Califonia Bountiful

It's a bountiful life: Day jobs support ranch dreams

Apr./May 2012 California Bountiful magazine

He's a cop, she's into finance. They're cattle ranchers, too.

After work, Jordan and Karen Whaley visit a pasture in Woodlake to feed their cows.

Off-farm jobs supply the primary income for young farmers Jordan and Karen Whaley, a Tulare County couple who hope to expand their cattle business and purchase a ranch of their own.

Why start a cattle ranch?
Jordan: It's a lifestyle that we're shooting for. We were both fortunate enough to be raised in agriculture—Karen on a dairy farm and me in an agricultural family. One day we'd like to find a nice spot that we can put a house on and raise a family.

Describe the careers that are helping you achieve a ranch of your own.
Jordan: I am a deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff's Department Ag Crimes Unit, and I investigate reports of stolen metal and a wide variety of property crimes at farms and ranches.
Karen: As an associate at a hedge fund, I assist in researching and investing in food and agriculture businesses worldwide.

How does your work experience play a role in the ranching side of your business?
Karen: When making important decisions about the future growth of the operation, my financial experience helps in expanding our herd. I can decide if it is a good time to buy or sell, or when we're trying to buy cows, how aggressive we want to be.

What do you enjoy most about a cattle ranch?
Karen: I'm not really a morning person, but waking up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday to gather cattle with Jordan, I look forward to that. It's a release from what is going on in our "day jobs."
Jordan: Ranching is a part of our country's heritage. Being a good steward of the land and creating a healthy environment for the cattle is more than fulfilling. And through ranching, we are able to do our part to feed America.

Meanwhile, back at the office...

Day jobs—and spunk—help young ranchers Jordan and Karen Whaley establish a cattle business and their future home on the range.

Karen Whaley tracks markets for agricultural businesses and commodities at Passport Capital Management hedge fund.

Jordan Whaley, a deputy for the Tulare County Sheriff's Department Ag Crimes Unit, pats down a person of interest while inspecting people and vehicles at a recycling business in Tulare.

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