Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Koochiching County Farm Family

Nicholson’s Wild Winds Ranch

Bradley Nicholson’s father, Lee, started Bradley in the cattle business as a child and Bradley has raised cows ever since. He owned his first cow when he was five. He had a dairy cow at 10 and sold milk to locals for 10 cents a quart and 40 cents a gallon.

The Nicholson family beef herd started out as a white-faced Hereford herd and when Bradley first met Melody, the herd consisted of 14 cows and a bull. The family switched to Charolais bulls in the 1980s and in 2000 the first Black Angus bulls were added. The Nicholsons have used only purebred Black Angus since that time. Each year, the best heifers are held over for breeding and expanding the herd.

In 2021, the family had 150 cows, but the drought forced them to reduce their herd size to the current 105 with only six breeding heifers held over. Along with the cattle, the Nicholsons have seven horses.

Bradley and Melody own and operate the ranch with the help of their son, Thomas, and granddaughter, Dannika. Bradley and Thomas do the bulk of the hands-on work. Melody is a veterinarian and takes care of the animals’ health needs. Dannika loves her cows and helps all around the ranch. She loves to go horse camping when there is time.

In between calving, haying, and fall herd work the family hits the horse trails in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Page survey

© 2023 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.