Redmons start from scratch in Lyman
Lyman – When Tim and Katy Redmon decided to move back to Wyoming after owning a fishing business in Alaska for a number of years, they both knew it wasn’t going to be an easy adventure to start a cattle operation.
“Nothing that we have today came from a family operation. We are on our own investing to build a cattle business,” says Katy. “It was hard to get started with a ranch on our own.”
Despite the challenges in place, Tim and Katy love the ranching lifestyle and continue to develop their operation in southwest Wyoming.
Neither Katy nor Tim lacks ranching history.
“I grew up on my Grandpa’s ranch in the Milburn area,” says Katy. “My dad bought a ranch of his own when I was older.”
She showed pigs and steers at both the county and state fairs and participated in meats and livestock judging in her youth.
“Tim’s dad also did a lot of ranching when he was younger,” she continues, noting that Tim’s family sold most of their land, moving to Alaska to start a fishing business.
Tim grew up as a fisherman, and Katy says, “After we got married, we bought the fishing business in Alaska and ran it for a few years while we were going to college.”
However, they soon made a big decision to move back home to Wyoming.
“We decided we wanted to be cowboys more than fisherman, and we loved Wyoming,” she continues. “We moved back and started small, just leasing the 100 acres from Tim’s dad and running 40 cows.”
Since moving back, the Redmons have steadily increased their cowherd, acquired more land and purchased equipment.
“It has been very difficult to grow our ranch,” says Katy. “Rather than many traditional ranchers who had the ranch handed down through the family, we had nothing.”
She notes, however, that they did have some capital to start their business after selling the Alaska fishing business.
“We did have some money to invest, and that was helpful in getting started,” Katy comments, “but things have still been challenging.”
Today, they run 125 of their own cows, managing over 200 head in total.
“We lease a few yearlings and a few heifers to fill our pastures,” Katy adds. “Every year is a growth process. Every year, we add something new and continue to grow.”
The Redmons lease farm ground to diversify, expand their operation and acquiredequipment to farm.
“Last year, we leased some farm ground with a center pivot,” Katy comments. “We grew oats last year, and this year, we added some alfalfa.”
The farming operation provides feed to supplement their cattle and is also sold for extra income.
“Last year, we bought a swather, and this year we bought a baler,” she adds. “We have focused on this ranch from a business perspective. We are at a point that it makes financial sense to buy our own equipment, rather than contracting the work or leasing equipment.”
“We’ve done a lot this year,” Katy says, noting that everything they do is with the objective of moving toward a larger, full-time operation.
Time and money
As with many ranches, Katy says time management is a challenge.
“Tim also has a job at the mines, so we have to be very intentional with our time as we split it between his job, the ranch and our family,” she explains. “For me, time management is a huge issue because Tim is basically working two full-time jobs.”
In addition to being on the ranch, Katy raises their four children – Isabel, 7, Kahl, 5, Ian, 3, and Claire, 1.
“While raising a baby, there isn’t a lot I can do, but I like to be involved,” she says.
With hopes of becoming a full-time ranching operation that can support the family, Katy says they invest any money left at the end of the year back into the ranch.
“We put leftover money back into the ranch and back into the cows,” she says. “We want to get things paid off as quickly as possible.”
With plenty of challenges to tackle each day, Katy notes that all their hard work will pan out in the end.
“There is no other way I’d rather raise my kids,” she says. “I want them to have the wide open spaces at their front door.”
“Ranching keeps us grounded and close to God,” Katy comments. “There is no greater reward than to work outside with our hands and with the animals.”
Katy also tells other young ranchers getting started in agriculture to keep fighting for the lifestyle they love.
“It is going to be hard,” she says, “but when I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the benefits are there. It’s worth it.”
Tim adds, “My best advice for others is to make sure to build off what others have already done and ask lots of questions. Try to have a learning attitude and when possible, help your neighbors out to get more experience.”
“It has been a struggle, but we knew it would be difficult, and we knew it would take time to develop a full-time ranch,” Katy comments. “There is no other way I’d like to live.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On top of running a ranch, Tim and Katy Redmon are part of Uinta County Conservation District’s Adopt-a-Rancher program.
“We got involved in the Adopt-a-Rancher program when a friend asked us if we would participate,” explains Katy.
With previous experience with Wyoming Ag in the Classroom and 4-H, Katy naturally fell into a teaching role for young students in the area.
“It is so important to teach these kids about ag because a lot of them don’t know that food doesn’t come from a grocery store,” she explains. “I was surprised just how little these students had been exposed to agriculture.”
Through the program, Katy corresponds with students by writing letters throughout the school year. The year culminated with a fieldtrip to the ranch where students had the chance to interact with agriculture in a hands-on forum.
“I like teaching kids about agriculture,” Katy comments.