Hearst Castle, Ranch, Auctioneer, Buffalo Ranching – Americas Heartland
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Hearst Castle, Ranch, Auctioneer, Buffalo Ranching – Americas Heartland

October 25, 2019


Hi, I’m Jason Shoultz. Just ahead on
America’s Heartland. Hope you’re ready to spend a little time
on the open range. We’re going to take
you cross country to round up some very
special ranching stories. We’ll saddle up to bring in
the cattle on the historic California ranch of
William Randolph Hearst. We’ll introduce you to
an Alabama woman rancher who’s working to
improve the environment. You’ll meet a
fast talking young man as he vies to grab the title as the “world champion
cattle auctioneer.” And we’ll visit an
Arkansas ranch raising big, big buffalo. It’s all coming up on
America’s Heartland. ♪♪>>America’s Heartland
is made possible by…>>CropLife America-
Representing the companies whose modern
farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe. The Fund for
Agriculture Education- A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following… ♪You can see it in the eyes
Of every woman and man♪ ♪In America’s Heartland
living close to the land♪ ♪There’s a love for the country
And a pride in the brand♪ ♪In America’s Heartland♪ ♪Living close
Close to the land♪ ♪♪>>What most urban residents
know about ranching comes from television or movies
like “City Slickers.” Or perhaps you’re one
of those vacationers who’s spent some time
on a dude ranch, climbing into the saddle to get those little dogies
moving right along. But ranching is a
critical component of American agricultural
production. As economies have
improved around the world, we’ve seen an increase in
the demand for American beef. But American ranchers
face some real challenges along with those
opportunities. Beef production in
the United States is largely a cyclical process. Good years can
produce an abundance of food production animals,
which drives down prices. Production then slows and it takes time to reach
profitable levels again. And just as it
does for farmers, weather can play a
significant role. Drought in many states
has forced ranchers to buy feed when
grasses don’t grow. In other states,
extreme winter weather can take a heavy toll
on cattle numbers. All of this affects
the prices we pay. Beef production is a
process that demands that ranchers plan far
ahead to stay successful. In some cases, it’s raising
specialized cattle or tailoring your production
for certain markets. We’re set to take you along to a variety of
ranches this time. And let’s start
with Rob Stewart and a very famous
ranch in California. ♪♪>>If the spectacular scenery
weren’t enough to set this cattle ranch apart,
certainly its history would. These sustainable
grasslands along the stunning California
Coast have been home to the Hearst family ranch
for some 150 years. It all began in 1865
when George Hearst, a rancher and future
California Senator, bought 48,000 acres of an old Mexican land grant
called Piedra Blanca Rancho. George Hearst would later
become better known as the father of media mogul
William Randolph Hearst. His land became
the foundation of one of the nation’s
largest suppliers of free range,
grass fed beef.>>Hey Rob,
how are you doing?>>Nice to see you.>>Pleasure
to meet you.>>Thank you so much
for doing this.>>Not a problem.>>Steve Hearst,
William Randolph Hearst’s great-grandson heads
up the ranch today, an operation owned by the
global Hearst Corporation. It covers a sprawling
128 square miles.>>There is so much
land here, 82,000 acres?>>Mmhmm.>>And how much of it
is actually used… for cattle grazing?>>Well, you can graze
about half of the acreage.>>These coastal acres provide
the food source for the ranch’s grass fed cattle. A thousand head of
mother cows graze on these sustainable
grasslands.>>We’ve often said that,
y’know, we let cows be cows, and we give ’em a lot
of land to do it.>>Over here we
have the ocean, and over here we have such
beautiful hills and scenery. Do you ever come
up here by yourself?>>I have been here by
myself a number of times, never been bored. Grab an ice chest
and take a drive.>>But travel inland just a
few miles and you’ll find more of the Hearst
farming operation. Jack Ranch in Paso Robles was
added to the ranch in 1965. The acres here have
greater access to water, a critical element during
California’s drought years. These flatter grasslands
