There are some things that all the folks here at the Imperial Stock Ranch share in common: humble, hard-working roots, a feeling for tradition, and a belief in the importance of family. Loving nature and animals, and holding a deep commitment to the land, they don’t mind living this far from town. They believe the texture of ranch life is worth it.
Dan grew up in Tillamook County on a small beef and timber ranch. Throughout his childhood, he tagged along with his father, a true “desert rat,” into the Owyhee country whenever they had the chance. They shared a love of the desert country and those trips fostered the beginnings of a dream Dan would pursue his entire life — a dream of ranching in the Oregon desert. Dan paid his way through college at Oregon State University by logging in the summers in the tradition of his father and grandfathers. After graduating in 1965, he went to Vietnam for 2 years to make his “stake” as a construction engineer for Morrison and Knutson of Boise, Idaho. After returning from Vietnam, he invested in several business ventures in the Salem area, one of them
being a beef ranch near Scio.
Dan's first ranching venture east of the Cascades came in 1978 with the purchase of the T. Wilson ranch near Dufur. Ten years later, he and his family made their permanent move to the interior desert region when they purchased the historic Imperial Stock Ranch near Shaniko. Since then, he and his wife Jeanne have been widely honored for their sustainable production practices and their conservation ethic. They have been leaders in the nationally acclaimed Buckhollow Watershed Project.
Dan served for 8 years on the Board of Directors of the State Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. He and Jeanne are also at the forefront of the farm-to-consumer direct marketing movement. They are successfully marketing their lamb, beef and fiber products to a consumer that values food quality and sustainable production methods on the land. Dan sees a bright future for agriculture producers who can sustainably produce and deliver their product. The Carver children are positioned to carry the next generation forward at Imperial Stock Ranch.
Jeanne was born and raised in rural Oregon. Growing up in a close knit family with humble roots, she learned the values of hard work and self-reliance from an early age. From childhood, she had three passions: wilderness, running and horses. Those three interests have continued throughout her life. Following high school, Jeanne headed off to college and the experience of living in a “town” for the first time. Her love of running and sports led to an extensive athletic career as a two sport Division I athlete. After completing a degree in Education, and then a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics from Oregon State University,
Jeanne taught and coached at the university level for many
years. She coached the US National Team in Track
and Field and served on the US Olympic
The years of study, intense training and pursuit of excellence provided a solid foundation and the confidence to tackle big things, chipping away at them one step at a time. Marrying Dan, Jeanne returned home again, back to her roots.
The Carvers face many challenges in agriculture today, and together they plunge into creating solutions. Even though Jeanne’s formal studies were not in agriculture or history or marketing, many of the qualities that served her well in high level athletics are assets to meeting those agricultural challenges. Faced with changing commodity markets, loss of processing and manufacturing infrastructure for textiles, and the growing pressures from meat imports, the economic viability of raising sheep was severely threatened in the late 1990’s. Motivated to maintain the presence of sheep as a vibrant part of Imperial Stock Ranch’s historic and production integrity, the Carvers began creating retail products from their raw commodities. Jeanne has led the way in their value-added marketing for both meat and fiber. Creativity, perseverance, passion. Jeanne says her years of personal athletic competition and coaching at a high level have almost prepared her for the daunting challenges of value-added marketing.
I grew up living and working on the Imperial Stock Ranch. I started working with Dad and the ranch hands around the age of 12. They taught me to value hard work, be humble with the natural world, and respect each other. The ranch itself probably taught me and shaped me more than anything else. It is amazing how much you learn by watching and working with plants and animals. Respectful animal husbandry and
care of the environment are not practices
for me; they are the way I was raised
and how I live my life.
I have always had a love of the ranch and its inhabitants, so upon completion of my agriculture business degree at OSU, I came home to be part of the ranch family. I am married to my sweetheart, Keelia. We spend our time working together on the ranch, and living what we call our “homesteader lifestyle.” By that we mean, a big garden, canning, hunting and fishing, cutting wood, pressing cider, and other such things. Our newest time consumption is our two sons Max and Eliot. We are really excited about raising them as “ranch kids!” If there was such a thing as spare time, I could be found hunting, fishing, rafting, hiking, spending more time with my family or having a cold one with you!
When I was a child I always dreamed of having a big garden and lots of animals. Now living on the Imperial Stock Ranch with my husband Blaine that dream has become reality. I grew up in the west (wet) side of Oregon, in a house that my father built. Even though we had five acres the biggest animals that I could talk my parents into getting were goats. My mother’s limit on pets was they needed to fit in the back of her station wagon. My sisters
and I loved having goats and would let them
out to wander around the yard with us
whenever we were outside.
I attended Oregon State University and studied chemistry. In spite of my path of study, all my summer jobs were ones that let me be outside and very active. I tried working as a counselor at summer camps, wild land firefighting, and finally working as a raft guide on the Deschutes River in Maupin. I loved rafting and being on the river every day, so the summer following my graduation, I returned to Maupin for one more summer of working the Deschutes River. It was early that summer that some mutual friends introduced me to the man I would marry, Blaine.
