Ranching is not for the faint of heart. Ranching takes responsibility, dedication, and pure grit. Most of the time it also takes more than one person. For many, that extra help is their own family. This is something the Doan Family from Black Leg Ranch is familiar with.
Black Leg Ranch has a rich history with 6 generations on the land. The ranch was homesteaded in 1882 by George H. Doan, who came to Dakota Territory from Canada. When George had to move to a warmer climate to accommodate his daughter’s tuberculosis, he left the ranch in the hands of his son, Jewell Doan Sr. Jewell was the true definition of a hard-working man, sometimes working three or four jobs to make ends meet. He was a visionary who brought the first Black Angus cattle to southern Burleigh County and also expanded the ranch’s land holdings by many acres.
Once Jewell Sr. suffered a stroke, the ranch was left to Jewell Jr., or “Babe”. Babe left the ranch to Jerry, who still operates parts of the ranch, though he is slowing down more and more every year. Next in line to succeed is the fifth generation- Jeremy, Jay, and Jayce.
The older siblings had little interest in the farming and ranching operation. However, the youngest son, Jayce, knew that is where his passion lied. With guidance from his dad Jerry, Jayce is starting the transition into taking over the ranch’s livestock, grazing, and farming businesses, adding his own niches along the way.
Jayce had aspirations about going to the University of Wyoming, following in the footsteps of his sister. But, the rodeo coach, Mike True, from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT won him over. There he obtained his degree in Animal Science – Livestock Management with a minor in American Indian Studies. Jayce college rodeoed for MSU competing in steer wrestling, calf roping, and even rode a couple of bulls. He took a year off from school to pursue rodeoing down in Texas where he worked at a livestock sale barn in Stephenville. After returning back for his last year of school, he met his wife, Kassy. She moved to the Ranch after a week of Jayce showing her around beautiful North Dakota.
Kassy is all too familiar with the western way of life as she grew up on her family’s cattle ranch near Havre, MT. She went to school locally at Montana State University-Northern where she obtained her degree in Business Administration and minors in Marketing and Small Business Management. She too rodeoed in college, competing in barrel racing. After moving to North Dakota, she worked for the 65th Legislative Assembly as the Senate Journal Reporter and later decided she wanted to work closer to home. She took a position at the local school in Hazelton, ND as the business teacher.
Jayce and Kassy married in May of 2020 in Montana with family and friends. In February 2021, they had their first child and decided it would be best for Kassy to stay home and raise their son. Together, with Jayce’s strong background in farming and ranching and Kassy’s experiences in the business world, they formed their new business, Black Leg Ranch Meats.
Black Leg Ranch Meats sells 100% grass-fed and grass-finished beef and buffalo meats. Both Jayce and Kassy strive to have a healthy lifestyle and know that longevity doesn’t come from processed foods, unnecessary ingredients, or plant-based substitutes. “We are very proud of our end product and we believe consumers will be as well”, states Kassy.
For the business, Jayce manages the diversified livestock by building fences, manages the rotational grazing, analyzes forages, and bales hay for the winter. Jayce has also helped maintain the ranch’s beef genetics dating back to the 1930s and has improved those genetics to date. Kassy manages the day-to-day operations of the business such as customer service, shipping products, deliveries, marketing, managing the company website, and customer relationship management. Kassy isn’t just only familiar with the business world. She is familiar with the meat industry as well, considering that her family also raises and processes their own beef.
Besides running a ranch and a business, the couple like to get out of the house and head to rodeos. This takes commitment during the weekdays to get horses in shape, making sure they’re getting adequate feed and minerals, and keeping up with the horse’s overall wellness. “It’s a busy lifestyle”, states Kassy, “but it’s one we’ve been blessed with and wouldn’t change.”
What works for one doesn’t always work for all, but the Doan’s have created a lifestyle around ranching that not only can improve their profitability but also their quality of life. Bringing the family aspect into play around the ranch and business creates a sense of responsibility, drives dedication, and builds that grit needed to be successful.
For more information on Black Leg Ranch Meats go to www.blacklegranchmeats.com or contact them at email@example.com.