are also irrigated and the cattle moved
from pasture to pasture to enhance the
sustainability of the land. But just as they’ve
done for decades, Hearst ranch hands use horses
and dogs to tend to the herds Ben Higgins directs
agriculture operations.>>Grass fed production is by its very nature
is more difficult. It takes longer to
raise those animals, to get them to that
finished weight, and it costs more ultimately
for us to produce. And especially in a
drought situation, it’s exceptionally difficult.>>Back at the ranch’s
original acres, almost a million tourists
drive through these hills each year to get to
Hearst Castle. The spectacular
estate was built by William Randolph Hearst
in the early 20th century. It was Hearst’s
country estate where the Hollywood elite
came to mix and mingle.>>WR Loved the ranch and
he said to his mother, “I’d rather spend a month here
than anywhere in the world.”>>In 1957, the family
gave the hilltop estate to the State of California. The ranch itself is
closed to the public, but lofty vantage
points from the castle give visitors a chance to
overlook the sprawling acres of the California grasslands.>>As many guests
as I’ve ever seen walk into that building, while they’re astounded
by the architecture, and the fixtures, and the
furniture and the antiquities they walk right
through the room, right to a window and
look at the view and say “You’ve got to
be kidding me.” Because out of every window, the view was
specifically planned.>>As you might expect, when William Randolph
Hearst died in 1951, there were questions
about what would happen to the Hearst Castle and land. I think it’s so important to tell your story of
conservation because as- as poignant and special
as this land is to you, you gave a lot of it away.>>Well, we gave
a lot of it away; we also gave away rights that
existed with the property.>>In 2005,
Steve Hearst negotiated what became the largest California conservation
easement project of its time, transferring ownership
to the state, yet ensuring that
this land will always remain in the Hearst Family
for agriculture. The agreement limits
development of these historic hills and
beautiful beaches.>>We enlisted The
American Land Conservancy; The California Range
Land Trust was always the organization we saw
that was gonna oversee the entire easement
in perpetuity… So we had to fund the
endowment to have them come and review our practices
twice a year for ever.>>Those new directions also
provided new opportunities. They launched the Hearst
Ranch Winery near their Jack Ranch and tapped
into new markets for their grass fed beef. That included a partnership
with Whole Food Stores in Southern California. So when you think about
all of your family members and ancestors that have
gone before you here… I want to take it back
to the very beginning, what would Senator Hearst think about what
you’re doing today.>>I think that George
and Phebe and WR would come here today and see it very much as they
saw it when they were here. Very little has changed. I think they would very
much approve of what we’re doing here today and I
think they’d be proud of it.>>So now let’s go forward…>>Okay.>>When they’re talking about
you this way… [laughing]>>Well y’know, there
was a sense that I had during the conservation
negotiations of a photo of me
when they said, “So that’s the guy
that sold the ranch.” And someone said, “No, that’s
the guy that saved the ranch” ♪♪>>There were once
more than cattle roaming the grounds of
the Hearst Ranch. In 1923, William
Randolph Hearst created a private
zoo on the land with elk, buffalo, sheep,
zebras, and goats. He closed the zoo in 1937 when he ran into some
financial difficulties. ♪♪>>Working a ranch these days
demands an understanding of crop conditions,
livestock prices, weather challenges and
just good management. It also demands a commitment
to practices delivering long-term benefits to
consumers and conservation. Our Kristin Simoes says,
for one Alabama woman, it’s those challenges
and opportunities that keep her excited about
working the land. ♪♪>>Go on cattle, go on…>>Anyone who knows
Annie Dee will tell you- there’s nothing this
farm woman can’t do.>>She’s a go getter. And you know, she’ll out
work most men I know.>>Annie oversees operations
at the Dee River Ranch. Spread across some
ten thousand acres, the ranch sits near the
Alabama-Mississippi border. The ranch is made up of a
