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Stories from California Cattle Country
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Stories from California Cattle Country

Author: California Cattlemen's Foundation

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Stories from California Cattle Country takes listeners to some of the most beautiful parts of this diverse state to learn more about the people and practices of ranches and dairies. Follow our host, Ryan as he darts around the state meeting cattle ranchers and dairy farmers learning about the animals and land they care for everyday.This podcast is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council.
57 Episodes
In this episode we speak with Mike Sulpizio of Superior Cattle Feeders about the feeding sector of the cattle business, water, quiet cows and the unique history of the Imperial Valley.Cattle BreedsRalph's California Beef Program (now defunct)
In this episode we speak with Joe Dan Cameron of Mesquite Cattle Feeders about the feeding sector of the cattle business, quiet cows and the unique history of the Imperial Valley.
In this episode we speak with rancher Rich Ross about his unique location, why a 77 year old attorney would choose ranching as a way of life and his partnership with another rancher, 77 year old Wally Roney. We also talk a bit about wolves (which is a first for this podcast).
In this episode we speak with Jake Parnell, owner of the Cattlemens Livestock Market in Galt California… 20 miles south of Sacramento about the livestock market, common misconceptions and why communication is critical between the ag and non ag community.
In this episode we speak with rancher Tim Neilsen about El Dorado ranch and his commitment to ranching almost 8000 acres of the Sierra foothills in collaboration with the American River Conservancy in an effort to preserve area biodiversity of Sierra Nevada oak woodland… with cows. This is a follow up to our last episode where we spoke with Elena Delacy from the aforementioned American River Conservancy where Tim’s ranching operation is mentioned, in fact, celebrated.
In this episode we speak with Elena Delacy, executive director of the American River Conservacy about working with California ranchers in an effort to preserve critical ecosystems through land trusts in the American and Consumnes water basins.
In this episode we discuss the intricacies of direct-to-consumer sales, the appeal of the ranching lifestyle and the shaky future of a small city ranch under the looming shadow of suburban sprawl with lawyer/rancher Nick Avdis. 
In this episode we join Tim Lewis in his truck Whoa Black Betty to ferry some calves from a dairy in Escalon to a feedlot in Nevada returning with some cows to the same lot stopping only for fuel and truck stop burritos. We'll learn about the ins and outs of Bull Hauling and how Tim managed to get in this unique line of work.
In this episode we speak with Melissa about ranching in Nicasio, about her Angus and Long Horned Cattle, and the ancillary businesses she runs through agritourism to ensure the success of her operation through hosting and educating non-ranchers about the ins and outs of agricultural living.
My purpose for the visit was to highlight the importance of this county fair to the next generation of agricultural professionals. Specifically, those still in elementary, middle or high school. In this episode we speak with Ulises Garcia, a 17 year old who spent the last 10 months restoring a circa 1949 Farmall Tractor to original condition. We also speak with Chiara Stornetta, an 11 year old at the fair to auction a steer and a heifer she raised. 
In this episode we visit Sherri and Bob Brennan just north of La Grange, Calif. to bell some cows prior to the herd's annual pilgrimage into the Stanislaus National Forest at Eagle Meadows which sits at just about 7,400' elevation.
On this sweltering day I speak with Rancher Bart Cremers at his ranch in Sloughhouse. I first spoke with his wife Noelle via telephone, a former cca employee, about their operation. The Cremers a bit of a unicorn in this industry as they are first generation ranchers who only lease land throughout the west for their operation. Such an operation can allow for some operators to be nimble but also puts the operator at the whims of the landowner. On this visit the bulk of the herd was enjoying more temperate weather in Oregon with some bulls and replacement heifers on the property in Sloughhouse. We'll first hear a bit from Noelle and follow that with a visit with Bart. 
