March Grower Spotlight of the Month - Mike Williams of Diamond W Cattle Company - Ventura County Agricultural Education
A woman never forgets the first time she meets a real cowboy. Mike Williams is just that – a true blooded Ventura County cattle rancher and cowboy. Where do you think the name cowboy comes from? When you put cows and boys together on a ranch, you hope they grow up to be authentic, honest, hard-working men that continue the family ranching legacy. You hope they end up as good a man as Mike Williams. Mike walks like a cowboy, talks like a cowboy, works the land, rides a horse, raises cattle and is a gentleman cattle rancher.
The first time I met Mike Williams was at Grinder, a local restaurant in Moorpark, where the Ventura County Cattlemen’s Association was holding their monthly meeting. Charlotte and Tom Crocker had invited me to attend to speak about Ventura County Farm Day. At the end of the meeting Mike Williams approached me. I have to admit I was a little intimidated by his strong, rugged appearance. Mike is quite tall, robust and wears a big weathered cowboy hat. But as soon as he said hello his goodness shined through immediately. He said, “Ventura County Farm Day is the kind of day I want to be involved in. The local cattle ranching story needs to be told. Educating the public about what we do is important.” This farmer’s daughter said, “Exactly!” Mike understood very quickly the importance of education. I truly feel if you believe in what you do, you should be proud to tell your story. Mike agrees.
Both sets of Mike’s grandparents lived in Idaho and ran cattle. One set lived in Hamer, ID. They had a dairy farm and milked around 200 head of Holsteins. The Holstein breed are known for their outstanding milk production. Mike’s other grandfather lived in Wendell, ID, which is near Twin Falls. He grew mostly hay, grain and from time to time corn. He worked around 50+ head of beef cattle, mostly shorthorn until he acquired more land and built his herd up to nearly 200 head before he died. Like most ranchers Mike acquired his passion for cattle ranching from his family, in this case his grandparents in Idaho.
Mike moved to Ventura County in 1994 and we are lucky to have him in our community. He manages over 600 head and owns 200 himself. Most are Black Angus and Black Angus cross cows, along with a small herd of about 40 Texas Long Horns. He manages his herd with this two main horses, Slick a Quarter Horse. He called Slick, “A good solid horse that is very reliable. I owned his mother. She was also a good horse, probably the best horse I have ever owned.” Suzy is his other horse, also a Quarter Horse that he described as, “young and a little silly sometimes. She has a lot to learn, but together we can usually get the job done.”
Mike has proudly been a member of the California Cattlemen’s Association for the last 6 years. He is currently the 2nd Vice President of the statewide organization. I can’t think of another man more dedicated and equipped for the position. Mike is a great advocate and ambassador for cattlemen everywhere.
If you have never taken the drive out on Canada Larga Road please do. Especially, in spring, as the scenery of Mike’s grazing land is breathtaking, and covered with native grasses and right now bright yellow mustard plants. The Diamond W Cattle Company will also be a stop during the 4th Annual Ventura County Farm Day lineup this year. If you don’t know about local cattle ranching, Mike Williams is the right guy to talk to. You will walk away with a new appreciation for what Mike describes as, “the moral way to raise beef cattle.”
When I asked Mike what he likes about ranching he said, “everything.” And it shows all over his face and in his character. For more information about Ventura County Cattlemen’s Association please visit – Ventura County Cattlemen’s Association, and for information on Diamond W Cattle Company please visit Diamond W Cattle Company.