Tag: ranch life

Women in Ag: All-Around Ranch Wife, Trish Dowton

Trish is a born and bred Idahoan, growing up in the mountain town of Salmon. Trish’s dad was the Ag Extension agent there for more than 30 years, while her mom served as the school librarian. Trish graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Economics in 1990. Trish and her husband Stan have been married since 1991, and have two daughters, Dani (23) and Loni (22).

How are you involved in agriculture today? Stan and I have owned and operated the Dowton 3X Ranch, a commercial cow operation in Pahsimeroi Valley, since 1992. I love the cows and spend a lot of time caring for them during calving season, riding on summer ranges, and doing almost all cow work, in general. I also irrigate, run hay equipment, pay the bills and keep up the financial records.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture is my life. I’ve always loved animals, and being able to take care of them and live where we do means everything. I am also very glad that we were able to raise our girls in this lifestyle.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My dad, Bob Loucks. He always has a positive outlook and tries to see the best in everyone.

The Dowton 3X ranch makes it's home in Idaho's Pahsimeroi Valley, south of Salmon.

The Dowton 3X ranch makes its home in Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley, south of Salmon.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I try to be positive and get them to believe in themselves. I’ve also tried to encourage people to take advantage of what is available to them, and to appreciate the little things in life, like beautiful sunsets and good horses.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Well, we often preach to the choir, but if we were talking to city people I would say that we try to take the best possible care of all our animals, and we really do try to raise a great beef product that is healthy and sustainable.

What are you most thankful for? My family and this lifestyle.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Beef Tri-Tip on the grill, with twice baked potatoes and a salad.

What are your guilty pleasures in life? Horses and chocolate.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? Horses, team roping and reading.

One of the busiest seasons on the Dowton 3X Ranch, is calving; but Trish doesn't mind the work one bit!

One of the busiest seasons on the Dowton 3X Ranch, is calving; but Trish doesn’t mind the work one bit!

Favorite place to visit? Places in the mountains where there aren’t many people.

What are three little known facts about you? I earned an “A” in calculus during high school, I was a member of a successful meat judging team in college, and I used to show reined cow horses—I loved going down the fence!

 

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

Women in Ag: Natural Resources Policy Advisor, Karen Williams

Karen Marchant Williams was raised on a cattle ranch in Oakley, Idaho. After graduating from college with a degree in Animal Science with an agri-business and political science emphasis, she began working for the Utah Cattlemen’s Association. The pull back home to Idaho was strong and after one year, she was able to find a job with the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) where she has now worked for the past 16 years. Her role for ICA centers on natural resource policy issues, particularly relating to public lands grazing and wildlife issues. Her experience on public policy issues, combined with her family’s cattle ranching heritage provides her with the unique ability to represent Idaho’s cattle industry on the issues that affect the livelihood of Idaho’s ranching families. Karen works from her home office in Twin Falls where she and her husband Jason raise three red-headed girls, Sadie (10), Abigail (8), and Ellie (6). As often as possible, Karen and her family help out on her family’s ranch.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or the beef industry today? It is fair to say that my life is consumed by my care for agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. With my job for the Idaho Cattle Association, I literally spend every day studying and seeking resolution to the problems that face our industry and threaten the livelihoods of Idaho’s cattle ranching families. In addition to going home to my family’s ranch to help as often as possible, we also own a few acres, which allows me the satisfaction of having livestock around. It also provides my girls with the connection to chores and animals that helps to build their character, sense of self-worth, and value of hard work, even if on a smaller scale than what I grew up with.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I cannot remember not having a passion for agriculture. It is in my blood as generations before me pioneered their way through the agrarian lifestyle. I grew up on a place where the term “family ranch” truly characterized our outfit. We worked together and were given responsibilities at an early age that were essential to the running of the ranch. My ties to that place are as strong as any of the bonds I feel with the people in my life. Because of that, I have an innate desire to stay close to that livelihood and do all I can to protect it. My education, my career, and my efforts to raise my children have all been centered with a love of this industry.

If ever a spare minute can be found, Karen loves going to help her family on their Basin ranch.

