Off-Farm Income

Kirsten Wood grew up on her families cattle ranch in Weldona, Colorado.  As she described the ranch to me, she talked about a lot of different niches that her family has explored to diversify their operation and keep it sustainable for a future in ranching.  These new ways of doing business include selling boxed beef to folks living in the urban areas along the Rocky Mountain front from Denver up through Boulder and beyond in Central Colorado.  It also includes partnering with some other companies to sell spices, sea salt and other products that compliment the beef that they sell.

The operation involves raising cattle on pasture, finishing cattle in a feed lot and growing the crops needed to feed those cattle.  And, in the scope of the operation some calves become orphans for one reason or another.  Either their dam dies or possibly rejects the calf, and the calf then needs special care to survive.

This is where Kirsten found her niche, within her families niche ranch.  Kirsten started purchasing these orphan calves from her families ranch and bottle feeding them.  She would raise them on a bottle and introduce them to feed as they grew.  Then, when they were ready to be weaned she would transition them to the feedlot, and pay her family for the space and feed that was required to keep them.  Ultimately they were finished and sold, and this was Kirsten's business.

In addition to this Kirsten has a love of horses that was developed by growing up around them on the working ranch.  Throughout her FFA career she has been raising and showing horses, and this led her to a proficiency award in equine science.

All of this has inspired her to pursue a future in agricultural business.  When we conducted this interview she had just graduated with an associates degree in Ag Business, and she was just preparing to start her final two years of college at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas.  Kirsten hopes to come home to the ranch one day, but she has been told to go out and make it on her own first.  Right now she is looking into an agriculture finance career with the hopes of coming back to the lifestyle that she loves in the future.

Direct download: Off_Farm_Income--Episode_1139_Kristen_Wood-071521.mp3
Category:FFA -- posted at: 12:30am MDT