Dave and Charlotte Billingsley
Golden West Cattle Company
Rex & Ann Harder Family and Virginia McKay Family
Jacob Harder originally settled near Washtucna, in Eastern Washington, to raise sheep in 1883 with his brothers Hans and Max. On a trip back to the homeland of Schleswig-Holstein in present day Germany in 1898 he met Annine; who would later become his wife and accompany him back to America.
Many factors, including extended periods away from his family, helped Jacob determine that sheep raising wasn’t what he wanted to do. He steadily entered the beef cattle business and began buying up land throughout the channeled scablands. Over the course of a half-century, Jacob and Annine built up what some have called a small empire. The last ranch they purchased before Jacob’s death was the well-known F.M. Rothrock Ranch of Hercules Farms, near Sprague, WA. Now known as Hercules Ranch, it is the home of Golden West Cattle Company. Jacob and Annine’s son Max, and wife Alana, took over that ranch, which was then passed down to their children, Rex and Virginia. They and their families are operating it today.
Golden West Cattle Company is a third- and fourth- generation-run cattle operation. Our cattle spend most of their time ranging large pastures and are gathered just a couple times a year for required vaccinations and veterinary services; which leaves more time for them to grow and be cows. In addition to the cattle, we have a farming operation that is often able to grow most of our own feed for the winter. The fourth generation, with seven people invested, reflects a true family business that brings with it a wide variety of skills and perspectives.