Tag: Idaho Agriculture

Women in Ag: Social Media Savvy Cowgirl, Chyenne Smith

Chyenne Smith was just a small town girl from Montana, working in construction when she met her best friend, and now husband, Jay Smith. They took his small herd on a leased ranch, moved into a ranch of their own and have been building it up ever since. Chyenne jokes that they “think we’ll officially have it paid off when we’re 80, but who’s counting.”

How are you involved in agriculture today? I wish I could say I was involved in more aspects of agriculture than ranching, but that pretty much sums it up with the exception of our involvement in the Idaho Cattle Association. Jay is currently serving as a board member, while I on the other hand get to sew a brand square for the quilt our local cattlewomen auction off every year. This might not sound like much (ok, I do more than that) but I didn’t know how to embroider before this, so it’s a big deal.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? How can anyone’s life NOT be shaped by agriculture?! Trust me, I now know the answer and the reality of that question. Growing up rural, riding horses and helping on ranches when I could left me craving more. Luckily and thankfully I was able to do more. Now our whole world revolves around agriculture. Agriculture shapes how we eat, what we eat and most thoroughly when we eat.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Mentors are not hard to come by in my or Jay’s family. Certainly our mothers, who both were remarkable forces to be reckoned with, in what is still referred to as a man’s world. My mother worked right alongside my father in construction. Jay’s mother grew up ranching, helping first her father, then her brother and now us. Both our fathers have taught me the value of work ethics, which have served me well in every job I have ever taken and now more than ever in ranching and raising a family.

With her love for ranch life, Chyenne couldn't be happier pushing cows through the mountains near their home.

With her love for ranch life, Chyenne couldn’t be happier pushing cows through the mountains near their home.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I have always thought encouragement was a tough recipe. My best example of this is the main reason I am a decent cook and a horrible baker … when cooking you can substitute ingredients and throw all sorts of extras in, not so much in baking if you want to eat the end result… I think it’s important to try and encourage everyone around me so, we help our neighbors, we include everyone we can that wants to be a part of the ranch and most significantly, I’ve found the most helpful thing I can do is give a kind word and often.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? My overall message, which I share daily through Facebook® and Twitter® is simple: You need to come see for yourself. All the media, hype, movies, documentaries and pictures, positive or negative in message, don’t hold a candle to actually stepping onto a ranch or farm and speaking with real people who work the life every day.

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful every day for absolutely everything … for our family, our friends, our health and for this wonderful life full of adventure an opportunity.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Cooking on the ranch, is my other “other job”, the one that comes with dishes… My favorite thing to cook for a crowd that’s been working to help us all day would be a nice big roast with mashed potatoes, green salad, rolls and pie. My absolute favorite thing to cook for just our family is soup, which goes back to the whole throwing in whatever sounds good at the time.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the grocery store? Going to the grocery store is an exercise in chaos theory for me … but I usually hit the produce section first and load up on fresh vegetables, fruits and cheese.  If I’m lucky, I have a plan for meals that will direct me through the rest of my shopping experience after that.

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories? When I was 17, my uncle sent a 3 year old green broke horse for me to work and then sell. I spent the better part of the year riding her through our hills and training/practicing reining and western pleasure. When it came time to show her off to potential buyers, she was a rotten example of a good horse, no help from me. Odd, that she only performed badly when there was interest in her … My uncle, knowing how attached to her I must have become, decided to give her to me as a graduation present and now, my favorite horse to ride on our ranch happens to be her son.

For the Smith's, moving cows is quite often a family affair!

For the Smith’s, moving cows is quite often a family affair!

What are some of your favorite pastimes or hobbies? My favorite pastime is and has always been riding horses, which works out quite well with all the range riding that is required from spring through fall. In the winter months I also enjoy crocheting when I’m not tending to a calf on the porch…

You can keep up with Chyenne on Facebook, and Twitter!

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

Women in Ag: North Idaho Purebred Breeder, Maureen Mai

Maureen Mai was born and raised in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho—a town just 30 miles south of the Canadian border. She and her husband, Ryan, met during their time at University of Idaho, getting married soon after they graduated. They have been involved in almost all aspects of the cattle business, starting with buying and selling stocker calves, developing a feedlot, and leasing a set of commercial cows, all while continuing to grow the purebred herd she started in her early teen’s. Maureen, Ryan and their son Dillon are now focused on their purebred herd, selling their bulls each February in the Bulls of the Big Sky sale.

How are you involved in agriculture today? It certainly varies from the seasons, but driving tractors and working with cattle fall into all the seasons. I tend to fill in where it is needed, whether it be with the hay rakes, the big baler, as a fence builder, or a truck driver. I operate the combine during our grain harvest…but I am trying to retire from that since I am now more involved with our county fair and 4-H. I am a 4-H leader for the Beef projects. The cows need checked weekly at all their pastures in the summertime and they get fed daily when they aren’t on pasture the other six months of the year. I do the bookkeeping for our business as well as the Idaho and Montana Simmental Associations, and our Bulls of the Big Sky Sale group. So, unfortunately I have to sit behind the computer quite a bit as well.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture has shaped my life from the beginning. My parents had cattle since they were married. They also farmed hay and grains on a small basis and also were involved with the nursery industry for a while. I started 4-H as soon as possible with market steer and horse projects. When I was in high school I was selected to attend the ACT (Advancement for the Cattleman of Tomorrow) Program sponsored by the University of Idaho. After touring Idaho and seeing all of the possibilities and potential with agriculture, I knew I had no intentions of leaving it.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Lots of people have inspired me and many have and do serve as mentors. In the beginning it was a family friend who drug me all across the country to cattle shows. She got me hooked on showing beyond the county level and being an important part of our breed association. All she ever asked is that I would do the same for someone sometime (I have since then hauled her granddaughters and several other kids a great many miles). Dr. Carl Hunt, retired Beef Nutrition Professor at U of I certainly inspired me to think “outside the box” whether it be for feeding/nutrition or profitability or general beef management. Marty Ropp with Allied Genetic Resources has mentored us into developing a pretty strong and competitive herd of Simmental cattle, which we sell to commercial cattlemen at our bull sale.

