Jay are active with the Stavely Agricultural Society, among other organizations.
When it’s time to drive cattle, or at branding time, the whole family — and some neighbours — rally around.
“Everybody’s there, from grandmas to babies,” Diane says. “We usually have quite a few horseback riders. It’s not unusual to have 20 to 25 horses.
“I guess it’s the freedom to be your own person,” says Diane of what makes ranch life attractive. “It’s also nice to know that, basically, you’re helping feed the world.”

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