No-till farming and wildlife habitat on the Daybreak Ranch

Partner Profile: Daybreak Ranch

Farming, ranching, hunting, and wildlife management go hand-in-hand at Daybreak Ranch in central South Dakota. Located north of Highmore, family-owned and operated Daybreak Ranch comprises 8,000 acres of private land consisting of native grassland, cropland, wetlands, food plots, and tree belt plantings. These diverse habitats support wildlife in abundance, especially ring-necked pheasants, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, ducks, sharp-tailed grouse, and prairie chickens. A number of these species provide exciting and productive hunting opportunities for hunters from across the country.

Prior to the bleak drought years of the 1970’s, Daybreak Ranch’s owner, Jim Faulstich, believed, “it was a waste if you didn’t harvest everything out there, and we never managed for wildlife. If you saw just one pheasant back then, it was like a Christmas present.” However, after needing to sell most of his cattle due to lack of hay to harvest and feed them, he decided to diversify his farming and ranching operations to support game species and other wildlife.

Jim and his family transformed the ranch through a variety of projects. They planted trees, fruit-bearing shrubs, and native warm season grasses such as switchgrass, big bluestem, and Indian grass. Over 5