Tehama County mourns award-winning rancher

The California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) mourned the June 4 passing of former president and Tehama County cattle rancher Jerry Hemsted. Joan is survived by three children, a sister, grandchildren and many rancher friends. Hemsted enjoyed ranching and served him locally, stately, and nationally.

President of the Tehama County Cattlemen’s Association from 1985 to 1986. The association named him Man of the Year in 1989. CCA President Jim Timmons named Hemsted Membership Chair in 1986. He has won the National Cattlemen’s Association’s Top Hand Recruiter saddle. After three years as 2nd Vice President of the ACC, he became 1st Vice President and President of the ACC from 1999 to 2000. He chaired the transportation committee of the National Cattlemen’s Association and served on its first board of directors. Chairman of the NCBA Policy Membership Committee.

The California State Chamber of Commerce and the Grand National Rodeo Horse and Stock Show recognized Hemsted Livestock Man of the Year at the Cow Palace in 2016. His contributions to the livestock industry will be missed. I appreciate Dan Woolery of “By All Means Ministries” sharing his notes. Hemsted was born on April 24, 1942 to Jim and Barbara Kelly Hemsted. Three years after his father started hauling cattle in 1955, the family moved to 9-Mile Hill, where they built a house, truck shop and were near Red Bluff Auction Yard.

He graduated in 1960 and attended Fresno State until his father had a heart attack in 1961 and returned home to oversee their cattle and trucking business. Jerry drove, shipped and repaired western trucks. Jim and Jerry pioneered two-tier aluminum cattle racks and used 16 trucks transporting feeder cattle to feedlots, slaughtering animals to packing plants, and grazing cattle to pasture summer and winter. The CCA also alleged that it transported fairground animals to the slaughterhouse free of charge.

They had Jamie, Jesse and Julie after their marriage on June 21, 1965. He coached baseball and softball alongside Jesse and Jamie for 15 years as a 4-H leader. Tehama County CattleWomen’s “Father of the Year” award was his proudest moment. Hemsted’s Trailer Corral offered horse and cattle trailers and panels after selling the trucks in 1980. Hemsted moved his cows to Hat Creek Ranch, which Jim Boyd purchased in the mid-1980s. It needed work. Hemsted and Boyd shaped it together. He ran cows and water on this beautiful ranch for 20 summers in his trailer.

Hemsted sold his herd and joined Bengard Ranches in 2003. Tom Bengard wants to buy more ranches and needed a manager to run them. Hemsted was her man. He ran Bengard for 15 years as they established an empire of 16 ranches in California and Oregon. In 2016, Jerry was named California Livestock Man of the Year at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. “Jerry worked hard with trucks, cattle, fences, ditches and rancher issues. Bengard said Jerry was helpful and worked hard for others as well as himself. Hemsted remembered everything. Jerry Hemsted knew everyone before Google.

Dan Woolery said he despised Jerry’s behavior. He was omniscient. Which is annoying, especially when he was almost right. The Red Bluff Elks Lodge held a celebration of life for Hemsted on June 17. Dan Woolery officiated, Dave Daley introduced the speakers and Lloyd Faria spoke.

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