Mark Flaherty

Mark grew up in Boston Massachusetts. After serving four years in the United States Navy, stationed in Northern California, Mark decided to establish permanent residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mark attended college at the University of Phoenix.

As a former employee of Allergan Medical, Collagen Manufacturing Operations, Mark’s eighteen years of experience in bovine hide collagen manufacturing allows Prather Ranch to utilize his expertise in assisting with the client’s needs. His extensive credentials include Supplier Quality Engineering, Quality Systems Auditing, bulk collagen manufacturing and purification, aseptic processing and biomaterials product management. The qualifications Mark brings to Prather Ranch allows everyone, from the cowboys, to the abattoir staff, to the client, feel confident in the high-quality bovine materials provided for the medical device, pharmaceutical and biological industries.

Jim and Mary Rickert

Prather Ranch managers Jim and Mary Rickert have deep roots in California agriculture, which provide the foundation for their commitment to the land and animals.

Jim comes from a long line of cattle producers and meat processors in northern California. He received his bachelors of science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in agricultural business management and animal science and went on to earn a masters degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University. In addition to managing the ranch with Mary, he is an Accredited Farm Manager (AFM), Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) and also a certified HACCP trainer.

Mary also has a background in agriculture, having grown up on a farm and raised dairy cattle in the central valley of California. She also attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo as a dairy science major where she met Jim. Mary also has degrees in human resource management and psychology.

The Rickerts’ have been recognized as pioneers in farm and ranch conservation practices.

Prather Ranch operates on ranches where over 60% of the land is protected by conservation easements. Their commitment to agriculture and conservation has been passed on to a new generation, as their son James, is blazing a trail in organic crop production on the headquarters ranch.

Walter and Colleen Ralphs

Prather Ranch’s majority owners purchased the headquarters ranch in 1964. Walter has been the driving force in the direction of the ranch’s philosophy and remains active in the operation. Walter grew up in the Los Angeles basin where his grandfather, father and uncle founded the supermarket chain known as Ralphs Supermarket. He served as president of the supermarket chain until he retired in 1968.

Prather Ranch

The Ralphs and Rickert families see the Prather Ranch as their life’s work. Their desire for the ranch is to create a highly sustainable, environmentally, economically and socially conscientious ranch and to be known for the ability to provide a safe bovine raw material and premium beef product. Their philosophy, with the branded beef product, is that they would never sell anything that they wouldn’t feed their own family.

Prather Ranch and the Rickerts have received an array of awards for conservation and farm management, including:

California Governor’s Award, Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards (2004)

Commercial Producer of the Year, Beef Improvement Federation (2005 – for North America)

Commercial Producer of the Year, Beef Improvement Federation (2005)

Regional Winner, Environmental Stewardship Award Program, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (2005)

The Crew

To learn more about the crew at Prather Ranch, please visit