Managing Cattle From the Sky

DronesHere at the beef checkoff, we are using our #RethinkTheRanch campaign to help consumers gain a better understanding of how cattle producers are using advanced technology to benefit their businesses and the environment.

A perfect example of how technology is being used can be found at the Bear Valley Ranch, located near Parkfield, California. The Kester family put down roots and started ranching there 150 years ago in 1867. Back then, no one could have predicted how technology would be used to manage cattle and operate ranches and farms.

“Every time there is a new technology, we try to take advantage of it,” says Kevin Kester. “Most recently, we purchased a commercial drone that we use to gather cattle, look at our water troughs, and make sure everything is functioning correctly.”

Kevin says that with over 100 miles of roads on the ranch, the drone saves them a lot time and energy that would be taken up in driving down those roads.

“If cattle are in a rugged part of the country where it’s harder to herd them with dogs or on horseback, we can fly the drone over them and get them moving in the direction we want for gathering them,” he says.

Along with drone technology, the Kesters are using solar technology to operate water systems and manage grazing systems.

“We’ve developed a lot of solar technology for our water systems that allows us to pump water up in the higher elevations,” he says. “That helps us manage grazing. It’s also good for the wildlife after the hot summer we had. Not only does technology help us in our business, it’s beneficial for the environment and conservation.”

Brian Medeiros is also using technology to reduce energy costs on the Medeiros and Sons Dairy Farm in Hanford, California.

“We want to be as self-sustaining on power as we can. We put in solar panels this past year and that’s going to take care of eighty percent of our electrical uses,” says Brian.  “In the future, we’re going to look at other things such as methane digesters and projects that can help us be as self-sustaining as possible without being a burden to anyone else.”

And that’s what your checkoff’s efforts are all about. We want to provide a consumer-friendly, easy-to-understand way to communicate the complexities of raising beef today and the technologies that are being used. We’ve put together a video that does just that by showing consumers what you do every day.

See for yourself what the video looks like.

Read more about #RethinkTheRanch efforts here. Be sure to check out the new website, and stay up to date on what your beef checkoff investment is doing for YOU at