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California Cattlemen’s Association posted the following on social media:
It is with heavy hearts that CCA shares past president and Tehama County cattle rancher Jerry Hemsted passed away on June 4. Jerry is survived by his wife Joan, three children, sister, grandchildren and many friends in the ranching community.
Jerry loved cattle ranching and was dedicated to serving the industry on local, state and national levels.
From 1985-1986, Jerry was Tehama County Cattlemens Association president. In 1989, he was honored as TCCA Man of the Year.
It was in 1986 when CCA President Jim Timmons asked Jerry to be CCA Membership Chair. He went on to be the National Cattlemen’s Association Top Hand Recruiter winning the saddle.
A few years later, he served as CCA’s 2nd Vice President for three years, followed by 1st VP and CCA President from 1999-2000. He was chairman of the national transportation committee for the National Cattlemen’s Association and served on the first board of directors for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He also served as membership chairman of the policy committee for NCBA.
In 2016, Jerry was named California’s Livestock Man of the Year at the Cow Palace by the California State Chamber of Commerce and the Grand National Rodeo Horse and Stock Show.
Jerry’s sincere dedication to the cattle industry did not go unnoticed and he will be dearly missed.”
Thanks to Dan Woolery of “By All Means Ministries” for the notes that he shared with me.
Jerry was born April 24, 1942, to Jim and Barbara Kelly Hemsted and went to Redding schools until his senior year when he transferred to Red Bluff High. His father had gotten into the cattle hauling business in 1955 and three years later, the family had moved to 9-Mile Hill, where they built a house truck shop close to Red Bluff Auction Yard.
“He graduated in 1960 and attended Fresno State until his father suffered a heart attack in 1961, and he came home to run their cattle and the trucking business. Jerry dispatched trucks, drove and repaired trucks that became well-known and respected throughout the western states. Jim and Jerry pioneered the double-deck aluminum cattle racks and at one time, they ran 16 trucks hauling feeder cattle to feedlots, slaughter cattle to packing plants, and pasture cattle to summer and winter pastures. They also hauled fair animals from fairs to slaughter at no cost.”
On June 21, 1965, Jerry Hemsted and Joan Jerrell were married, and they became parents of Jamie, Jesse, and Julie. When the children were growing up, he was a 4-H leader for 15 years, coached baseball teams with Jesse and softball teams with Jamie. “One of his proudest moments was receiving the Tehama County CattleWomen’s “Father of Year” award.”
In 1980 the trucks were sold, and a new business, Hemsted’s Trailer Corral, where sold horse and stock trailers and panels. In the mid-1980s, Jerry started summering his cows at a ranch that Jim Boyd purchased at Hat Creek.
“The place needed work. Jerry and Mr. Boyd worked side by side to get it in shape. Jerry had a little RV trailer there and spent most summers for the next 20 years running cows and water on that beautiful ranch.”
“It was in 2003 that Jerry liquidated his cattle herd and went to work for Bengard Ranches. Tom Bengard liked Jerry, had ranches all over the place, wanted to buy more ranches, and needed a manager who could hold it together and make it bigger and better. Jerry was the man and he was Tom’s manager for the next 15 years as they built an empire of 16 ranches scattered throughout California and Oregon. The year before his retirement, in 2016, Jerry received one of the highest honors a cattleman can receive — he was selected as the California Livestock Man of the Year at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.”
“Jerry was a hard worker, whether with the trucks, the cattle, building fences, digging ditches, working on cattlemen’s issues; Jerry gave as much as anybody and more than most. Jerry was helpful. He would help anybody and often worked as hard for other people as he did for himself.
Jerry had an incredible memory. He could remember people and names and knew people wherever he went. And before Google, there was Jerry Hemsted. I (Dan Woolery) kind of resented this about Jerry. He seemed to know everything about everything. Which is annoying, especially when he was right most of the time.”
I wish that I had asked Jerry, and written his answers, for history when Oak Bud Poisoning is mentioned. What year did that March or April snowfall occur? How far did the snow stretch? From Shasta County to? Why did the cattle die? How many heads of cattle died? Jerry Hemsted was the spokesperson for the beef cattle industry when the media came to covering the story. It may have been 1985 or 1986 when he was TCCA President since the media usually contact the president for an interview.
When Western Livestock Journal had their California Central Coast Ranch Tour at Bengard’s Salinas ranch in 2012, Jerry had prepared a list of facts about cattle vaccinations, worming, shipping from winter to summer ranches, calves sold on video or local market, breeding program, etc. I wish other ranches we visit did the same; then, I wouldn’t have to write as fast as they speak.
The back of the program reproduced the article that Josh Davy had written about Jerry Hemsted when he was named 2016 Livestock Man of the Year.
Family and friends came from near and far to honor Jerry on June 17th at the Red Bluff Elks Lodge. Dave Daley handled the introductions of the speakers. Dan Woolery was Officiating. Lloyd Faria was a guest speaker. Barbara Jackson came from Tucson, Arizona, and told about her friendship with Jerry and Joan.
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