half dozen family members including Annie’s
brother, Mike, and her sons Seth and Jesse. But there’s no mistaking who
is in the driver’s seat here.>>She is, she is. She calls all the shots,
and we just follow .>>Well she does it all. There’s not one thing
around here she can’t do. She really loves to
run the combine. Her passion is ridin’ horses and workin’ cows and
she does that a lot.>>Come on back Willie, you
got one out there- whoop!>>Annie began her
farming career after graduating from college, working on her
family’s farm in Florida. In 1989, they sold
that property and moved Dee River Ranch to
its current home in Alabama.>>Well here we have
a cattle operation and a row crop operation. And this morning we
were working cattle, we were separating the
cows from the calves, weanin’ the herd. And this afternoon I’m
gonna be combining corn.>>Working the land with
horses and farm equipment, the family and
ranch hands will tend a thousand head of cattle and
rotate a half dozen crops. The ranch also focuses on
keeping the land productive by making environmental
improvements.>>It’s what’s feeding us
and it’s what going to feed future generations and if
we don’t maintain this land that’s growing our crops
it’s not going to be- they’re not going to be able
to raise crops in the future and there’s going to be
a lot of hungry people.>>Annie and her family have
placed some of their land in conservation
reserve programs. They’ve replanted
native trees and grasses and, in an effort to
conserve water, established reservoirs to
collect winter rains for summer’s dry months.>>We built a reservoir
where I can catch wintertime run off and I can pump
out of a storm creek. Store that water that is
everywhere in the wintertime, utilize it during
the growing season.>>Hoping to educate
the public about the work being done by farmers,
Dee River has partnered with school districts
and universities, bringing students out
to the farm to talk about farming techniques,
consumer issues, and agricultural technology.>>One of our keys is
utilizing every acre to its best potential. We’ve got to do that because
you know, our input costs are rising just
drastically every year. So in order to combat that I’ve got to produce
more off every acre. And not just this year,
I got to be thinking’ about ten years down the road.>>That long-term view
touches every aspect of this ranching operation:
protecting the land, meeting consumer demands and
providing the opportunity to continue a family
farming tradition.>>We just have great faith. And we just know
year after year we’re gonna go do it again
when springtime comes, we plant those seeds
and we go again. We just don’t ever give up. ♪♪>>Cows came to America with the first
settlers from Europe. The bovine arrivals
included those in Jamestown, Virginia
in the early 1600s. And history books point
to domesticated cattle as far back as
five thousand years ago. By the way,
there are more than 900 different breeds
of cattle in the world. [cows mooing]>>Ranchers depend on a
specialized system to get their cattle
from range to market. All across the country,
ranchers look to cattle auctioneers to make that
connection with buyers. Working the crowd,
they set the stage for showing and
selling the beef. Speed, style and
skill are critical to get the best price. Those abilities are also
critical for auctioneers showing their stuff at the world championship cattle
auctioneering contest. [auctioneers talking quickly]>>Welcome to the
World Livestock Auctioneer Championship. [auctioneers talking quickly] Where speed…
[auctioneers talking quickly] Skill…
[auctioneers talking quickly] And style are
on full display. And for cattle auctioneers,
this event…>>It’s absolutely
the Super Bowl. [auctioneer talking quickly]>>This is my fourth
time in the contest.>>Oklahoman Bailey Ballou
is one of ten finalists, whittled down from a pool of the best 33 auctioneers
in the country.>>Once I got past
the nerves, y’know, got into the finals
I felt a lot better. And so I think they
really got to see who I am and
how I sell today.>>They aren’t just
the people who are sitting in the stands
of this sale barn. Bailey is trying to
impress the judges who decide who
brings home top honors.>>Voice quality, how they
perceive and sell the cattle and true price discovery
for the market and for the producers
they’re working for.>>[auctioneer talking]
