Maxwell Ranch


Joel Vaad, Ranch Manager
Livermore, CO  80536

A 21st Century Working Cattle Ranch

Maxwell Ranch was bequeathed to the CSU Research Foundation (now CSU STRATA) by Fred Maxwell, with the wish that the ranch be available for use by Colorado State University (CSU) for the betterment of the beef industry.  CSU STRATA assumed management of the ranch in the 1970’s.

The Maxwell Ranch’s mission is to provide CSU, industry, and society an economically sustainable working cattle ranch as a living laboratory for teaching, research, and demonstration, with special emphasis on beef cattle production and rangeland research.  In support of the ranch mission, the current Ranch Manager, Joel Vaad, partners with faculty and graduate students from various departments at CSU. 

Past research partnerships have included the departments of Animal Sciences, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Soil and Crop Sciences, Equine Sciences, and Wildlife Biology.  Past projects have included artificial insemination trials for various cow synchronization protocols, biological control of Dalmatian Toadflax, Loco Weed & Larkspur research related to cattle and horses, cow breeding/insemination, and genetics studies. Joel engages with the cattle industry through speaking engagements, and actively manages and mentors students as part of the ranch’s summer intern program.

Joel came to the ranch in 1994 as an intern from the department of Animal Sciences at CSU. In 1997, he was hired as the Ranch Foreman, and in 2004 was promoted to Ranch Manager. He and his family live at the ranch and are an integral part of daily life on the ranch, optimizing ranch assets to create a model 21st century working cattle ranch that anticipates and provides for the next era of ranching by being flexible and adapting to future models of the industry. 

Ranch Management

In the early 2010’s, Joel Vaad  moved the herd’s calving season from February to May, resulting in dramatically lower feed costs that more than make up for lighter weaning weights.

cover image of the interview with Joel Vaad by CattleNetwork

Summer Internships

Our summer interns are people who are self motivated, teachable, and reliable.  This is a great opportunity to experience many aspects of a commercial cattle operation.  Activities include calving, doctoring, branding, synchronizing cows for breeding, fencing, range monitoring, and other ranch related activities.  MUST HAVE VALID DRIVER’S LICENSE.

Teaching or Research Request

The ranch may be used for teaching and research purposes.