If ever a spare minute can be found, Karen loves going to help her family on their Basin ranch.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I consider myself greatly blessed to have been surrounded by inspiring people my entire life. Both my father and mother were raised on cattle ranches and then together built up their own ranch and spent countless additional hours volunteering their time in community and state-wide agricultural organizations. From them, I learned an appreciation for the honest reward of hard work and a strong sense of my civic duty to work for the betterment of society. Also, I never cease to be inspired by the incredible men and women that make up Idaho’s cattle industry. I often think that that term “salt of the earth” had to be coined based on a cattle rancher. It is for them that I am proud to work every day.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I am generally an optimistic person who recognizes the great blessings of my life. I hope that my positive outlook drives the way I interact with people from all walks of life and provides encouragement and hope.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? With very few exceptions, Idaho’s cattle men and women are driven by the pure desires to care for their animals, pursue an honest, hard-working lifestyle, and to provide nourishing food to the world’s growing appetite. Their presence out on the land, both private and public, ensures that the cherished nature of wide open spaces are preserved and that the land is conserved. With all of the very real crises facing humanity across the globe, I am constantly confused by those activists who target our industry and seek to destroy the livelihood of those people who only desire to provide for the world. These are the acts of a generation who have never known true want or starvation. With our bounty comes trials.

Aren't those the cutest cowgirls you've ever seen?

Aren’t those the cutest cowgirls you’ve ever seen?

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful for my faith, which fortifies me with daily strength and provides me with perspective on those things that matter most. At the very top on that list is my family—nothing comes before them. I also live in daily gratitude for the freedoms and peace we enjoy in this country. Lastly, I am ever-grateful for my heritage, which is steeped in the cattle industry and for the way of life I was born into and continue to be blessed to pursue and share with my children.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? There are few things more satisfying than eating from the fruits of your labors. I love to make a late summer meal for my family where nearly everything on the plate is homegrown: grilled steak from the spare fair steer we raised; new potatoes and corn on the cob—both smothered in butter, along with tomatoes and watermelon from the garden, and peaches from our trees. Throw in some straight-out-of-the-oven rolls and it’s hard to imagine that life could be much better!

I also often take the opportunity to provide meals for friends who are sick or need a pick-me-up. I wouldn’t even consider bringing them anything other than a beef dish. I always hope that my cooking brings the comfort of a good hearty meal and a reminder of the versatility and nutrition of beef as a key ingredient in meals.

What is your favorite childhood memory? I was blessed with a childhood full of wonderful memories, but one that really stands out to me is my participation at the county fair. Showing cattle is also something that is also in my blood and I loved everything about the fair—from the feeling of reward at the end of a summer of hard work to the strong sense of community gathering to the delectable once-a-year food. The best part about this memory is that it is one that can be relived every year—especially since my oldest daughter is now showing a steer, and from all appearances, it’s in her blood every bit as much as it is in mine. That is a joy to watch.

Karen, spending time in one of her favorite places, Washington D.C.

Karen, spending time in one of her favorite places, Washington D.C.

Favorite place to visit? First and foremost is the Basin (home of my family’s ranch). It does a lot of good for my soul. Secondly, I love Washington, D.C. I really enjoy American history and there is no place richer with history than D.C. I also get carried up in politics and love the electric feeling of being at the heart of the place where our great country is governed—yes, even in spite of the fact that I am more frequently than not frustrated by the actions our leaders take. During my college years, I had the wonderful opportunity to complete an internship in D.C with an Idaho senator. That experience was very formative for me. Now I typically have the opportunity to travel to Washington about once a year to meet with elected and agency officials to represent Idaho’s cattlemen and women on the important issues facing our industry. That is an opportunity, and a responsibility, that I do not take lightly.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) It may not be little-known, as my infatuation is made quite clear to those around me, but I LOVE George Strait. I can say with 100 percent assurance that no musician will ever, ever come anywhere close to eclipsing my love for all things George. 2) I turn into a different person when I watch BYU football. All of my normally subdued character traits become overshadowed by the rabid fan within me.  Since my kids have had to live with me during the tremendous ups and downs of this season, they have taken to asking me at the start of each game, “Are you going to scream this time?”  3) I hate mice. With every fiber of my being. I cannot understand the purpose for the creation of these vermin. Knowing that he married a “tough” ranch girl, my husband can never comprehend how I can get so worked up and completely undone by the presence of a mouse or even their often-present calling card. I can’t comprehend it either; it is irrational, but I just can’t help myself. I think they might be the only drawback to living in the country.

Keep up with Karen by following her on Facebook and Instagram!

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

Women in Ag: UI Research Technician, Megan Satterwhite

 

Megan lives with her husband and three sons on a multi-generational cow-calf ranch in south central Idaho. Megan serves as the ICW Representative to the ICA board of directors. In her spare time, she enjoys working and playing with her family, reading, gardening, fishing and watching her sons play football.

