Canada is representing this week!
Meet Vanessa Ould, blogger, wife, rancher, and our neighbor to the north.
Vanessa’s story is one I am very excited to share because we have similar backgrounds. Vanessa did not grow up on a ranch, but she did grow up riding and loving horses. This passion quickly grew. Now, Vanessa ropes, rides, and helps her husband, Levi, manage a herd of 500 long horn and corriente mama cows. Their breeding program sounds like this: breed the long horns to black hided beef bulls and breed the corrientes as roping stock.
This program keeps Vanessa and Levi busy. They are in charge of all ranching operations. This includes taking care of the cows and equipment. They also grow and harvest their own feed crop for the cows in the winter months. Since they both have strong horsemanship backgrounds, the couple does the majority of the cow work (doctoring, sorting, moving, etc.) horseback.
Vanessa and Levi could not do this alone. They have an outstanding role model in their life. They both look up to Gary Henderson, the owner of the ranch they manage. I can tell Vanessa has a special place in her heart for Gary and I do not want to paraphrase what she has to say about this wonderful, hard working man.
“He is our current employer and one of a kind. When we both saw this question, he was the first one to come out of both of our mouths. We have been humbled by the way that he not only handles livestock and runs his ranch, but how he lives. He is generous, always up to teach and trusting. He puts people first and takes time to go visit neighbors, or taking moment to teach. It is far too easy to get caught up in being busy when running a ranch and although he is one of the hardest workers we know, he takes time for people and put work aside when needed and that is priceless, especially in this day and age. He is 75 years old and never misses a step. When we grow up, we want to be people who live like he does. That he see’s his ranch as the Lords and holds it with open hands, and from what we see, that makes life a lot more enjoyable, not only for him but those who work with him. He cares and stewards his livestock well, but more so, his employers – he treats like family.”
There is no question Gary had had a profound impact on their life and career. I know the couple is very excited to raise their children on the ranch. Speaking of children, let’s congratulate the couple on their beautiful first born! Jeremiah Levi Ould was born only four days ago! When I asked Vanessa if she had the opportunity to be involved in FFA or 4-H she said that she was not. However, she has plans for her children to grow up involved in youth organizations. She says:
“From those who I know were raised doing 4-H, I really believe in it and what it teaches kids, the opportunities it brings and the light it shines on agriculture at a young age!”
It has come to the point in the blog where I ask my most favorite question: What would you tell a young person wanting to get involved in Ag but wasn’t raised on a farm or ranch?
Because Vanessa grew up in this exact scenario so I was excited to hear her answer. She echos what a lot of the people on the blog have to say. She encourages young people who have an interest in agriculture to dive in and work hard to accomplish their goals and dreams. She also suggests finding a great mentor, similar to Gary, in her experience. Vanessa says:
“We both weren’t raise on a farm or ranch and have been immensely thankful for all those who took the time to teach us by letting us be apart of their operations, but it took us working hard and not afraid of learning curves, trial/error and effort to learn! “
Vanessa and her husband don’t have a ton of free time but they do like to hitch up and work their team. They have a Percheron and Belgian X Percheron. They also like to practice their roping and horseman skills. The couple hosted a ranch roping last year and they hope to turn this into an annual event. They occasionally go hiking up in the mountains as well. Vanessa summed it up pretty well when she said that they like do anything that involves horses or fresh air!
I will leave you with one more quote from Vanessa that explains why she does what she does.
“We care about what we do and know how vital farmers are to our world and are proud to be apart of that. “