The Defrees Ranch
Sumpter Valley, Oregon
The Defrees Ranch is a Certified Century Ranch purchased in 1908 by Jacob J. Defrees and wife Mary Jennette Wisler Defrees. Today, the family’s third, fourth, and fifth generations operate the ranch and call it home. About 470 acres of Defrees Ranch property has been in the family continuously for over 100 years. The remainder has been in the family for over 50 years.
They breed their livestock to truly thrive on the ranch environment. The Defrees take pride in closely monitoring their health, feed quality and quantity, thermal environment, clean water supply, handling techniques, and freedom from stresses. They work diligently to maintain a healthy and sustainable surrounding forest, monitor and maintain soil and water quality, and minimize risks of forest fires, tree diseases, and noxious weeds. Aside from being able to continue their sustainable practices, they hope to keep the ranch and land in the family for generations.
The Warnock Ranches
The Warnock family first showed up in Oregon in 1879, having come in a wagon train from Abilene, Kansas with a few horses and very little money. Nancy, the tough mother of nine, having lost her husband in the historic Chapman Creek flood, was persuaded by her six sons to come to Wallowa County and begin ranching. With that, the family traditions of hard work, resilience, and adaptability were established.
In the last 68 years, generations of Warnock’s have grown the operation to include land in central Oregon, a larger Sumpter ranch and more numbers of livestock supporting the extended families. They are now Warnock Ranches! They hope to continue to grow their family business to provide good beef for increasing numbers of folk, long into the future. The Warnock’s’ are also one of our cooperative’s founding families.
Little Shasta Ranch
Little Shasta Ranch has deep roots in Siskiyou County where Stan Sears has been a rancher for over 50 years. Stan can clearly recount his family’s history there from his great-great grandmother’s birth in Yreka in 1862.
Over the years, Stan has made innovative changes that improved the efficiency of ranch operations, making it better for his animals. He takes advantage of lower elevation pastures in the winter that generally produces sufficient feed for his herd, and supplements with his own hay that he puts up in the summer months. This worked to his advantage, especially during the on-going California drought that left resources scarce.
Stan joined Country Natural Beef in 2004. He is proud to be a member of a group with a high level of animal husbandry practices, and great animal-health program where animals produce higher than average genetics.