Editor's Letter: Rising in the East
A portrait of the challenges and achievements that abound in this state
Colorado’s Eastern Plains make up about 40 percent of the state’s land area, but only about 2 percent of its population and 1.5 percent of the state’s total employment. That helps explain, if not excuse, why this region has seldom been featured on the cover of this magazine. The flat, sparsely populated Eastern Plains haven’t experienced an attention-grabbing real estate boom, a spike in tourism, a wave of tech startups, or overtures by Amazon to build a second headquarters. But there are important, cover-worthy stories about Eastern Plains business to be told, and we have one in this issue.
The Flying Diamond Ranch occupies more than 23,000 acres of semi-arid land near the Kansas border where great herds of buffalo once roamed. In this issue, writer Allen Best introduces us to the fifth-generation ranching family carrying on the cattle business that a young cowboy named Charles Collins began in 1907. Best explores the family’s approach to managing the land by mimicking nature – moving cattle frequently, the way buffalo used to migrate and deer and antelope do today, to avoid overgrazing. As family member Jean Johnson puts it, “We’re land managers, not cattle managers. There’s a mental switch that occurs when you think your crop is grass. If you call yourself a cattle ranch, all you see are cows.”
We think you’ll appreciate not only this ranching family’s history, but its vision, as it looks to extend a century-old business to a sixth generation.
Less enduring but just as noteworthy is the unveiling of our annual “Gen XYZ” Top 25 Young Professionals, chosen by a panel made up of ColoradoBiz editors, business leaders and past winners. Reading what these under-40 standouts have accomplished, not only for themselves, but for the betterment of others, never fails to instill a sense that Colorado’s future is in good hands.
That’s just a sliver of what awaits in this issue of ColoradoBiz, as we turn our attention to a new year of covering the challenges and achievements that abound in this state.