Utesch Family

“The most important thing we do is provide food for people throughout the nation. It is an incredible amount of responsibility but it is absolutely the most important thing we do.”- Elaine Utesch

Craig and Elaine Utesch run the Triple U Ranch with Craig's brother, where they raise “cattle, kids and corn,” according to their family motto. Triple U Ranch in Washta, IA is what’s known as a diversified farm and ranch because they have a cow-calf operation, a small feedyard and they grow corn crop, which they then use as one of the high-quality feed ingredients to feed cattle at their feedyard. The ranch was started in the 1940’s when Craig’s grandfather and father purchased the land, and the ranch has had cattle on the property ever since.

Check out the video below and read more about the Utesch family and the Triple U Ranch.

Facts At A Glance:


Triple U Ranch Established


Generations have worked on the Farm


the year the ranch won the NCBA Environmental stewardship award


cattle in the feedyard


cattle in the cow/calf ranch

"This past summer, we lost my brother, Brad (second from the right), after an aggressive battle against cancer. Brad devoted his entire life to Triple U Ranch and while I miss him every single day, I’m proud to carry on his legacy and the legacies of many other farmers and ranchers who work hard to raise beef.” - Craig Utesch

“I really want people to know that this is not just a job for us or a career. This is our life, this is our lifestyle. We’ve chosen to live like this and we love it!” - Jessica Wilson Utesch 

“I think we are both a combination of farmer and rancher. As a rancher, we deal with cattle and as a farmer we raise the crop that goes into the cattle to produce beef. I think that we are unique that we have both sides of the spectrum.” - Elaine Utesch

Meet Your Rancher:

Tell us about the family history of Triple U Ranch.

Craig Utesch “The Triple U Ranch is a family farm, my dad and my grandfather purchased this location in 1946. I’m extremely proud of the fact that my brothers, Kirk and Brad, along with my wife, Elaine and my daughter, Jessica and her husband, Cody, have been able to keep Triple U Ranch in our family for multiple generations. While each family member has their own responsibility within our ranch, we work together as a family to raise safe, nutritious and delicious beef.”

Tell us about the different sides of your ranch and who’s responsible for each of those sides of the business.

Elaine Utesch “Jessica was always two steps behind her Dad, and she and her Dad manage the cow-calf side of our ranch, where cows give birth to calves once a year and we raise those cow-calf pairs on pasture. Eventually, we wean them off of the mama cows’ milk and often times, those larger calves will then be put into our feedyard. Cody, Jessica’s husband, manages the feedyard and he makes sure that cattle at the feedyard are provided access to a water, room to move around and a high-quality diet or ration as they grow. Corn is an important part of the cattle’s diet at the feedyard and they eat some of the corn that Craig’s brother, Kirk, grows at our farm. We’re also able to take the manure from the feedyard and use it as a natural fertilizer for our corn crops.”

What’s it really like to live and work on a ranch?

Jessica Utesch Wilson “My days change with the season. If it’s calving season, I might pull all-nighters calving around-the-clock. Or if it’s harvest season, I’m helping out with the harvest. I’m waking up to get dressed, feed the kids, get them to daycare and start working. I don’t have a typical day.”

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

Jessica Utesch Wilson “I think you have to be born with it. It’s this inner passion to just want to take care of these cows and this land to leave it in better shape for our children to continue on what we do now.”

What does sustainability mean to you?

Cody Wilson “Sustainability to me is leaving our operation in a better place than when we inherited it. I believe we are doing that by using better science and better technology in order to raise beef today. We’re raising our two young children on our ranch and we’re feeding them the same food that we raise – we want to make sure that they have the best food and so we keep our head in the game to make sure we’re doing things right all day, everyday.”

triple U ranch

washta, ia

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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Cattle spend their final 4-6 months at a feedyard being fed a scientifically-balanced diet and receiving daily care.

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