Farm Heritage Series: Megan Brown
1 March 2017
Farm heritage is one of the things that keep the Ag industry alive and growing economically. Big Ag is shedding light on farm heritage in a series that will be highlighting generational farms and ranches throughout the country.“It’s something I have always been surrounded by and involved in. It’s just who I am.” -Megan Brown
Ranching and the west go hand in hand. It’s an occupation and yet it’s also a love, a culture, a custom, and it’s how we look at things. For Megan Brown, it’s a family generation fueled by commitment and passion. Megan is a 6th generation commercial, cattle rancher from Northern California. Her family has been ranching in California since the gold rush. The farming side of the Brown family came from Tennessee in the late 1800’s then married into the California ranching family and that’s where they’ve been ever since.
Megan’s first memory on the family ranch was when she was little she always rode with her dad. Walking around the cattle with her dad holding her was a beautiful memory that she has always cherished growing up. Although through the years ranching has taught her that things can rarely go as planned. The benefit is that there is always more than one way to fix a problem. Thankfully ranching has gotten easier because of the technology that’s become rapidly available throughout the Ag industry.
When Megan thinks times are tough she always looks back at all of the stories and photos she’s seen and heard of how ranching used to be. She is then reminded that things have come a long way since the day where ranching was pretty much miserable back breaking work.
Living the life of a rancher, Megan has her hands in every facet on the ranch. A typical day for her is mainly focused on the animals. Megan covers everything from health checks to feeding the hogs and cattle. Depending on the time of year, she could also be farrowing piglets or calving out cows. Every day is an adventure for her that can even include shipping cattle or making hay. It’s something she would never trade for any other job in the world.
The benefits are what matter most to Megan. It’s the freedom that comes with ranching is what Megan loves. She gets to be her own boss although most of the time she considers the animals to be her boss. Her passion in ranching comes from the connection with her family. She’s doing what generations have done before her and she believes their hard work is why she’s here; for her, it’s a remarkable feeling.
Although Megan has great respect in what she does on the ranch, it hasn’t always been easy. Taking over a multi-generational family farm can be terrifying for Megan at times. The pressure she faces of not failing and losing the farm can be daunting. It’s the fact that she’s here and succeeding that boggles her mind. It’s something she has been groomed for since birth. Succeeding is what puts pride in her work.
As the years go by, Megan has noticed modern day changes in ranching. What blows her away is the fact that from a consumer standpoint, she has seen fewer horses and more ATVs being used on ranches. One beneficial change that has helped the ranch tremendously is the use of genetics. It has benefited the ranch to adapt the type and breed of cattle they raise. It is changes like that that help her ranch expand.
Megan’s passion for ranching, luck and sheer will is what has kept the ranch thriving. Looking down the road at what the future holds for Megan her goals include diversifying and possibly expanding the ranch into another state but in the end she is just happy with passing the ranch on to the next generation.