Tag: ranching

Women in Ag: ICA Membership & Production Manager, Dawn Schooley

Dawn grew up on the plains of southeastern Colorado. After graduating from high school, she moved to Idaho to be a Vet Tech before heading to Montana State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. In 2006, Dawn moved back to Idaho, taking a job with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, working in the State Veterinarian’s office. In 2014, Dawn became the Idaho Cattle Association’s Membership and Production Manager.  

How are you involved in agriculture today? I have the good fortune with my current position at the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) to be involved in the industry on a daily basis. I also make it a priority to go home and help my brother a few times a year with branding, turning out, weaning or even fixing fence.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I think my entire being has been shaped by agriculture. Growing up in rural America in an agriculture family provided me the greatest opportunity in life to continue that tradition. My family has been involved in several different aspects of agriculture; my dad is officially retired, my brother is a cow-calf producer, my uncle is a feeder, cousins are wheat farmers, my grandpa was a seedstock producer and, once upon a time, my dad and his dad raised some very nice Quarter horses. Agriculture is just in my blood and my heart.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I have been very fortunate to have several people inspire me over my lifetime. Watching my grandpa and granny is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. They were both very active in the cattle industry. Granny was a CowBelle for longer than I have been alive. My grandpa was a very special man, he lost his arm in a corn thatcher in his older years, but that didn’t hold him back. I can still remember climbing into his old truck to go feed cows with him. With just one hand he still managed to handle livestock in an easy, relaxed manner that I always admired.

Along with my grandparents; I had what I consider the best ag professors in the industry. Dr. Ray Ansotegui, Dr. Jan Bowman and Dr. Clayton Marlow were outstanding professors, who were a pleasure to learn from, and always went above and beyond to educate their students. I also admire a gentlemen by the name of “Sonny” Bohleen. Sonny was a lifelong rancher in Montana who became part of my family when my brother started working as a hand for him. Sonny lived for cattle and horses and it showed every day. These are just a few of the many people in my life that inspired me to continue my family traditions and have a life in the cattle industry.

Dawn's Dad, herself, and older brother, stop for a picture after a long day of moving bulls.

Dawn’s Dad, herself, and older brother, stop for a picture after a long day of moving bulls.

How do you provide encouragement to others? This might sounds a little strange but I was always taught one way to encourage others was to be a lady. I remember being pretty young, walking down the sidewalk in town with my dad, to an event for one of my siblings. I was not very excited because I had to wear a dress and knew that I was going to have to sit and mind my manners for a long period of time. My dad took this time to explain how important it was to always be a lady. He explained no matter in life what I was doing to remember to be a lady and I would be encouraging to others. I have found this to be very true in life; whether I am encouraging a panel of millennials to learn more about the beef industry or being a role model for my niece.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? If I had the chance to speak to a large group of people I would talk about trust verses the myths of ranching. If everyone was required to take a basic 100-level animal science, range ecology and meat science class, there would not be so many misconceptions in today’s world about agriculture.

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for friends, family, horses and dogs.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? My most favorite meal to cook would be prime rib, branding potatoes, coffee can bread and pecan pie (I would most likely throw in a green salad to give the table a little color).

Lacy, a dog Dawn considers to be the "best cowdog ever," waiting to bring in the horses.

Lacy, a dog Dawn considers to be the “best cowdog ever,” waiting to bring in the horses.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? My guilty pleasures in life, besides really good chocolate, are really nice horses. I look back at photos of my Dad and Grandpa, and wish we still had some of the horses they used to raise. I am always trying to convince my brother we need to buy certain horses and get back into the business.

Favorite place to visit? One of my favorite places to visit is Dingle, Ireland.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I’m a very shy person; I have to work hard to step outside of my confort zone to talk with people I don’t know. 2) I love western history; my family came to America in 1732 and I have always been fascinated with American history. 3) I think the West would never been “won” without strong, passionate, dedicated women.

