The Hitchcock Foundation's Ethos

Two people on horseback herding cattle in a field.

I was once asked a question,
When I first bought the place…
“What do you think of,
As you look at the space?
The sky is so endless, unbroken it seems,
What does a rancher envision in dreams?”
The answer came to me as I gazed over the plain,
“Just leave it better than when I came.”

As the years rolled on by
And we learned from the land
We let nature take over,
And just lent a hand…
We developed new water, moved cows around,
To prevent overgrazing that damaged the ground.
The good way back then, to this day remains,
Just leave it better than when you came.

Nothing in ranching is ever the same,
From dry dusty times of drought on the plain,
From dark booming clouds to wet torrential rains…
The force of the water in hundred year floods,
Impassable after, with heavy clay mud,
No matter the weather, arid or rain…
Just leave it better than when you came.

Wild creatures and cattle depend on your touch
The responsibilities endless, at times, seem too much
Challenge enduring, living so sweet
To see nature from horseback, not on your feet
Flowers of springtime, grass on the plain
Friends helping with branding, loving the range
Friends of the heart, that see things the same,
Just leave it better than when you came.

When my life on this earth is over one day
I hope part of my soul on the prairie will stay
But wherever my soul, my credo remains,
That I left the ranch better than when I came!

Ed Hitchcock – Jan. 31, 2002