Name: Mike Widman
Operation Name: Widman Ranch
Location: Baker City, Oregon
How long in business: est 1864 by great-great grandfather, from Germany
Segment: Cow/Calf – Natural Program
PHNB: Tell us a little bit about what a “typical” day might look like at this time of year.
Mike: We’re running two herds, winter and spring. Calving season arrived early this year, first calve came in last night Sunday (1/24). It’s pretty much me when I calve. I check ‘em at midnight, and throughout the day. The cows always eat before I do. The days and nights consist of tagging, feeding, calving – every cow gets handled on the ranch. We have a wolf issue this year so we have to go through the herds in the bush and check on any calves there. During the snow it makes things a little more difficult. Gotta make sure the calves get dried off and warmed up. There’s always something to be done in the springtime. If your sittin’ still your not moving forward you’re going backwards. Weather is the biggest factor this time of year. The cows gotta work hard. It’s time to get ‘em off the hay and make ‘em earn their keep grazing. If you want to learn the quality of a cowman don’t look at a cowman’s pants, look at the cow herd they run.
PHNB: What do you find most exciting about ranching?
Mike: I started working on ranch when I was about 6 yrs old, buckin’ hay, feeding sheep, caring for cattle. I have a passion for watching those cattle grow. When they get about 60 days old you can kinda tell how they’re gonna be. Every cow and bull has to do their job or they don’t stay around very long.
PHNB: How long have you partnered with Painted Hills Natural Beef?
Mike: Widman Ranch was one of first producers for PHNB in the Baker City area.
PHNB: What attracts you to Painted Hills Natural Beef?
Mike: I like the quality of the cattle PHNB uses. They pay for good choice beef. Our beef grade out Choice to Prime. One thing about Meherten, he likes good cattle. My cattle always ranked in the top 5% of PHNB cattle. I like knowing how my cattle are doing from birth to when they’re on the rail. My cattle are high priority.
PHNB: What is your favorite cut of beef and preparation method?
Mike: Back in the day I’d said a ribeye, but these days a Flat-iron or Sirloin, of course I make a good hamburger. Just throw ‘em on the grill with some garlic, salt and pepper and it’s pretty good after a while.