How are you involved in agriculture today? I work as an agriculture research technician in the soil science division for University of Idaho Extension. When I am not working in town I help my husband, Kabel, on the family ranching operation.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I grew-up on a small farming/cattle operation and developed a love for the land and animals at a young age. My passion for agriculture continued into college as I pursued an Agricultural Science degree. Yeah, I know it’s weird, but I enjoy working long hours outside, and getting dirty!

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? There have been several individuals who have inspired and encouraged me throughout my life, but my daily motivation is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

How do you provide encouragement to others? One way I offer encouragement to my children is to live by example, although that is not always easy. Oftentimes when a close friend needs encouragement and I don’t have the right words to say I will refer to scripture, some of my favorites include Proverbs 3:5-6 and Isaiah 40:31.

MeganS2

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? Animal agriculture is essential to the welfare of America as well as the rest of the world. Not only does animal agriculture provide food for an ever-growing world population, it is a strong component to our economy. Livestock producers also maintain and enhance millions of acres of public lands and supply consumers with necessary and valuable byproducts.

What are you most thankful for? Weekends! And of course, my family!

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I enjoy cooking anything that does not require a ton of clean-up afterwards! My favorite would be soup/stews with homemade bread.

MeganS1

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? Cringe! I really hate grocery shopping.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? When I have free time I like to read and garden. And I love watching my boys and nephews play football.

Favorite place to visit? The Oregon coast; it is so peaceful and relaxing.

 

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Ranch Projects

Every ranch has “projects.” Some are high priority, like fixing the fence where the heifers got out last night. Some are medium priority and seasonal, like fixing all the broken boards in the feedlot before the next feeding season. Some are low priority, like fixing the gate to the stack yard. These low priority projects can become permanently established as “when we get time.” They become annoyances that we live with understanding “it’s been like that since I was a kid.”

The gate to the stack yard was a very heavy, 16 foot metal gate with a wooden panel stretched to the fence line tie. They configured this entrance because of the double wagons of small bales they brought into the yard to be hand stacked. The gate had to be angled so the wagons didn’t take out the fence every time they pulled into the yard. However, there hasn’t been a small bale hand-stacked here in 30 years! The stack yard gate became just another winter aggravation to complain about.

blog_ranchprojectgate_1

The stories this panel could tell!

Last fall, my husband and the crew were working on their project list and the stack yard gate made it to the top of the list. I was so excited, I headed to the stack yard with my camera to document the historic ranch event.

blog_ranchprojectgate2_1
ranch fencing

Every day this winter, I’ve opened this smooth-swinging, nicely fitting, attractive stack yard gate and thought of this year’s “Ranch Project!”

~ Julie

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

The Many Hats—and Seats of a Woman

oldtractor_oldtractor

An old tractor sits on our family’s property.

I’m sure I’m no different than most women involved in the ranching business, but last summer I realized how versatile we women are. We wear many hats—or sit in many seats to help get the job done.

One day during the summer we were haying and finished baling in one field, then moved the equipment to another field. I had been baling, then when we moved fields, I drove the baler, the pickup, a hay-hauling truck I call Mary Kay—because its kind of a pink color—and the Telehandler.

in the saddle

Enjoying some time in the seat of a saddle during a trail ride.

I came home and took the grandkids on a four wheeler ride, mowed part of the yard, fixed dinner and collapsed into the recliner. Hey, it’s a seat too.

I don’t think for a minute that I am any different than any other cattlewoman; I’m just proud of the fact that we are a versatile group.

Whether we are haying, working cows, planting crops, branding or assisting in those activities, or working in town, helping with homework, upgrading the house, cooking for the crew or sneaking away to golf, we are an independent bunch.

IMG_0540_oldtractor

The beautiful hay fields of the Lemhi Valley.

I think women in general have to be very versatile just to keep up with busy families and lives, but I’m proud of how we step up to fill in, learn how, take over or step back and watch if that’s what’s needed. Maybe that’s why we’re never bored—because things change daily and seasonally for us.

Now we are starting into calving season and that brings another set of skills including the ability to know how to layer on warm clothes. I prepare taxes also at this time of year, which makes for a packed schedule for 3 months.

What hats do you wear or seats do you sit in everyday that keeps you busy? We’d love to hear!

~ Robin

Robin and her husband raise Angus cattle in the Lemhi Valley. They both grew up in ranching and farming families, and love the lifestyle. They raised three children and are enjoying being grandparents now too. Robin, like many Idaho cattlewomen, helps whenever and wherever needed on the ranch.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life