America Isn't Lost Yet: Dad with 100,000-Acre, 145-Year-Old Ranch Vows to Pass It On to 1 Kid


This is a story about blessing.

It’s about a man blessed with an amazing heritage. It’s about a family blessed to be a part of that heritage.

And it’s about an America blessed to have people like this.

Ryan Bedke is a rancher. As was his father — and his grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather before that, a ranching family stretching back five generations to 1878.

Bedke’s kids are ranchers, too, the sixth generation. When they’re old enough, they put on their cowboy hats and boots and go to work.

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Thirty-nine-year-old Bedke and his wife Jacquie have 100,000 acres in southern Idaho and tend to 1,500 cattle.

“It’s a great way to have a family, a great way to raise kids and a good way of life,” said Bedke, whose family was featured in The Epoch Times.


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As Bedke tends the ranch, each of the six children is involved, some on horseback.

“I always try to give them something they can do that is helpful, so they’ve grown up feeling like they’re part of it and have a role in the operation,” he said. “I don’t usually start taking them out for those long days until they’re at least 8 or 9. Sometimes I’ll take the younger ones on shorter outings.”

Bedke’s family uses social media to highlight their daily operations and to promote their Hat Brand Beef (“Shipping from our family ranch to your doorstep!” their website says).

Initially, Bedke wasn’t sure he wanted to be a rancher. Encouraged by his parents to get an education, he got a degree in finance and worked in sales.

But marriage and children changed his mind, and he returned to the ranch, which gave him more time with the kids.

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Ranching is tough. And it’s more than bad weather, recalcitrant cattle and having to travel long distances through the rugged Western landscape.

There are economic issues involved that are outside of Bedke’s control.

“Input costs are a lot higher,” he told the Times. “And they continue to get higher with all the inflation that’s happening. Everything’s more expensive. … It’s too bad that there’s not more family ranches that are able to make it.”

The grinding money problems are why so many ranchers, farmers and even urban small businesspeople tire of the battle and sell out to large corporations or land developers.

Bedke’s determined that won’t happen.

The oldest of his siblings, Bedke was the sole heir of the ranch as part of a family effort to keep it from being divided. He plans to continue that practice with his own kids.

“We made the conscious decision to pass it to one child, and that’s what I will do as well; I’ll pass it on to one of my kids,” he said.

It all goes back 145 years to that first Bedke rancher, a Prussian immigrant named Frank.

According to family lore, he was smitten with a girl named Polly whose father didn’t want her involved with Frank. But Polly was adamant about marrying him. And she did.

“Here we are still here today punching cows because of her fortitude,” the family’s website says.

It’s refreshing to see people like this family. Our nation used to be filled with people like them but, of course, so many things have changed.

Thankfully, the Bedkes are preserving their way of life and have thought about how their heritage can be passed on.

That means that not only are they blessed, but so are we and, hopefully, generations to follow.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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