James Stuart was raised in Virginia, Idaho, a small agricultural community located in the south eastern corner of the state. At a young age he began to learn and love the rewards of hard work from time spent in the outdoors. His love for being horseback was spurred by his grandmother and mother’s shared passion. At 10-years-old, Stuart started working for Richard Christensen, farming and raising a handful of colts each year. As Christensen’s health weakened, he taught valuable life lessons in return for Stuart’s youth and ambition. Stuart continued to use Richard’s line of horses on ranches over the years.
After graduation, Stuart served a two-year church mission in Tijuana, Mexico. He learned the language and loved the people he served; his Spanish still comes in useful.
Shortly after the return to the states, Stuart married his wife, Kendra, whom he grew up with. On their honeymoon they moved to the 200,000-acre Black Pine Ranch in Malta, Idaho, that he had day-worked as a youth. Stuart’s desire to learn and progress increased, and Stuart enrolled in the rangeland resource management program at Utah State University in the fall of 2002.
Throughout his five years at Utah State University, Stuart was introduced to the principles of B.E.H.A.V.E. Working with the group of researchers, educators, and professionals in the fields of agriculture, natural resource management, and behavior was a great experience. Stuart was able to make connections from the research he participated in and real life observations.
After college graduation, Stuart returned to manage the Sun Ranch near Ennis, Montana, where he worked the previous summer. The 26,000-acre Sun Ranch located in the Madison Valley was a custom grazing outfit where as many as 2,600 head of cattle would graze at different times from May to December. While on the Sun Ranch, Stuart participated in the planning of many projects including range improvements, public and outfitted hunting, community working groups, and assisting the ranch to be the first large-scale ranch to sell carbon credits on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
The Sun Ranch sold in the spring of 2010, and the Stuart family moved near Meeteetse, Wyoming, to manage the 30,000-acre 91 Ranch. Efforts to create a viable business gave Stuart and his wife the opportunity to grow and develop a herd of 600 mother cows, implement an A.I. program with heifer development, and start a cross breeding program. During the nearly five-year period, Stuart also became an outfitter, building a successful hunting business on the ranch. Wolves, Grizzly bears, and large populations of wildlife continued to test the ability to adapt and grow in the process.
With the goal of progression, Stuart and his family left the 91 Ranch with the King Ranch® Institute in Ranch Management in sight. Stuart is grateful for the support of a family that shares a love for the lifestyle and opportunities agriculture and natural resource management provides. As a family they start this new adventure in Kingsville, Texas, as Stuart starts a new chapter of life at KRIRM.