Black Leg Ranch annually offers internship opportunities during the Summer months. For 2022, the program will run from May 16th – August 14th (dependent on college schedule). Students will have the opportunity to earn college credits upon successful completion of the internship.
The ranch is a family-owned operation consisting of 20,000 acres. The headquarters are located 7 miles SE of McKenzie, ND, or 25 miles SE of Bismarck. We are a commercial cow/calf operation with 700 cows and graze an additional 2,000 head of cows in the summer. We also have a 300 head herd of bison on the ranch. The ranch has a feeding enterprise where we feed cattle and bison as well. In addition, we operate several ag-related ventures on the ranch. Rolling Plains Adventures, a full-service hunting/outfitting operation, Black Leg Events, an agri-tourism operation, Black Leg Brewery, and Black Leg Ranch Meats, using our own sourced cattle and bison.
We utilize Holistic Management to operate the ranch and focus on regenerating our rangelands, cropland, and wildlife. We use no-till and cover crops to winter graze allowing us to cut feed costs and build soil health. We calve our cows in May and June and intensively manage our grazing system utilizing planned rotational grazing.
Black Leg Ranch has won many awards including the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award and the NCBA National Environmental Stewardship Award. The ranch was also inducted into the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2020.
- Assisting with calving
- Feeding animals in feedyard
- Monitoring animal health
- Building/fixing fence
- Moving/checking cattle
- Assisting with planting-Assisting with haying
- General maintenance/mechanics
- Day to day ranch requirements
- Intern will also be able to learn principles of Holistic Management, intensive grazing, utilizing cover crops to build soil health and to cut winter feed costs, and practices to become profitable in a ranching business.
- The intern will be able to observe diverse ventures, Rolling Plains Adventures [a full-service hunting outfitting business], an on-site brewery, and an Agri-Tourism operation hosting weddings, corporate events, soil health tours, and many events promoting and spreading a positive image of agriculture.
- Interns will be provided with on ranch housing, pay will be given as well as a potential bonus upon completion of a successful internship. Expect to work the same hours as we do from Monday-Saturday. Sundays will be given off unless prior arrangements have been made.
Deadline for Summer Internship Application: March 10th (Interviews will be conducted following)
For more information and history check out the Ranch’s About section. Below are two videos highlighting the ranch.
Words From the Interns
“My summer working for the Black Leg Ranch was not only very beneficial, but my experience exceeded all of my expectations by more than I ever could have hoped for. I appreciate the fact that I was given the opportunity to do a variety of different jobs; everything from haying and fencing to branding and checking cows. I left knowing I received a well-rounded experience. The Doans made me feel like part of the family and the friendships I made there will not soon be forgotten.”
-Alex Ames, University of Wyoming (2018 Black Leg Ranch Summer Intern)
“My summer internship at Black Leg Ranch was a pleasurable and beneficial learning experience. I acquired so many new skills that will help me along my career path. Completing this internship has furthered my independence, professional communication, and networking abilities. The entrepreneurship of the Doan family has developed a truly amazing cattle ranch and is continuing to capitalize on up and coming niche markets. I am honored to have partaken in the Ranch’s history and I would highly recommend this internship”.
-Alexander Golin, Michigan State University (2019 Black Leg Ranch Summer Intern)
“My experience working as a summer intern for Black Leg Ranch was a once in a lifetime opportunity that will go down in the books as being one of the most beneficial and eye-opening experience I could have ever imagined. Being able to be a part of the Doan’s legacy for a couple of months, by helping with activities ranging from working cattle to farm machinery operating, is something that prior to this internship wasn’t very accessible to me. However, now it is clear that is truly where my passion lies. Overall, getting to spend a summer in North Dakota, which has some of the most lush and beautiful landscape a person can lay eyes on, was great for me. I know that everything I have learned this summer will help me develop my skills not only in the professional world but also as a student and overall person.”
-Kaden Groves, Colorado State University (2020 Black Leg Ranch Summer Intern)
“During my Black Leg Ranch Internship I was provided nice housing that allowed me to live on my own, which I enjoyed. The Black Leg Ranch is a very diverse operation that gave me the opportunity to learn and experience more than typical ranch work. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to attend field days that allowed me to learn about different grazing and farming practices in North Dakota.”
Neleigh Gehl, University of Nebraska (2021 Black Leg Ranch Summer Intern)