North Dakota Livestock
From Soldier to Rancher
Originally from Washington state, Scott came out to attend the University of North Dakota in 2003 where his initial plan was to become a commercial airline pilot. After only being there about a month, his plans were interrupted by deploying to Iraq as a member of the Army Reserve. Fortunately, it wasn't before he met the love of his life who he would later marry in 2007. While deployed he was overwhelmed with the desire to do more in service to his country than only fly airplanes. He switched his educational focus to Political Science and Chinese Studies while also changing from the Army to the Air Force to have a better family life while making the military a career.
After only a decade in the military, health problems began to cut his military career short. He and his wife, Kristen, then moved back to Washington to begin the next stage of their life together. A couple years later they came back to North Dakota to attend the funeral of Kristen's grandfather. On the flight home to Washington, Scott informed Kristen that he felt God was calling them back to North Dakota where he could help her dad on the farm and live a life that was less about material goods and more about relationships. So after a few months of discussion, that's what they did! Sold the house that they had just bought, left comfortable jobs that they once saw themselves in for years to come, and arrived in a U-haul on July 3, 2014.
Having absolutely no experience with farming or ranching, everything was completely new. The beauty of it was there were no bad habits to break and coming at it with fresh eyes helped not get caught up with "how we've always done it". Kristen's dad was a fourth generation farmer, but he had just enough patience to show this city kid the ropes. Meanwhile Scott fell back on his years worth of education and training in Military Intelligence and Air Battle Management to accelerate his learning curve. Nothing was off the table. He continues to read as much has he can in books and articles, keep up to date with research studies, watch videos, attend seminars and schools, and call people from around the country, and sometimes other countries, to see what works on their ranch and how some of those same principles could be applied to his.
For the first time since the military, Scott found something that brought him a sense of peace and purpose. Today he manages 800 acres of pasture that sweeps through the valley of the James River and it's tributaries as well as working with local farmers to graze surrounding fields to help incorporate the benefits of cattle. This helps extend the grazing season while improving the soil naturally without chemicals. For the most part he is a one man operation, but does get occasional help from part-time employees, generous family, friends and neighbors, and the welcomed supervision of his two young children.
Things remain simple right now, but future goals include programs to help veterans decompress and deal with PTSD, provide working and resume building opportunities for current inmates and recent parolees, and finding ways to help feed those most in need of nutritious food. Scott feels strongly that if he can help change just one life for the better, then it will all be worth it.