Behind the Brand:
The Hemphill Ranch
by Melissa Blosser
Jeff and Nancy Hemphill, of Janesville will be the first to tell you that keeping their hay and cattle producing operation isn’t just about paying the bills, it’s about teaching the rural way of life to their daughter Abigail.
“It’s all about making sure this is here for Abigail,” said Nancy Hemphill. “We want her to know this way of life and have a chance to carry on this family heritage,” she said.
The Hemphill ranch has been operating in Janesville for over 74 years. The Hemphill family moved to the Ranch on February 28th, 1938. Jeff’s Father J.D. Hemphill took over the family ranch in 1956. He and 10 other dairymen formed the Morning Glory Dairy Co-Op.
J.D. was in the dairy business until 1973 when he sold the dairy herd and raised hay and cattle for the rest of his life with Jeff’s mother Francis Hemphill.
The family has also owned and operated the Fairbanks scales since 1980.
Francis or many of us know her as Fran, also continues to help out on the family operation by operating the scales. Fran has also been a 4H leader and active member of the community.
The Hemphill’s now currently grow alfalfa and rotate out grain as well as raise cattle. Jeff Hemphill also does some custom farming (cutting hay for others) in addition to farming for the family business.
“We still sell hay to the very first guy we ever started selling hay to,” said Jeff Hemphill. “ He comes by here often, just to see how things are going and talk a little talk,” he said.
Jeff and Nancy Hemphill are active members in the community, serving as members of the Lassen County Cattlemen and Cattlewomen, Farm Bureau and Jeff serves as the Lassen Community College Board President.
Abigail Hemphill, daughter to Jeff and Nancy Hemphill is the fourth generation living on the ranch and learning the family business. Even at the early age of four, she often helps her dad with his daily tasks around the ranch.
“This ranch is about so much more, it’s bigger than us,” said Jeff. “I want all of that for her,” he said.
These days farming and ranching is getting more difficult, farmers and ranchers will tell you, they aren’t getting rich off choosing to save the family farm.
Most people who continue to stay in agriculture these days do it to preserve their family heritage, or because they have come to love a rural way of life.
This column will serve to feature local people who continue to preserve their family heritage by suiting up every day to bring food to your table.
If you are interested in preserving your heritage by telling your story, please contact Melissa Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530.249.7828. Your story can also serve you and your family as memorabilia, for future generations continuing a rural way of life in Lassen County.