Meet Art Guttersen. Parker Hallam and I talked about him this week on the Powering America Radio program. Not your average cowboy. Gutterson and his family own 35,000 acres north of Denver in Weld County, Colorado. That’s smack in the middle of the Niobrara Shale, a prolific oil and gas producer for over half a century. The Guttersen spread is so vast, it extends 13 miles north and south and some 8 miles east and west.
In addition to about 3,000 cattle grazing on the Colorado patureland, the ranch is also home to over 500 oil wells. Granted, Guttersen reluctantly admits he doesn’t own mineral rights to all 500, but that’s another story.
What Art Guttersen has accomplished, and what he prides himself on most, is that his ranch has become a showcase that oil and gas can live harmoniously with agriculture and farming, to everyone’s benefit.
Up before dawn like most ranchers, Gutterson and his son Parker jump in the truck every morning about 6:30 to tend to the cows, play doctor occasionally, inspect the network of gravel roads zig-zagging the land, and tend to anything else that pops up.
Back by late morning, Art might make his way into nearby Greely, Colorado to check up on one of his other businesses, Gusher Oil Services. He started Gusher to build and maintain oil field roads when he saw so many being constructed across his own dirt. When oil tanked in 2008, Art talked Caterpillar into a 0-percent loan and snatched up barely used road equipment at pennies on the dollar, when other companies walked away from them because of the downturn.
Gusher stayed in business during the dip because roads into well-sites always have to be maintained, regardless of the price per barrel. Now Gusher has 80 employees and can’t find enough people to handle all the work. (Hint – if you or someone you know needs a good job….)
What Art Gutterson and his family have accomplished is showing the world that the oil and gas industry can live harmoniously side-by-side with other operations, and have it work for everyone. As Art himself said, “What is special is that we are actually coexisting with the oil and gas guys. We want them to be here. They’ll come anyway. We want to get along. We just encourage them to go about their business and we can go about our business.”
That’s one smart cowboy.
Powering America is heard daily on the Wall Street Business Network at 4:00 Eastern and is co-sponsored by Crude Energy, LLC and Breitling Energy Corporation. Podcasts of the shows are available by following this link to iTunes.