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History of Date Creek

The ranch lies in the transition zone between the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, meaning it supports the unusual mixture of Joshua trees and saguaros. Beautiful Date Creek runs through the middle of the ranch and provides habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, including beaver, wild turkeys and javelina.

My parents,  Phillip  and Geri, bought the ranch in 1966. It soon became the focus of our lives as my two brothers and I  grew up. Working the land was a way of life and a means for survival and required the entire family’s participation.  I  returned to the ranch as an adult and raised my children here, and have been carrying on the ranching tradition since my father passed away several years ago.

Date Creek was not always such an abundant place.  When we arrived at the ranch, the  3.5 miles of ephemeral and perennial stream was little more than a broad swath of barren sand and scattered cottonwood and willow trees.  Javelina and other large wildlife was rare; the turkeys and beaver were little more than tales of the land’s past, long ago wiped out.  Dad began a rest/rotation grazing management plan that gave the creek the opportunity to rest during the growing season.  In 1982, he began  applying holistic management to the land, which provided pastures even better opportunities to rest and for the grass to re-grow. It soon became obvious that the creek was making an amazing recovery and by the late 80’s it was recognized as one of the healthiest riparian areas in the state of Arizona.  He received several awards and was written up in various magazines and newspapers.

My husband, Stefan, and I are continuing the same intensively managed grazing and holistic program that he started.  Healing the land and caring for the wildlife is of primary importance to us.

 - Kimberley Knight


Quality of Life

Date Creek Ranch is committed to our goals and strives to maintain an open, friendly, and collaborative environment between employees, family, team, and customers. Our day to day work contributes to personal growth and opportunities to pursue personal interests for all people involved.

  • At all times we endeavor to have a warm, welcoming, and healing atmosphere for all who visit and work here.

  • We will continue the cowboy-ranching tradition and be a part of the agricultural community that provides healthy food to the world community.

  • Of the greatest importance is to maintain open spaces and a healthy ecosystem that gives families, children, and groups with like-minded ideas the opportunity to explore nature and to find healing and comfort in their daily lives.

Forms of Production: A balance between work and play

  • A good financial plan with profit from livestock, crops, eco-tourism, and investments.

  • Well-organized and executed operational plan.

Future Resource Base


  • Friendly, caring, courteous, honest, and environmentally and socially responsible.


  • Stable, healthy, covered soil in which rainfall soaks in rather than running off.

  • Erosion is minimal. Many perennial streams and flowing springs.

  • Healthy diversity of cool and warm season grasses, forbs and browse as well as desert trees and cactus. Soil is covered with many plants. Bare ground is minimal.

  • Well-functioning mineral cycle. Plant material and manure is rapidly broken down and cycled back into the soil.

  • Diverse plant, animal and insect life. Healthy predator population and abundant wildlife.


  • Safe and quiet highways, good schools, and education for people of all ages.

  • Agricultural, rural and culturally diverse, tolerant, and racially harmonious community.

  • Safe, happy community with environmentally and socially responsible growth. Preservation of open space for future generations.

Phillip Knight 1935 – 2007

Determination and land stewardship are musts for ranching in this country, and my father demonstrated both. He began a ranching tradition that was very progressive and one which we continue. Within the past 20 years, Dad, in conjunction with AZ Game and Fish, reintroduced beaver and wild turkey.

For his important work on the riparian area (Date Creek) Dad was awarded:

  • 1993 Environmentalist of the Year—AZ Game and Fish Department

  • 1994 Environmental Stewardship—Arizona Cattlemen’s Association

Numerous articles have been published about Dad.

  • Featured in “Range” Magazine—Spring 1994 “Environmentalist of the Year—Phil Knight”

  • Featured in Arizona Highways—August 1988 “The Ecosystem Doesn’t End at the Fence”

  • Featured in Arizona Highways –August 1999 “To Protect the Land”

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