“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work…” Kyle Ranch- Blog contribution

I still remember the day my husband and I told his family that we would be leaving South Carolina to move back to my family’s ranch in California. Looking back now, I can’t blame them for thinking we were crazy! Not only was California on the other side of the country, but we both had “good” jobs in South Carolina with the kind of future most college graduates spend their academic years striving to achieve. With over ten years of college education between the two of us we were bound to find happiness in high paying jobs and the standard work week, right? I was a certified teacher, my husband worked as a business manager for the State, we both had retirement plans, and we lived stable lives by most standards. But, boy howdy, we were about as miserable as two young lovestruck kids could be! We dreaded going to work in the morning, we spent our Sundays in a borderline depression as the work week loomed, and while we may have been “stable” on paper, that kind of lack of purpose can make your life feel like complete chaos.

So, one night over the dinner table I asked Kenneth (somewhat flippantly), “Would you ever move to the ranch in California and work for my parents?” I don’t think I had even finished the question when he responded, “Yep.” Less than one month later the resignations were submitted and retirement plans voided as we packed up our little lives to haul them across the country so we could really start living. Honestly, on paper, it was crazy. We were both taking pay cuts that would make most people feel light headed and we were going to pursue a livelihood in agriculture; which for many farmers and ranchers in recent years has become like trying to pan for gold in the middle of the desert. It was crazy, but it was worth it.


“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,

we have come to our real work

and when we no longer know which way to go,

we have begun our real journey.”

-Wendell Berry


My husband and I, along with our daughter Evelyn and our second baby on the way, represent the youngest family producing beef for Desert Mountain Grass Fed Beef. While we do not produce a large number of cattle, it is thanks to the innovative and producer driven model that Desert Mountain Grass Fed Beef operates under that we are able to thrive in the world of agriculture and livestock production. We were tremendously blessed that my parents Ross and Kelly McGarva, who are also producers for DMGFB, allowed us to come back and begin to build a life on our family’s ranch in Likely, California while also giving us the opportunity to have a stake in the family business. The ability for multiple generations to be at work with one another at every level of production through DMGFB is what gives young agriculturists like us a chance to live this life! With many family ranches struggling to survive in today’s market, we owe so much to the fact that our family is able to be a part of the DMGFB program because we know that our personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of our livestock and land are at the center of how this group of ranchers does business

I’m certain that many people who knew us from our “past” lives still think we are a little bit crazy for leaving behind what we did. However, this life of hard work and service to God’s creation give us more than any retirement plan ever would. When my husband comes in from the fields smelling of long hours with the cattle and grass, I see purpose. When our infant daughter has a check in her savings account from her first ever half-Akaushi calf, I see purpose. When I see your family enjoying the beef that my family worked hard to give quality of life and care to, I see purpose. If that makes me crazy, so be it!

-Lydia Kyle


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