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Family ranch goes on under woman ownership

Staff writer

Jackie Hett and her husband, Walter, farmed from the time they married in 1946.

After his death in 1998, Jackie and her son, then her grandson, have continued the cattle operation southeast of Marion.

Even though she started life as a city girl with a railroader father, Hett said she never wanted to sell the 2,000-acre ranch after Walter’s death. The homestead held much meaning for herself and her family.

Her son, Steve Hett, was the first one to help her manage the cattle after she was widowed.

For the last nine years, her grandson, Jeff Ensey, has worked the ranch and overseen the herd of Angus. The herd contains strains of Charolais, Brahma, Simmental, and Limousin blood.

They grow some alfalfa for feed and also feed the cattle on brome and native grasses.

Jeff used to work for the Sherwin Williams company as a store manager, district manager, and sales representative. He likes his current work better.

The 250-calving herd has both spring calves and fall calves with their mothers. The two groups are kept separate from each other.

“We sell a majority of them in May, but others in September,” Ensey said. “Pretty much all of them are sold when they are about 600 pounds. Those we sell in May, somebody will buy them and put them in pasture.”

Now, Hett manages the farm from town and Ensey does the labor.

“When I moved to town, people told me I wouldn’t like it, but I was raised in town,” Hett said.

Last modified March 14, 2018

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