Our cattle ranch, known in it’s long history as Hat Creek Hereford Ranch, had it’s early beginnings when Pam’s great Grandfather, Andrew Jackson Opdyke, moved to Hat Creek in 1903. He took out one of the first grazing permits issued in 1908 with twenty-one head of cattle.
Later that year, his son, Pam’s Grandfather, Perry Opdyke, took over the ranch and worked over the years to develop a high quality Hereford herd. At first he only have commercial cattle, then ventured into Registered Hereford world to start raising seed stock for other producers.
As the ranching operation grew, this meant a need for more feed for the cattle so Perry added Champs Flat property in 1929 and Eagle Lake property in 1936. Both of these range were in Lassen Country. Perry was quite a name for himself. He was featured on the cover and in an article in the “Pacific Rural Press” on October 30, 1937. In another feature article and cover story in later years he stated. “Old timers have learned to stay with it year after year. If you do, you’ll come out.”
In 1962, Perry’s son, Gordon and Pam’s parents, Bob and Lois Thompson, took over operation of the ranch and continued to develop quality Hereford cattle which were sold over several western states to other producers.
The partnership of Bob, Lois and Gordon were very creative in working to ensure the ranch stayed within the family and remained a viable operation, even in tough times. They worked to sustain Perry’s philosophy of “staying with it”. Bob was also very active in many local and statewide activities and found the same notoriety as Perry, being featured in the June 23, 1973 issue of “California Life”. The story featured trucking of cattle, which was fairly new to Hat Creek Hereford Ranch. All of Bob and Lois’s children grew up trail driving cattle in the spring and the fall to and from the ranch in Hat Creek to the Champs Flat range in Lassen County. The drive typically took four days.
In the late 1970’s Pam started helping her parents with the breeding program and started transitioning from a straight Hereford herd to adding Black Angus bulls and going strictly back to commercial production for beef rather than the registered Hereford program for seedstock. For more information of the beef herd now, please go to the “Our Cattle” page.
Henry and Pam married in 1978, and are both graduates of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
In 1989 Henry and Pam moved back to Hat Creek from Ferndale where they dairied with Henry’s parents in order to take over the operation from Pam’s folks. They have grown the operation to over 450 head of mother cows and run rangelands of over 50,000 acres. In addition to the native rangelands, they also operate over 1,000 acres of irrigated pasture land where they graze cattle and produce high quality mountain hay.
Henry and Pam are third and fourth generation Californian’s that are active in many organizations locally and statewide on a volunteer basis. For more information on Henry and Pam please refer to “About Us”.
Henry and Pam operate a small family ranch. Their management is a blend of learning lessons from well respected old- timers, the history learned over the years from Andrew, Perry and Bob, as well as new age holistic management. They work together to steward their land that has been in Pam’s family for four generations. Keeping Perry’s philosophy alive, sustainability and “staying with it” is key to their success.