The day my son told me that he wanted to come back to the ranch after college was both thrilling and frightening. He would be the 7th generation to ranch in Northern California dating back to his great, great, great, great grandfather Dennis Wood who drove his cattle from Nevada City to Susanville, California in 1860. Preserving that legacy was my dream, but the beef industry is not for the faint of heart.
I have been raising grassfed beef my whole life. There was no difference to the large meat packing companies, nor to the vast majority of the beef eating public between conventionally raised beef or as my family had been doing it for over 150 years. For my son and my daughter to be successful, there needed to be a market for what we do; there needed to be a market for 100% grass fed and grass finished beef.
When I first started Western Grassfed Beef 13 years ago, I recognized the need for other like-minded ranchers and partners. We all needed to be committed to raising beef the way we had for generations, and to seek out those customers who were looking for an alternative to commodity beef. We knew the price would be higher, the taste would be different, and we would need to be committed for the long term. Along with three other ranchers, we sold our beef to restaurants and small stores in San Francisco. Today we work with 50 ranchers throughout the West Coast, Rocky Mountain Region and Midwest.
Now my son and daughter run the ranch with me. They also run their own herds that are part of the Western Grassfed Beef ranching network. Both my son and daughter are raising their families the way I raised them: to love ranching.