“I didn’t want to grow up and stop playing in the dirt”
Jim has worked for more than 20 years as a ground water geologist (a hydrogeologist), an interest developed in large part from the opportunity it provided to spend time outside. Basically, he enjoys rocks, water and the great outdoors, and during the early part of his career, a major portion of his time was, in fact, spent in the field. However, as Jim’s professional career progressed, his ability to spend time in the field diminished in direct proportion to his rise in rank within the company. Today, instead of mapping and drilling, he administers and manages in his “day job”.

By 1996, Jim had begun seriously re-evaluating his employment and career situation, looking for an opportunity to do some sort of work that entailed substantially more outdoor activity. Farming had always been an attractive option, but the economics of conventional farming were of unacceptably narrow margins. That changed, however, with the prospect of farming elk.

Elk farming is a realistic way to create income from a working farm. With care and eyes wide open, a reasonable return can be made from the raising and marketing of elk and elk products, including velvet antler sales, breeding stock sales, meat sales and income derived from other farm and elk products in a farm store.

And so in 1999, we sold our comfortable, large house in a pleasant suburban development and purchased the land, house and barn now known as the Velvet Pastures Elk Ranch. We put up fence, built a make-shift handling facility and in January of 2000, took delivery of six pregnant cow elk that began the herd.