Categories: Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: All-Around Cattlewoman, Jessie Jarvis

Jessie Jarvis is a born and raised Idahoan, with a strong passion for promoting agriculture. She graduated from the College of Idaho in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She and her husband currently ranch alongside her parents in King Hill. Prior to moving home, Jessie spent almost three years working as the Communications Director for the Idaho Cattle Association. When she isn’t out doing ranch work, Jessie still manages to maintain a career in marketing and communications. She is also a regular contributor to the Idaho CattleWomen blog, covering anything from the first calf of the season to sharing the recipe for her Mother-in-Law’s famous Taco Salad.  

How are you involved in agriculture today? We have a cow-calf operation, and a small farm where we primarily grow alfalfa and silage corn. Very, very rarely do our crops get sold, because we grow them specifically for the purpose of feeding our own livestock. No two days are alike, which is part of why we love what we do! I’m also very passionate about telling the story of agriculture whenever I get the chance. To me, it’s very important that consumers have the opportunity to better understand where their food comes from, and who is producing it.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture truly has made me who I am today. I am so lucky to have been born into such an amazing industry with such inspiring people. If I had to use a single word to describe agriculture, “selfless” would be at the top of the list. The “leave something better than you found it” mantra is a common thread between every one of us, and it’s something we carry far past the farm/ranch setting. Knowing that those around me are constantly making things better, not only for themselves, but for those to come, really helps me hold myself to a higher standard. 

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? This is actually a difficult question for me to answer, because I truly can’t narrow it down to one single person. However, if I could have lunch with three people, I would probably pick Kadee Coffman, Laura Bush and Miranda Lambert. I have a deep respect for each of them, and know I could glean a lot of wisdom from such a diverse group of instrumental women.

One of Jessie’s favorite places on her family’s ranch, is their barn. It’s an original structure that was there long before her grandparents bought the ranch back in the early 1940s. Photo Credit: Maggie Malson

How do you provide encouragement to others? I will be the first to tell you that we’re all faced with our share bad days and difficult situations, but regardless of how terrible things may seem, there’s always a silver lining. For that reason, I’m big on positivity. You can’t do great things in life if you’re surrounded by negative thoughts from negative people—so I always try to help others think in an optimistic manner.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Food is the one subject where everybody thinks they’re entitled to an opinion. I’m all for people gathering information and basing their opinions off their conclusions, regardless of whether they agree with me or not. But it bothers me to know that people aren’t posing their questions to those who know food best. There’s a reason WebMD® can’t give out prescriptions, but a real doctor can. The same applies to food. If you have questions about what you’re feeding your family, make sure that one of your information sources is someone who actually produces it!!!

What are you most thankful for? Ranching is not an easy business, especially for two “kids” in our 20s, like Justin and I. I am so thankful that we are able to work alongside my parents—two of the best in the business—and have the chance to soak up all they have to offer in terms of wisdom and insight.

I’m also thankful for all of my “biggest problems.” I know that’s kind of a strange thing to be thankful for; but when I look around at the rest of the world, even my biggest problems are so miniscule! Those issues are what remind me of how easy I have it. I’ve got a great husband, loving parents, supportive friends, good horses, great health, a roof over my head…the list is endless!

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? If I’m cooking for myself, regardless of the time of year, I love a good steak salad. People think salads are so boring, but they’ve obviously never tried one from my kitchen. I always mix an array of things in—my salads are never lacking in flavor, but still so healthy!

What is your favorite childhood memory? Growing up as an only child I spent a lot of time with just my parents. We were never big on watching TV, so quite often we spent many summer evenings riding horseback through one of our Bureau of Land Management (BLM) permit fields. Initially those outings were where I first learned to ride. As I got older, my Dad would test me on my knowledge of different grass species, or tell us stories of the things they’d do in the same area, when he and his sister were my age (like trying to catch a “pet” coyote).

JessieJustinICWSelfieIn recent years, I’ve also grown quite fond of the first memory I have of meeting Justin. Our families have known each other forever, but my first memory of him is from when we were six, at an Elmore County Junior Rodeo. I still have a newspaper clipping from that rodeo that says something to the effect of “All-Around, Jessie Thompson; Reserve All-Around, Justin Jarvis.” I joke that it was probably the first and last time I ever beat Justin in anything rodeo related!