In this episode we visit Rita McPhee from the McPhee Red Angus ranch in Lodi California. McPhee Red Angus differs a bit from our typical cattle ranch in that it only has red hided angus cattle (commonly Angus have black hides) and that their businesses is principally selling bulls opposed to selling cattle for beef. The ranch is about an hour South of Sacramento, and though the address is in Lodi it exists in a spot bordered by Lockeford, Linden and Lodi. We toured McPhee Ranch, their sale barn, pet some horses and then sat with Rita and her son Royce where we discussed ranch history, why they prefer Red Angus Cattle and a bit about branding.
This week we return to Humboldt County and speak with rancher Peter Bussman.In our last episode we spoke with Jason & Dean Hunt along with Justin Mora about ranching in Humboldt county with an emphasis on managing the areas Roosevelt Elk population.On that trip I had the pleasure of meeting peter Bussman, a rancher that was on hand to give biologist Carrington Hilson and I access to ranch property in an effort to find elk, which we did. In talking with Pete, I found that he comes from a long line of ranchers in the area, created a redwood tree farm in blue lake and volunteers his time to cook for large events over wood fire. We toured his cattle operation in the Arcata, drove to Blue lake to see his tree farm, and then cooked enough new york strips (he did ALL the cooking) for nearly 200 people and enjoyed them for dinner at the historic Carson Mansion in Eureka as guests of the Ignomar Club.
In this episode we venture to Arcata, just north of Eureka California and home to Cal Poly Humboldt to discuss ranching a few miles from the Pacific. Every environment presents a unique set of problems whether it be weather, invasive or native wildlife or urbanization. Ranchers in Arcata deal with all of the above.The reason for my visit was to talk about Elk. Specifically, Roosevelt Elk. These elk are endemic in the area but for a long-time, populations have waxed and waned. More recently the population has thrived... the Elk don't have many existing predators, are hard on fences and are prolific breeders. The Elk prefer the same feed that cows do and have the ability to access it.The Elk's size, population and reproductivity makes management difficult. In this episode we speak with ranchers Jason & Dean Hunt and Justin Mora about how they deal with the Elk and about what systems they have to manage them. We also speak with Carrington Hilson from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who is tasked with gathering data on the Elk population in Humboldt County which should aid in better management practices in the future.
Darrel Sweet's ranch is nestled in the hills on the south side of the Altamont Pass surrounded by these wind turbines. For this podcast, ranch visits are typically a hike. Ranches often exist in places where most people wouldn't want to live... mostly because they are remote. Livermore is located on the Eastern edge of the Bay Area just under 50 miles southwest of San Francisco. As I am sure you can imagine, in the last few decades land prices in the area have risen precipitously. The city itself is nestled in the Livermore Valley, a valley which runs east/west. Historically the area was critical to railroad infrastructure and agriculture... especially wine grapes with the Livermore AVA being one of the earliest ever created in the State. Darrel's family has been in the Altamont hills for well over a hundred years... if anyone could relate this story, it's him. 
Listen to Phil and Cindy describe a livestock auction and community in Fresno County and what to look for in a cow at a livestock auction.
In this episode we speak with Jim Keegan of Keegan Ranch about the impending wildflower superbloom and his family history ranching in Bear Valley.
Lunny ranch, also known as G Ranch, is part of the Pt Reyes National Seashore, which is located on the Pt Reyes Peninsula and maintained by the National Park Service. In 1962 a congressman from Marin County, Clem Miller proposed legislation for Pt Reyes National Seashore in an effort to stymie development and protect the areas flora and fauna during the Kennedy administration. At that time, cattle ranching had been occurring on the peninsula for over a century and language was included in the bill that would continue to allow cattle ranching to occur.In this episode we speak with rancher Kevin Lunny about ranch history and what it's like operating in such a unique and beautiful environment.
In this episode we speak with Wayne Stahl, an authority on Santa Maria BBQ and member of the Santa Maria Elks for over 50 years. We then speak with Sue Benech, a Santa Barbara rancher and biologist, who also attended the Elks dinner, about Ranching in such a unique environment and the importance of community.
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