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As the story goes, Charles Collins, the ranch’s founder, fell in love with our country along the Big Sandy during a cattle drive from Mexico to Montana as a teenager in the late 1800s. So when the opportunity arose in 1907, Charles Collins bought and moved his family from Kansas to the Collins Ranch just west of Kit Carson, Colorado.  The ranch remained in tact until the fourth generation divided it among siblings. It was then that The Flying Diamond Ranch became what it is today. In 1990, Scott and his wife, Jean, moved their young family to his family’s ranch and raised their four children. The Flying Diamond’s vision is, and always has been, to leave the resources under our stewardship in better condition for the next generation.  Though cattle genetics, ranch enterprises and grazing management practices have evolved since 1907, our management philosophy remains one that, to borrow the words of Aldo Leopold, “reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land.”

Thoughtful consideration of new ideas has been a common vein throughout our history.  Five generations have successfully navigated depressions and droughts, and we attribute our profitability for the last 106 years to the tradition of being open-minded problem solvers who believe there is always room for improvement.  The most notable change in the ranch’s management was due to Scott’s attendance at a Holistic Resource seminar in 1986 taught by Allan Savory.  As a result of the seminar, holism is the central tenant of our ranch management.  On the Flying Diamond Ranch, holistic management means looking at the whole and finding a balanced, all-encompassing approach to our operation. Whether that be grazing, monitoring, financial/business planning, wildlife, collaborating with NRCS and other groups, continuing our education, or improving family and community relations.  

Ranch founder Charles Collins

Ranch Timeline

Important dates in our ranching history

Cattle Trail Discovery


Charles Collins, founder of the ranch, trails cattle through Eastern Colorado near Kit Carson, Colorado

Ranching Opportunity


Charles asked by Kansas City Bank to manage forclosed ranch in Kit Carson, Colorado

Ranch Ownership


Charles assumes loan and begins ownership of ranch

New Generation


Charles dies and Don Collins, second generation, assumes management of ranch.

Third Generation


Rogers and Polly (Collins) Johnson, third generation, assume management and begin crossbreeding cattle

Fourth Generation


Scott and Jean Johnson, fourth generation, assume management and implement holistic resource management/rotational grazing practices

Bred Heifer Business


Ranch begins selling bred heifers based on calving ease genetics

100 Year Ranch Anniversary


Ranch celebrates 100th year anniversary as it looks towards the next 100 years in the cattle business

Fifth Generation


Will Johnson, fifth generation, begins management

Next Venture


Wins Leopold Conservation Award and ranch expands operation on leased property near Colorado Springs, Castle Rock and Westcliffe and

Win NCBA Region V Environmental Stewardship Award


The Environmental Stewardship Award annually recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers from across the nation. Regional and national award winners are commended for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitats while operating profitable cattle operations.

Cattle First Movie by Boehringer Ingelheim


A documentary about our family ranching and a tribute to all who make cattle health and well-being a priority.