What are a few of your guilty pleasures? I love a glass of red wine!

Favorite store to shop in? Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I love to shop. By no means would I dub myself as a shopaholic, but I love being able to show off my uniqueness and creativity through a well put-together outfit. If I get a chance to make it to the mall, the first place I stop is Bohme—they have a great variety of stuff, and none of it is too expensive. Since ranching keeps me so busy I end up getting a lot of my stuff from online boutiques. A few of my favorite shops are The Rusty Rose, Southern Trends, Redford Ranch Style, and Mesa Dreams Leather!

Be sure to keep up with Mrs. Jarvis on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!


Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: Cowboy Girl, Jayme Thompson

Jayme is a 4th generation cattle rancher, born and raised in Mackay, Idaho. She and her husband, Matt, currently reside in Shelley. They have three sons, Jackson, Mattson and Dawson.

How are you involved in agriculture today? My husband and I have a cow-calf operation and raise Quarter horses. We raise alfalfa hay and other forages that we use to winter our cattle on. My husband is also a representative for Western Video Market, which gives us the opportunity to meet new people, see different country and ranches, and deal with a lot of cattle. 

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I have been involved in agriculture my entire life. My husband and I are both the 4th generation of our families to be in the cattle business; and we are both so proud of our roots, and how we were raised. Because of that, I always knew I wanted to raise my family in a traditional ranching environment. We juggle the boy’s activities and school along with our work on the ranch, making sure they still get to be involved in things, even if we’re busy. It takes a team effort to make everything work, but we happen to be a pretty good one!

Photo Credit: Mystic Memories Photography

Photo Credit: Mystic Memories Photography

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I am inspired by all women who have walked in the shoes of being a rancher’s wife. The ladies who keep a clean house, do laundry, and have tidy yards, as well as gather cows, brand calves, and have a delicious meal on the table to feed the crew. My Grandma, Hilda Goddard, is simply amazing. She has cooked meals that have fed an army—anyone and everyone was always welcome at her dinner table. She drove the water truck, fixed fence, sorted cows, baked her own bread, made homemade Christmas presents, sewed anything imaginable, and has a love for the Lord that has been an example to us all. She is such a blessing to me, and to our family. At 93, she still manages to drive and live by herself; she’s definitely one tough cookie! I always hope to be a real rancher’s wife, just like her.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Life is so short and each day is a blessing. Never miss a chance to tell someone you love them or appreciate them. I still call people (not text), especially on their birthdays. I love sending “Thank You” cards, and I always try to put little notes inside my boy’s lunch boxes or on the mirrors telling them I love them and to have a great day!! Each day is what you make of it…choose to be happy!

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I wish the general population was more respectful of agriculture, and had more of an appreciation for what we do. I believe that a lot of people think that farmers and ranchers aren’t smart enough to do anything else, and that is so unbelievably far from the truth. It takes a lot of smarts to successfully put food of the tables of hundreds of people, especially when there is no guaranteed price for the goods we’re selling.

What are you most thankful for? I am so thankful that I was able to grow up as daddy’s little cowboy girl. I think a lot of that has to do with why I get to be married to my best friend, and can raise our boys on a ranch. I am so thankful for each and every one of my family members—I am so blessed, and I thank God for that every day. 

Part of the Thompson's horse herd, grazing on their summer range.

A portion of the Thompson’s horse herd—one of Jayme’s favorite parts of ranch life!

What is your favorite meal to cook? I hate to say it, but I’m not the handiest in the kitchen. I wish I was, and I’m sure Matt does too, but thankfully he’s not picky and always eats whatever I come up with. I do make a dish called “Spicy Baked Hamburger Rice.” It’s hardy, and has a nice little kick to it. My boys seem to like it because they always ask for it. If I need something quick and easy, I’ll throw tacos together, because they’re pretty fool-proof. This time of year I start doing more stuff in the crockpot; that way it’s ready when we get home from a long day of sorting or hauling cows.

What is your favorite store to shop in? I love to shop with my mom! We like Sundance Catalog Outlet, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Target and Macy’s. You can always find good sales, clearance items , and coupons at those places. I also love to shop little boutiques and good antique stores, Cal Stores, and D&B Supply. Being married to a saddle maker I have grown to have an appreciation for saddle shops and good leather.

