Assistant Livestock Manager
RFC Host Farm: Deck Family Farm
RFC CHAPTER: South Willamette
Jess currently work at Paicines Ranch located just outside of Hollister, California. The ranch consists of 7000 acres of rangeland, 550 acres of cropland and 25 acres of vineyard, all managed using Allan Savory's holistic management framework. Jess is involved in everything from collecting data on forage and soil health to planning and installing infrastructure, but her primary responsibility is managing the ranch's flock of Katahdin sheep. After her internship at Deck Family Farm in 2015, she accepted a position at a milk processing plant close to where she grew up in Ohio. It ended up being a desk job and confirmed her suspicion that she’s happiest out in the fields with the plants and the animals. She moved back to Oregon and worked odd jobs at a plant nursery, vineyard tasting room and in a permaculture garden while partnering with a neighboring vegetable farmer to raise 200 broiler chickens of my own. Doing this she realized that she wanted to do more with agriculture than work on a small scale as a business. She wanted to work on regenerating larger tracts of more vulnerable and brittle land than in the Willamette Valley. She started searching for ranches and eventually found work at Paicines Ranch. Reflecting on her time in the Rogue program she writes,
“Through RFC I realized that being a farmer isn't just a job, it's a way of life. I learned to do work worthy of taking pride in, as well as commitment and persistence during my time at Deck Family Farm. And it's not just the work, there's a community of knowledge and support that I gained through RFC. Being able to spend time with other interns working on other farms was invaluable.”
Her goals now are to consciously learn and observe something new each day. It's also her goal to be able to support herself financially from her work as a rancher, to communicate the beauty and value of this kind of work to those not actively on the land everyday, and to help create a product that nourishes bodies, souls and communities.