The following summer I returned to work on the river and moved in with Blaine at the ranch. Working as a raft guide was great, however, when September rolled around the job ended. After a few weeks of canning tomatoes, apples, pears and anything else I could find, I was getting desperate for another job. Blaine started using me to help with ranch tasks. Unfortunately, I was not very good at any of them. We still laugh about the time he took me to help move cows, and after doing the entire job himself, he returned to find Riley, one of the ranch horses, tied to a tree and me sitting on a stump. Rather impatiently he asked what we were doing. I told him, “We’re having a time out.” Riley didn’t like getting his feet wet and had terrified me by jumping across the creek. I was so frustrated and scared that I had decided to just stop and wait for Blaine to return and deal with the horse.
Being a ranch hand didn’t seem like it was going to work out, luckily the information age has created a demand (even on ranches) for computer literate people. I worked for several years with Jeanne developing the direct marketing fiber business, Imperial Yarn. More recently I have been working with Dan on bookkeeping and other administrative tasks.
Blaine I were married in 2011 in the orchard at the ranch headquarters. We are blessed with two children Max (deceased) and Eliot love that they are growing up to be ‘ranch kids’.
For many people who have visited the Imperial Stock Ranch, they will remember Scott Cameron as the guy who gives them insight into the amazing relationship and work of herding dogs. Scott was born and raised in the Deschutes River country around Maupin. He grew up on the family farm where they had cows, horses, milk cows and some farming. His Dad split time between ranching and working in the woods. Scott worked in the haying, farming and cattle work since he was little. He says he worked all day stacking hay for someone else, and then he’d come home and help his Dad. He and two other guys stacked hay for 3 cents a bale. They split it. That meant a penny a bale for each of them. He grew up learning that working was part of living. His family raised race horses, and his Mom was the trainer. So in the summer when she went off to the race track and Dad was driving log trucks, Scott stayed home to work the family place. Scott rode bareback broncs in the rodeos during high school, and participated in a few other things around the country he says he won’t elaborate on in this little piece here! Scott ended up finding employment in the lumber mill following school, and after some years, became foreman. When the mill eventually closed down, he went to college majoring in Small Business Management. Something he’d already been practicing. Not finding office life to his liking,
Scott returned to what he’d always
loved best — ranch life.
Scott says he's just suited to living out in isolated surroundings. He enjoys the diversity that comes with ranch life; there's always something different to do each day. He loves the wildlife, the country and being outdoors, horses and cattle — with a little free time for hunting and fishing. Scott feels at home here, with lots of friends and family in the area. The ranch is lucky to have him. He's one of those people who can figure out most anything and get it done.
In recent years with the ranch’s growth in value added marketing of meat and fiber, many people have visited the ranch as a part of various tours. When possible, we give them a chance to see Scott and his dogs work together at moving livestock. Scott’s passion for animals always comes through loud and clear, and he demonstrates well, what he enjoys doing every day.
Scott and his wife Tracie have been a vital part of the Imperial Stock Ranch for quite a few years now. They love their home in a fairly remote location in Golden Canyon — guaranteed to receive no "drop-in" company! Although anyone who ever finds their way down there will never feel more welcome or at home.
Born and raised in Montana, Tracie grew up near the small community of Florence located in the Bitterroot Mountains. They had a small farm, and she says she had the most wonderful parents a child could ever have. After graduating from high school, Tracie married and had two children, a son and a daughter. They lived in Kennewick, Washington for 16 years, where they trained and ran race horses. Tracie also worked for a large brood mare farm that kept around 300 mares, also helping take care of the stallions. These stallions had impressive pedigrees, including Secret Intent, one of Secretariat’s (Triple Crown Winner) first colts, Nevada Battler,
Jet Deck Jr., Special Feature and others
were all part of the stable.
In the early 1980's, they moved to a small town in Oregon near the Imperial Stock Ranch. Ironically, Tracie’s work brought her out to the Imperial Stock Ranch one day, and she told her employer how she would love to live there. About 15 years later, she got her wish.
Scott and Tracie joined the Imperial Stock Ranch family in February of 1996. They moved in during a blizzard and it was impossible to get a truck down into the canyon where their home is located. They had to shuttle many pickup loads down off the hill in subzero temperatures. They’ve been on the ranch 18 years now and love it very much. Tracie says, “We have a beautiful home in Golden Canyon and wonderful friends here on the ranch.” Tracie especially loves the historic Hinton House at the ranch headquarters. She says, “There is something that draws a person to it…a peace and serenity. It’s very comforting to be inside the old house. And when you sit out on the porch swing and look at the beautiful surroundings, it’s like being in a fairy tale. You recognize how wonderful things around us really are.” Tracie loves working around the huge old home and being a part of its history. According to Tracie, “Anyone coming inside is surely touched by its beauty and a feeling of peacefulness.”
Tracie enjoys the diversity of daily life in ranching, with cattle and sheep, horses, farming and all else that goes with rural life. Her children and grandchildren have many stories of being here and seeing all that happens, and how people can work together and help things live and grow.