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Cimarron Valley Ranch

Why Deb Miller thinks "a bad day on the farm is still better than a good day in the office."
  • Deb Miller helped establish Cimarron Valley Ranch in northeast Oklahoma after working in corporate America for most of her life.
    Deb Miller

    Corporate America to rural America

    Deb Miller helped establish Cimarron Valley Ranch in northeast Oklahoma after working in corporate America for most of her life. 

    Deb moved and lived all over the United States for work, but in 1990, she moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and fell in love with the area. Eight years later, she and Robert Miller came across a 24-acre homestead in northeast Oklahoma, where they began Cimarron Valley Ranch.

    “I have always loved animals, and don’t mind hard work,” says Deb. “After owning 10 acres previously in New Mexico, I knew I wanted to be back on an acreage.”

    Cimarron Valley Ranch is now home to two Quarter Horses, about 23 head of Dexter and Miniature Hereford cattle, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, chickens, Great Pyrenees dogs, an orchard and a garden. Today, Deb and Robert are growing their own food, striving to be as self-sufficient as possible, and continuing to educate themselves and other novices in the industry.

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Although there are a few original buildings left on the homestead, Deb and Robert had to put in countless hours building fence and facilities to accommodate the animals they wanted to raise.
    Deb Miller

    Research and preparation

    Although there are a few original buildings left on the homestead, Deb and Robert had to put in countless hours building fence and facilities to accommodate the animals they wanted to raise. They also ended up adding an addition 60 acres of land to their 24-acre homestead.

    “You have to have a goal,” says Deb. “First, we researched the animals to find the right fit for our amount of acres, and then we built the facilities they would need.”

    Deb and Robert added a shop and office with an addition off to one side that serves as living quarters.

    “Right now, it's a place for guests to stay, but in the future we’d like to rent it out to horse travelers passing through,” says Deb. “Our goal is to generate income for the future-- working hard now to provide our own food, and create resources of income for when we want to fully retire.”

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Cimarron Valley Ranch believes in being as natural and healthy as possible.
    Deb Miller

    Natural and healthy

    Cimarron Valley Ranch believes in being as natural and healthy as possible. Deb and Robert implement this philosophy into their fertilizers for the garden and barns, and for spraying in the orchard.

    “We use natural compost as fertilizer from our barns,” says Deb. “In the orchard, we try to keep it as chemical-free as possible, only spraying for bugs when necessary.”

    The orchard is sprayed with pyrethrins, a pair of natural organic compounds. The ranch also makes homemade recipes for spraying trees for Rust, due to the Eastern Red Cedar, which requires weekly spraying from spring to summer. The homemade recipe is simple and is made up of baking soda, vegetable oil and kelp extract.

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Deb and Robert started out raising Dexter and Zebu cattle on the ranch in 2009.
    Deb Miller

    Cattle

    Deb and Robert started out raising Dexter and Zebu cattle on the ranch in 2009.

    “We have an original brochure about Dexter cattle from the 1970s, so we knew immediately that we wanted Dexters,” says Deb.

    Though they continue to raise Dexters, they decided to go with Mini Herefords instead of Zebu cattle. 

    “We realized that Zebus are not a beef animal, so we decided to discontinue raising them and get Mini Herefords,” says Deb. “We are big believers in utilizing our acres for animals that give a benefit, so Zebus were not for us.”

    Cimarron Valley Ranch butchers its own cattle for meat, and also sells the beef. Until now, Deb and Robert have only butchered Dexter cattle, but recently they've began crossing their Mini Hereford bull with Dexter cattle for meat quality purposes.

    “I love having Dexter cattle for many reasons,” says Deb. “They do well in hot summers and cold winters, do well on less grass, and their meat tastes great. The meat has a little less fat and the cuts are smaller-- offering better portion sizes and freezer room.”

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Deb studied different smaller breeds of goats to bring to the farm.
    Deb Miller

    Nigerian Dwarf Goats

    Deb studied different smaller breeds of goats to bring to the farm. She visited with many breeders and decided to go with Nigerian Dwarf Goats.

    “I love Nigerian Dwarf Goats,” says Deb. “They have a great personality, are easy keepers, and the milk tastes great!”

    Deb breeds the goats to be milking goats, not show goats, and she also makes cheese and ice cream from the milk.

    “I have four or five generation milking goats, and all of them milk at least one quart, minimum,” says Deb.

    Deb says starting out, she actually watched YouTube to learn how to milk a goat.

    Kidding takes place at the Cimarron Valley Ranch every fall and early spring. There are three goats kidding this September.

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • In March 2014, Cimarron Valley Ranch had seven Great Pyrenees puppies.
    Deb Miller

    Great Pyrenees

    When searching for a livestock dog, Deb chose Great Pyrenees breed because they are great livestock gaurdians and have good temperaments.

    "I wanted more of a ranch dog that would stay with the livestock," says Deb. 

    The farm has two dogs, Daisy and Sam, who mainly look after the goats. In March 2014, Cimarron Valley Ranch had seven Great Pyrenees puppies.

     

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Growing up in Michigan, Deb was used to being around orchards and wanted to include them at Cimarron Valley Ranch.
    Deb Miller

    Orchard

    Growing up in Michigan, Deb was used to being around orchards and wanted to include them at Cimarron Valley Ranch.

    "Even though I grew up around orchards, I never knew how much work they are!" says Deb.

    The orchard consists of apples and peaches, and takes a lot of work to maintain with trimming, spraying and watering.

     

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Deb grows a variety of vegetables in her garden including: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and sweet corn.
    Deb Miller

    Vegetable garden

    Deb grows a variety of vegetables in her garden including: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and sweet corn.

    She started gardening in the ground, but when gophers started getting her produce, she began gardening in raised beds.

    “Growing and raising my own food is the best part about living on a farm for me,” says Deb. “We have meals made up of food solely from our farm. I know where my food is coming from and what I’m eating.”

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • Deb and Robert continue to learn all they can to improve Cimarron Valley Ranch and help others.
    Deb Miller

    Continuing education

    Deb and Robert continue to learn all they can to improve Cimarron Valley Ranch and help others. They both took the Oklahoma State University Master Cattleman Program, and Deb has taken classes through Langston University’s goat agriculture unit.

    “The classes and programs have helped us learn a lot,” says Deb.

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014
  • For more information about Cimarron Valley Ranch, you can visit: www.cimarronvalleyranch.com
    Deb Miller

    The good and the bad

    In the past four years, the ranch has had its ups and downs, especially when dealing with the drought that hit the area about four years ago. It still hasn't fully recovered, and while conditions are improving, it's still 8” short of rainfall for this time of the year.

    Because of the drought, Deb and Robert have recently had a tough time with the orchard, and they had to liquidate some of their cattle because of feeding expenses. But in the end, Deb still feels blessed to be living on a farm in Oklahoma.

    “For me, a bad day on the farm, is still better than a good day in the office."

    For more information about Cimarron Valley Ranch, you can visit: www.cimarronvalleyranch.com

    Date Published: August 4, 2014
    Date Updated: December 9, 2014

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