More Than a Century of Ranching

Meet the McClaran family, these long-time cooperative members have years of experience running cattle in northeastern Oregon - over 100 years' experience to be exact. 

Joe and Loreen McClaran relocated from Idaho to Wallowa Country in 1919 and started the family ranching legacy. Today, sisters Jill, Beth and Maggie run 1,000 mother cows on private and public land in the depths of Hells Canyon to the high country in the Wallowa's.

While time has changed, the ranching lifestyle that their grandparents founded hasn’t; over a century later the ranch houses in the canyons remain untouched by modern electricity, television, or internet. The lights, stove, and refrigerators all run-on propane. Plus, the sisters were homeschooled part of the year just like their grandfather and great uncle.

“From Christmas break to spring break we were homeschooled in the canyon. We went to Joseph School the rest of the time,” Jill McClaran said.

The sisters grew up wanting to work and enjoyed being in the saddle as young as 3 and 4 years old. Feeling an obligation to help with the animals, even at that young of an age was just a part of who they are.

Today, the division of duties is somewhat defined between managing relationships with summer and private ground leases and overseeing grazing in the canyons from November to May. Their parents Vicki and Scott also work alongside their daughters to care for the operation. Vicky handles the bookkeeping and Scott takes care of the worrying.

As far as their long-time commitment to our cooperative, they are what we call second generation. Joining in 1993 as part of the second wave of ranchers to become part of the cooperative with our founding members. The ability to network with a group of progressive ranchers is as one of the main reasons the family has stayed with our cooperative for so long.

“There are a lot of progressive thinkers,” Jill said. “The program has evolved as the market has evolved.”

 

To learn more about the McClaran's and their family history, see the original article in the Capital Press here - https://www.capitalpress.com/specialsections/mcclaran-family-more-than-a-century-of-ranching-in-oregon

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