82 on 55, 82 on 55.>>Auctions have been
around as long as people have been raising livestock
in the United States. Farmers and ranchers bring
their cattle to a regional sale barn where they look to
get top dollar from buyers. And at the center of it
all, is the auctioneer.>>And that auctioneer
being able to drive to the very top dollar, that’s crucial to
our industry and what these producers get
for ’em in my mind. That’s the money they
get to spend for the year. And the only person
that determines that is that auctioneer and those
buyers sittin’ those seats. So it is very vital part of all these
people’s livelihoods.>>So if the bids for
these beauties are looking a little low…
time to turn it up a notch. [auctioneers talking quickly]>>While there are
quite a few veterans of the sale barn here,
a fresh face is also making his debut on
the national stage… [auctioneer talking quickly] …And he’s turning heads. It’s the first year
18-year-old Blaine Lotz is eligible to compete and
he’s made it to the finals. To find out why this
teenager turned up with such talking and timing talent you have to go to
his home state… And the sale barn here
in tiny Fredonia, Kansas. Where every Tuesday at noon
Blaine is running the show! [Blaine auctioneering]>>And in the crowd one woman keeps a closer eye on him
than most of the bidders! Outside the sale barn… [Carla auctioneering]>>Meet Blaine’s
mother Carla. [Carla auctioneering] [Blaine auctioneering] [Blaine and Carla
auctioneering together]>>My dad was an auctioneer. I went to auctioneer school
in Davenport, Iowa and when I came out I instantly
went to sellin’ hogs at Springfield Stockyards. The last time I sold
full-time was the day I went into labor with Blain. I was going to leave the sale
barn and take off a week, I left the sale barn and an
hour later my water broke and I was in labor with him, and his lullaby was
the auction chant. Y’know, he’s been blessed
with this really good voice. He’s very clear but
it’s the spirit, I mean he’s getting it anyways
and he loves what he does. So that what, I love watching
him love what he’s doing. I mean how lucky can you be? [Blaine auctioneering]>>He’s the best. [laughs]>>Taught me
everything I know.>>He’s the best.>>Better than you?>>Yes, yes he’s much
better than I am.>>Alright so teach me
a little bit here.>>So dollar bill
now one.>>Dollar bill
now one.>>Go two.>>Go two.>>Give three.>>Give three.>>How about four.>>How about four.>>Bid five.>>Bid five.>>Six here.>>Six here.>>Now seven.>>Now seven.>>Bid eight.>>Bid eight.>>Give nine.>>Give nine.>>Ten.>>Ten.>>Eleven.>>Eleven.>>Twelve.>>Twelve.>>[speaking quickly] How
’bout an even thirteen.>>How ’bout… [laughs] [auctioneers talking quickly]>>Back in
Turlock, California, Blaine’s competition is tough. And in the finals
he takes seventh place.>>I’ve watched this
competition a lot and I’m competing against the
guys I’ve been watching for years in this contest. And it’s just great to
be back in the top ten.>>And the winner?
Bailey Ballou.>>I don’t want to brag
on myself in any way. Because you look at
these other guys and I respect them and
I love the way they work. [auctioneers selling items]>>Sold to you, sir! ♪♪>>Auctioneering has
a long history. The word itself comes
from a Latin phrase meaning to
increase or augment. Stockholm, Sweden boasts the oldest auction house
in the world. It opened in 1674. And one note on
cattle auctions: a single dairy
cow named “Mist” sold for 1.3 million
dollars at auction in 1985. “Mist” was the matriarch of a long line of
star milk producers. ♪♪>>We’ve shared some stories
about cattle ranching. But there are other
kinds of ranches as well. Sheep, naturally,
come to mind. But did you know that
a growing number of American ranchers
also raise buffalo? Our Rob Stewart takes us to
Arkansas where his buffalo encounter is a one of a
kind ranching experience. ♪♪>>These hills in
Marshall, Arkansas are home to Ratchford Farms, a sprawling 500 acre oasis
of rolling grassland. And if you take
a short drive though these green pastures… you’ll find them
blanketed with buffalo. Now, we’ll be the
first to say that an up-close encounter with
the largest land animal in North America is not
something to try in the wild. But ranch owner
L.C. Ratchford felt confident that
these animals, his “breeding” herd,
could be approached safely. Right through the gate,
the buffalo come running! Look at that!
