Story of Dorothy Stover Hall inspires this ranching mom

Every woman in agriculture has a unique story, and Hall’s story reminds me that if you have a little grit and a won’t-quit attitude, anything is possible.
There is a popular saying in the Marine Corps: Pain is weakness leaving the body. — jtl, 419


by Amanda Radke via Beef Magazine


Last week was one of those times where you have a lot of balls in the air and looking back you wonder how you juggled them all without dropping one.

Okay, maybe I dropped a few — the house didn’t get cleaned and the dishes piled up — but we managed to keep the kids, the cattle and our jobs intact, so we’re calling it a win.

READ: 9 tips ranchers can do to ward off stress

It was a week with our oldest getting sick and needing to be picked up from preschool. Our middle, thankfully, was at daycare and didn’t catch the sick bug from his sister (not yet anyway). Our youngest was teething and up all night, and Tyler and I were running on little sleep.

Add in the usual blog deadlines, ongoing projects, bills to pay and other responsibilities, and we were starting to get overwhelmed. Throw in a few doctors’ visits, and our usual schedule and routine was thrown out the window!

Combine that with selling calves at the sale barn, helping with the fencing project we have going on at the ranch, hauling water to the cattle grazing corn stalks near said pasture receiving the new fence, preparing for a road trip for a speaking engagement I have later this week and showing our private treaty sale heifers to perspective clients. Needless to say, it became a crazy week in a hurry.

As a ranching mom, I can’t say weeks like that aren’t typical for us. I can totally relate to the “harvest widows” who are single moms during the planting and harvest seasons.

READ: Documentary to highlight women in agriculture

However, in the cattle business — with Tyler and I both maintaining off-farm jobs — the demands of our livestock that need to be squeezed into evenings and weekends make it feel like we are always moving 110 miles per hour with no downtime in sight!

Not that I’m complaining. I think life would get boring otherwise. Our kids are learning by watching their parents work hard, manage their time wisely and hustle toward a shared goal. There isn’t much time for lolly-gagging or socializing.

In this season of life, we are just keeping our noses to the ground, putting in long hours and trying to carve out our place in life. It’s fulfilling work, and for that, I’m happy.

Yet, I have moments where I think life could be easier if we had chosen a different path. It’s in those moments where I look back on the ranch women who came before me.

They didn’t balk at the long hours or tedious work. They managed to juggle kids, cattle and farming with grace. They didn’t ask for special treatment or honorable recognition. They just did the work at hand, and the fruits of their labor were evident after years of discipline and effort.

A perfect example of a heroine in agriculture is Dorothy Stover Hall, a California cattle rancher who purchased a 130-acre cattle ranch at age 26 and raised twin daughters on the range by herself during the Great Depression.

READ: 5 reasons why women are agriculture’s best resource

I recently read Hall’s story in an article titled, “Lone cattlewoman was successful, respected,” which was printed in the Chico, Calif., Enterprise-Record.

Written by Laura Urseny, the article introduces Hall and shares news about a documentary featuring this incredible woman. Titled, “Solitary Strength,” the documentary was released in 2016.

Urseny writes, “She was a contradiction. She was so smart — with a college degree. She wanted to be a physical education instructor. No one would hire her during the Depression. So she wound up working for Butte County Probation Department in Chico. It was her paycheck from the county that bought the Rock Creek Ranch in 1936.

“Hall’s herd of beef cattle grew to about 150-strong, and with help, she herded the cows from Chico to Chester, for summer pasture, a seven-day horseback ride up rocky gulches and treacherous slopes. She was remembered for her gentle handling of the cattle, no rousting or shouting to get the herd moving, but just quiet, calm directions.”

Read the entire article by clicking here.

“Solitary Strength” depicts Hall as an authentic working woman with a spirited determination. A historical documentary, the film shares stories of the American West and women’s history.

Watch the trailer by clicking here.

To view the documentary, you can purchase it by clicking here.

Every woman in agriculture has a unique story, and Hall’s story reminds me that if you have a little grit and a won’t-quit attitude, anything is possible.

This life may not always be easy, but it’s a worthwhile life, one that I’m proud to share with my husband and our three children. May they inherit the hard work ethic and appreciation for the land and the livestock that was instilled in us from a young age, and may they put those skills to use, no matter where life may take them.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume II (The Economics of Liberty)The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty will introduce the reader to the fundamental principles of the Austrian School of Economics. The Austrian School traces its origins back to the Scholastics of Medieval Spain. But its lineage actually began with Carl Menger and continued on through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and many others. It is the one and only true private property based, free market line of economic thought. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.

You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic. 

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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1 Response to Story of Dorothy Stover Hall inspires this ranching mom

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:

    There is a popular saying in the Marine Corps: Pain is weakness leaving the body. — jtl, 419


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