What are a few of your favorite hobbies or pastimes? I exercise a lot and try to make it a part of my every day routine. I try to stay healthy and eat right. I’m a pretty big sports fan, and its proving to be more exciting as our oldest son is now playing football and running track for the College of Idaho. I love raising our baby colts—watching them grow, selling them, and seeing what other people do with them. It makes us proud when people will call and tell us they love their horse they bought from us. We have many returning customers and it has built some great friendships. 

What is your favorite childhood memory? I have so many wonderful memories it is hard to tell about just one. Gathering cows when I was little with my family, and the pine trees would brush me off my 16-hands tall, gelding. I loved the smell of the sagebrush after it just rained, or the sun coming up over the hill when we would trot out. Going hunting with my brother before school, and hearing the sound of an elk bugling. Family dinners, church on Sundays, small town parades and rodeos; I loved high school rodeo, and the two years I qualified for Nationals. The snowstorm where we were snowed in for 9 days and had to ride a snow machine to get to the tractor so we could feed cows. Getting to drive the farm truck for the first time all by myself, calving seasons, jumping the bread loaf hay bales and “educating” the city cousins when they came to visit. One Christmas my dad cut out shapes of blocks of wood and gave them to a needy family for their kids. We also had a swimming hole on our ranch in Mackay, called Parson’s, which every kid in town knew about. We swam there every summer night! I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything!!

Be sure to keep up with Jayme on Facebook, and Instagram!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Simplot Land Manager, Darcy Helmick

Darcy was born and raised on her parent’s ranch, based in Mayfield, Idaho. During college, Darcy fought fire for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and continued to help her parents on their ranch. After a short stent working for the Idaho Department of Lands, Darcy was hired on at J.R. Simplot Company, in the Land and Livestock Division, as a monitoring specialist. Darcy is also an alumnus of the Leadership Idaho Ag program, graduating from Class 32.

How are you involved in agriculture today? Currently, I am the land manager for Simplot Livestock Company based in Grand View, Idaho. There I manage all of Simplot’s public land grazing allotments, working with federal and state agency staff, Simplot managers and cowboys. I am on the board for three Rangeland Fire Protection Associations, including Saylor Creek, Three Creek and Black Canyon, and am a member for the Shoshone Basin RFPA. I also serve as the public lands chair for the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA), and am the delegate representing Idaho at the Public Lands Council. In my spare time I help my parents with their cow-calf operation. 

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Both sides of my family have been involved in agriculture, long before I was born. My parents started their cow-calf operation just before I was born and have continued to expand it over the years. Growing up living on a ranch and showing 4-H animals, I learned the importance of hard work, persistence, patience, communication and good hard work!


A photo of Darcy and her brother Chad at his wedding, along with his bride and their grandparents.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? There are far too many people in my life, past and present that have inspired me and serve as mentors to list. However, obviously, my parents have given me the gift of being raised on the ranch and learning all of the life lessons that go along with that. It is an opportunity that if every child was blessed with, this country would be a much better place. Their parenting taught me the importance of hard work, dedication and commitment, which have made me the person I am today.

Probably the person who has served more as a mentor than any other would be Chuck Jones. He was the land manager that hired me on as a monitoring specialist for Simplot. He told me once that even though I might not be qualified; I had the heart and he could teach me the rest. And boy did he try!! His retirement led to my promotion, and his phone number is at the top of my “Favorites,” or what I refer to as my “help” list, in my iPhone. Also high on that “help” list is my good friend and mentor Michael Guerry. We often spend what seems like hours discussing issues, and I believe I have told him on more than one occasion it is a good thing that I don’t live close enough to have coffee with him every morning or we would never get anything done! 

How do you provide encouragement to others? I try to find the positive in any situation – even if the only positive is that nothing is ever a failure if you learn a lesson from it. 

