Kester Family

“My family has been ranching here in this area since 1867 and I represent the 5th generation of my family. That’s something we’re pretty proud of.” – Kevin Kester

Bear Valley Ranch

parkfield, ca

Cow/Calf Ranch

Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers.

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Kevin Kester and his wife, June, own Bear Valley Ranch, a cow/calf ranch in Parkfield, California, just outside of Paso Robles. As parts of the 22,000-acre ranch are not easily accessible by automobile, Kevin relies on the use of technology, such as drones, to check on water supplies and irrigation systems throughout the property. The rolling hills and valleys of the ranch are home to cattle, horses, wildlife, native grasslands and, most recently, rows of grape vines that are sold to local vineyards to make wine. Mixing time-honored traditions with cutting-edge innovations, the Kester family and Bear Valley Ranch provide a fascinating example of how ranchers blend traditions with the technology of today to raise the best beef possible.

Check out the video below and read more about the Kester Family and Bear Valley Ranch.

Facts At A Glance:

1867

Year Established

5th

Generation Rancher

18

population of parkfield, ca

1999

Kester Family started a vineyard

85

percent is the amount of time cattle spend on open range


“It’s all families across this land with farms and ranches who are getting up every morning before daylight and working their rears off. That’s a rewarding experience and being here and being able to do that, it’s a perfect world.” - Kevin Kester



“Being raised on a ranch, you just grow up with an innate, genuine love for the land. Ranchers and farmers are getting smarter. As far as welfare for our cattle and safety for crops and the land, they have to be more efficient with what they’re working with these days. That’s just reality.” - Kara Kester


“One of the most rewarding things that I do outside of our ranch is volunteering with the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program, which is non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring and working with men and women who have served in the armed forces as they return home. The opportunity to give back to some of the people who have given so much to us means so much to me.” - June Kester


Meet Your Rancher:

In your own words, what is a cow/calf ranch?

Kevin Kester (KK) “The cow/calf ranch is one of the several segments of the cattle industry. The very basic start is a rancher with a cow and that cow has a calf, at that time the calves can be kept on the ranch or sold to another rancher to grow up.”

How many people work on your ranch?

KK “Our family runs our ranch – my wife, June; our daughters Kayleen and Kara and their significant others; our son, Kody, and me. We’re thankful that our daughter, Kayleen and her husband, Jared, and our young grandchildren, live just down the road from us. Our family is always ready and willing to pitch in when needed.”

What’s the difference between a cow/calf ranch today vs 20 years ago?

KK “There are a lot of differences between our ranch today vs 20 years ago. The newest thing we’ve done is purchase a commercial drone. We use the drone for gathering cattle and we also use it to check water troughs and water systems to make sure everything is functioning correctly.”

How important is sustainability at your ranch?

KK “Sustainability is important to our family and our ranch, so every time there’s new technologies, we try to take advantage of it. Not only for the business side, but for the environmental and conservation side it’s been very beneficial. In addition to the commercial drone that we use on our ranch, we’ve also installed water sensors in the ground that measure soil moisture and report back to the office and a smartphone every 15 minutes. This allows the ranch to water these crops precisely and only when needed.”

What does it mean to you to be a steward of the land?

June Kester “My husband and I constantly strive to make this land that we have better. We’re fruitful, we work hard every day to improve the way we raise cattle and manage the land. We’re constantly thinking about how we improve what we do so that this land and this ranch can be here for the next generation and the one after that.”