Maureen and Ryan's son, Dillon, taking the time to play with a new calf.

Maureen and Ryan’s son, Dillon, taking the time to play with a new calf.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Providing encouragement to others???  My husband might say I yell really loud… but I try not to use that technique first. Especially with kids I try to help them achieve their goals by providing advice, pointing them to the right resources, and build their confidence as we go. I usually try to show them how to do something and then make them do it-—with supervision. It helps build their confidence and it teaches them to try new things. They usually end by saying, “that wasn’t so hard” or “that was really cool.”

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? My message about the agriculture and beef industry is…it is SAFE, DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS. The farmers and ranchers of the U.S. get up early and stay up late to take care of their animals and crops to make a safe and delicious product for our consumers. It is often a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, on call job to keep animals safe and harvest crops before bad weather. The dedicated 2 percent of the population commits their lives to put a safe product on the table for the other 98 percent.

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family and the ability to live the life we do. We work hard but it is so exciting every spring to see a new year of baby calves hit the ground and see if all of last year’s plans worked. I love the early mornings of spring when the green grass pops up as you go out to feed the cows. It is exciting to start the harvest to see how the crops do that you’ve watched grow all summer. Most of all my son gets to experience all these joys as well.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do but it seems to be essential. My favorite quick dish and family favorite is the Black Bean Tamale Pie—it has a corn bread/sour cream crust with hamburger, black beans, corn and taco/fajita seasoning inside. It was a “Beef It’s Whats For Dinner” contest winner years ago.  If company is coming over though I do love to BBQ a good Tri-Tip and some sort of high-calorie loaded potatoes.

A few members of Mai's cattle herd.

A few members of Mai’s cattle herd.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? The first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is…remember I left my list at home!

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memories are usually related to horses and riding around the neighborhood with my friends. On our adventures we would stop and pick flowers for our moms—which were really weeds, but at the time we didn’t know that!

What is your favorite store to shop in? Favorite store to shop in is Costco and a Big R or D&B. If they don’t have it, we probably don’t really need it!

What is something people might be surprised to know about you? We put up and delivered small bales to the local horse market before we moved to the big 3x4x8’ bales and entered the export market—some of our hay has gone to Korea, Japan (to feed their dairy cows and race horses), and Saudi Arabia (to feed their camels). We continue to custom bale thousands of tons of hay and straw each year.

What are a few of your hobbies? In our spare time, I enjoy boating with family on Lake Pend Oreille, riding our horses, attending to my yard of flowers, and snow skiing.

You can reach out to Maureen by emailing her at rymocattle@gmail.com.

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle

Women in Ag: Agriculture Devotee, Christie Prescott

Idaho is home to two Camas Prairies, and we’re lucky enough to be able to feature a cowgirl from each one! Yesterday you read a profile on Diana Graning, and today you can read one on Christie Prescott. Christie was born and raised on a ranch outside of Fairfield, Idaho. Her husband, Wyatt, serves as the Executive Vice President of the Idaho Cattle Association. She and Wyatt have a son, Gus, and are expecting a little girl at the end of this month!

How are you involved in agriculture and/or the beef industry today? My involvement in Agriculture really starts at my day job as outreach coordinator for the Idaho Grain Producers Association. When I’m not in the office my husband and I are building our own beef cattle operation. Currently, we primarily grow calves and place them as feeder cattle in a custom feedlot. We also do whatever the market presents as an opportunity when it does, like feeding feeder cows and growing our cow-calf numbers.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I grew in agriculture. I still have dreams that I’m back on the ranch I grew up on. I hope that my children will be as fortunate as I was and get to grow up the same way. I look forward to instilling the passion for cattle in our children. Being surrounded by the beautiful Idaho landscape, working the land and learning to be responsible through agriculture is the best way to grow up.


Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My grandpa, Al Bauscher, has always been an inspiration to me. He was a WWII veteran that came home to Fairfield and kept up the family cattle business. He inspired me because he was tough as nails and always on time. I keep a picture of the two of us together, at my desk as a constant reminder.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I provide encouragement to others by providing valid feedback and being supportive. I’m a realist that likes to get things done. I think a fresh perspective is always good and try to support the best way to do any given thing.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I’d like to let people know that if they like to eat they should be supportive of agriculture and agricultural practices. I think there is a major gap in people knowing where their food comes from. Many don’t understand what goes into food production. I’d like them to understand that farmers and ranchers are where what on their plate starts and that these people care the most about their animals and land.

What are you most thankful for? I’m most thankful for my family and our health. I’ve come to realize through losing my parents that it’s the most important thing.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Bolognese sauce and spaghetti are always a go-to favorite.


What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? I try and shop the perimeter of a grocery store. I load up on fresh produce followed by meats, cheeses and dairy. I try and avoid highly processed aisle foods.


What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? Trail running and boot camp work outs, reading, watching football, canning and cooking.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I was a BLM firefighter for six fire seasons. 2) I am a Lord of the Rings nerd. 3) I’m actually shy and have to work hard at being outgoing.

Be sure to keep up with Christie on Instagram and Facebook!

Day 5: Women in Ag: Diana Graning
Day 4: Women in Ag: Julie Kerner
Day 3: Women in Ag: Megan Satterwhite
Day 2: Women in Ag: Celia Gould
Day 1: Women in Ag: Robin Lufkin

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