Stan & Libby Sears
Little Shasta Ranch has deep roots in Siskiyou County where Stan Sears has been a rancher over 50 years. “My Great Great Grandmother was born in Yreka in 1862, and my family has been here ever since. My Grandparents had a small place down in Grenada, and in 1961 when I was a senior in High School we bought a place near what we call Little Shasta. Four years later my dad sold the place to me and it’s grown from there. We actually bought two additional ranches over the years to get to where we are today,” Said Sears.
Sears has made many improvements to the ranch to help make the operation more efficient and better for his animals. He laser-leveled the ground at one of the new ranches, installed pipelines with tail-water returns, and built new barns, corrals and fences. He takes advantage of lower elevation pastures in the winter that generally produce sufficient feed for his herd, and supplements with his own hay that he puts up in the summer months. All that planning has worked to his advantage during the California drought that has been going on. “Many of my neighbors sold out as a result of the difficult conditions. I had to buy a little extra hay this year which I have never had to do. I have never seen anything like this.” He said.
Another important change he made was to Join Country Natural Beef in 2004. Stan likes the philosophy behind Country Natural Beef: “We share a lot of valuable information between ranchers. The comradery is great between like-minded cattlemen.” He said.
“On the economical side of things, CNB just makes sense. We don’t get the highs and lows of the market, but over the long haul, things are more consistent. As a group we are very consumer oriented as far as wanting to raise a product that is very pleasing to the consumer.”
Mr. Sears recently visited 5 Bay-area stores to give out samples and tell the story about how he raises their food. Each year CNB ranchers have the opportunity to go into various stores to educate consumers, and to answer their questions about the cattle industry. Generally there are some concerns for how the animals are treated, what they eat, and about GMO’s, but most people are just happy to meet a real life cowboy. Stan not only tells stories about how he cares for his animals and life on the ranch, but protecting the watershed, and enhancing wildlife.
Stan takes pride in being a member of a group with a high level of animal husbandry practices, whose animals produce higher than average genetics, and has a great animal-health program. Treating the animals gently, making sure that they have ample food and water, and looking out for their welfare is all part of it. “They are part of our life, we love our cattle!”