How fast can they run?>>They can out-run a horse. They can go 35 to
40 miles an hour. ♪♪>>Oh my gosh!>>This is a 3000 pound male.>>This guy can go from a tamed docile animal
like you see here, to a wild animal with
all the wild instincts of self-preservation
within a heartbeat.>>Okay, well let’s
keep it happy with food. Hmm, there is a
massive presence coming from these animals- you can
just feel their weight.>>Oh you can;
they’re very majestic. We as Europeans,
as Americans, almost made them
become extinct. And to me, that would
have been such a waste.>>Hi there. Look at
those horns, my goodness. Well they have good
breath. [laughing]>>Oh yes.>>I’m not kidding.
[laughing] The American buffalo,
or bison, was nearly hunted to
extinction in the 1800s. With some herds
ultimately protected in national parks,
their numbers grew. In the past 20 years,
ranchers have initiated new herds or expanded
their existing stock, benefitting from a growing
consumer demand for low fat, grass fed and
sustainable meat.>>When I was
just a youngster I watched a show on PBS,
it showed the buffalo. I knew that there
was a connection, I knew I had to
raise ’em some day. ♪♪>>Buffalo can live
from 20 to 25 years. Each year, about half of
these animals will reproduce. Once fully grown, they will
be processed for their meat, and L.C.’s is some of the
most popular in this area.>>So it went from one store,
almost 12 years ago, to we’ve got well
over 700 stores that sell our snack sticks,
our jerky, summer sausage, as well as some burgers,
some steaks. Just got a call earlier
today, a big place in Texas, and another one in Tennessee that want to start
carrying our stuff.>>Look at that
view over there.>>Oh it is spectacular!>>Ranching has deep roots
here at Ratchford Farms. L.C.’s great-grandfather
raised cattle and descendants of those original
cows still graze this land.>>I see your cows
are following us.>>Oh yes, that’s- we
use very passive means in dealing with our cattle, no different than
dealing with the buffalo.>>L.C still raises
about 100 cows, but adding buffalo
to his farm changed his life forever.>>I think that they
embody the United States. I think that they embody what
we stand for as a country. They’re very majestic, they’re hearty,
and they’re survivors.>>L.C has one more place
he wants you to see; he says it is his
favorite view on earth, the bottom of the valley where his parents once
plowed this land with mules…>>The ability to come out
here, to enjoy these things. I consider myself very rich-
not necessarily monetarily, but in just the way of life. Some people I think
have a certain illusion that wealth is money, power. To me it’s just
my 500 acres, my heard of buffalo, my family, and to be
living here in Arkansas. And I wouldn’t
trade it for anything. ♪♪>>Some big,
big animals there. Well we’re out of time,
but before we go, just a reminder to visit our
America’s Heartland website. You’ll find us at
AmericasHeartland.org We’ve got video from all of
our shows and a lot more. And be sure to connect
with us on Facebook, Twitter and other
social media sites. Thanks for being with us. We’ll see you next time right
here on America’s Heartland.>>You can purchase a DVD or
Blu Ray copy of this program. Here’s the cost: To order, just visit us
online or call 888-814-3923 ♪♪ ♪You can see it in the eyes
of every woman and man♪ ♪In America’s Heartland
living close to the land♪ ♪There’s a love for the country
and a pride in the brand♪ ♪In America’s Heartland♪ ♪Living close
Close to the land♪>>America’s Heartland
is made possible by…>>CropLife America-
Representing the companies whose modern
farming innovations help America’s farmers
provide nutritious food for communities
around the globe. The Fund for
Agriculture Education- A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following:

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  1. I didn't see a single "buffalo" in this video. I saw the North American "bison." There are huge differences between the buffalo and the bison, one being that buffalo are not native to North America. I know a lot of people call bison "buffalo," which means a lot of people are calling this animal the wrong thing. When thinking of a buffalo, think the water buffaloes of Asia and Africa. When thinking of bison think of the animal that dominated the North America great plains region, which is mostly dry land.

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