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Recently there seems to be a lot of talk going on about our food supply and what should and/or should not be in it. Although we all know it, it is amazing how many people know so little about our industry. I think the message that we need to share is how safe the food and fiber we produce for this population really is, and how without the advancement in technologies that we have made, we would never be able to feed the world sustainably.

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for being born into and raised in a ranching family. It is an opportunity that most are not provided, and I am thankful that I had the experience. I am also thankful for the opportunity to work for a company that allows me to continue that lifestyle.


What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I love to cook meatloaf, with scalloped potatoes and green beans. Also something fun once in a while is the Pioneer Woman’s steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce! 

What is your favorite childhood memory? Spending a week at the Elmore County Fair in Glenns Ferry with my closest friends and family.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I love to go home on the weekends and help my parents work cows. I also love to ride my horse just for fun, although that doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. I love to hunt and fish – especially in fun and new places. I love exploring new country and traveling to other countries is fun too. I also love to read.

Favorite place to visit? My favorite place to visit would have to be Prairie, Idaho. When I was growing up, it was always an adventure to head north to visit the family, especially when adventures were in store with my cousins. As an adult, it is still my favorite place to visit, although I don’t get there nearly enough.

Be sure to keep up with Darcy’s busy life on both Instagram and Facebook!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Women in Ag: ICA Board Member, Dawn Anderson

Dawn, and her husband James, are partners in a registered Hereford and Red Angus purebred cow-calf operation, started by her parents. The ranch has an annual production sale, the 2nd Monday of March. Dawn and her husband have been married for 28 years, and have two children, Bryan and Jae.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today? I am currently on the Idaho Cattle Association Board of Directors. I provide support services for the Idaho Junior Hereford Association (IJHA) as well as the Idaho Hereford Breeders. We do a little bit of showing with our Herefords. With a little help from the kids, I break the cattle and get them ready to head to the show. I work outside the home, but use evenings, weekends and other days off to register cattle, work cattle, run parts, and do whatever else needs done.

JBB/AL HerefordsHow has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I was raised on the ranch we live on and have spent my entire life around cattle and farming. My dad always said that cattle raise good kids. I was very fortunate to be raised in this environment and have been blessed to be able to continue to live this lifestyle as well as raise our children with the same opportunities.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My parents, John and Bev Bryan, have always been my inspiration. My husband James was not directly raised in the Ag/Beef industry, but had a true passion for it from the beginning and this allowed me to stay involved. Together, our inspiration is making it possible for our children to continue to be involved in the industry and continue on a family tradition.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I was involved in 4-H and the IJHA while growing up. I don’t believe I ever left either program. I help with our county 4-H market animal sale, and help with IJHA shows and events. I look for opportunities to encourage youth to stay involved in agriculture and the beef industry.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? The ag & beef industries are the lifeblood of our nation and our world. We care about our natural resources; therefore we are invested stewards of our land. We recognize that life sustainability depends on us feeding the world with safe, wholesome food.

Photo by Dawn AndersonWhat are you most thankful for? My family; past, current and future. I know it would have been very difficult to have had the experiences I had growing up had my grandparents and parents not had the tenacity to stick with this industry during the difficult years. I was lucky to find a man who was willing to work hard so that we could stay in this industry, and I am thankful that we have been able to introduce our children to this industry.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? My favorite meal to cook includes steak. It might be because it is an easy fix and easy cleanup, but it is soooo good.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My brother Shawn had Reserve Champion Steer at the Gooding County Fair. He had the opportunity to show him in the Open to the World Steer Show at the Twin Falls County Fair two weeks later, but he wanted to be done with taking care of the steer. We made a deal that I would feed and continue to care for the steer through the show, and I would get whatever premium money he received from that show. He ended up winning the carcass contest with premiums of $300. That was quite a bit of money at that time. Shawn quietly handed over the money.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Red Wine and Beer. Not necessarily in that order.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies?  I love to run. Call me crazy – well, you could if I didn’t get the chance to run and work off some stress. I run 3-5 times a week 3.5 – 8 miles each time. I occasionally participate in 10K and 5K running events. I’m not fast, but I can finish. That’s all that matters. I also like to golf.

Make sure to follow Dawn and JBB/AL Herefords on Facebook!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life