Seven Generations of Loving the Land

For Earth Week 2021, California Cattle Council Board Member and Kern County cattle rancher Sheila Bowen reflects on generations of family loving the land that is home to the Carver Bowen Ranch. Scroll through this post to learn more and see photos of the family’s decades of commitment to caring for land.

The Carver Bowen Ranch was established in Glennville, California in the early 1870’s. There are seven generations who have lived here and raised their families along with their cattle. Each succeeding generation learns from the knowledge, successes, trials and challenges of previous generations. Knowledge of the land, the cattle, the flora and the fauna is shared, discussed, debated, and allowed to soak in like a good rain into the very pores of each generation. An appreciation of the land, the water, the forage, the trees, the wildlife and the seasons permeates all who call the ranch home. It is a tremendous gift to live so close to nature, to appreciate her beauty, and to cooperate with what she offers by way of challenges and blessings.

Living this legacy is humbling and instills a determination to make things better than you found them.

Jeff Carver with his grandson, Carver Bowen, represent the second and fourth generations of the Carver Bowen Ranch. Teaching sustainable ranch practices begins at a very young age.

Jeff Carver with his grandson, Carver Bowen

Helen Carver Bowen (fourth generation – standing) worked alongside her parents, Jeff and Emma Carver, in the day to day operation of the ranch. Later in life, Helen could often be found with her grandchildren in tow, teaching them about the flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On their outings to put out salt or check waters the children learned the names of plants and stayed on the lookout for birds and wildlife that lived in the area.

Generations on Carver Bowen Ranch

Carver Bowen (fourth generation) is working cattle with his grandson, Pascoe Bowen (sixth generation). The ranch crew is often multigenerational with three and sometimes four generations of family working side by side. Learn by doing is often the best way to impart knowledge to the next generation.

Carver Bowen Ranch

Meghan Dresselhaus (fifth generation) works with her children teaching them the finer points of horsemanship (sixth generation – Carver, Ellie, Mattie and Wes). Educating the next generation can be fun when it involves our four legged friends.

Generations on Carver Bowen Ranch

Fall is an important time on the ranch. Cattle are gathered from their upper range and brought down to lower elevations for the winter. The cycle of life is evident in many ways. The cows give birth to their calves, the leaves turn color on the oaks, the weather cools and animals prepare for winter. This photo shows the cowboy crew that will bring the cattle home from the high country. Jeff Bowen (5th generation), Howard Bailey, Alicia Bowen (sixth generation), Matthew Bowen (sixth generation), Cindy Bowen (fifth generation), and Davey Touse.

Generations on Carver Bowen Ranch

Matthew Bowen (sixth generation) and his Dad, Jeff Bowen (fifth generation) work together on the ranch. They trod the same ground, ride in the same mountains, enjoy the beauty of nature and learn her ways just as their ancestors before them did. The land provides for their families, for the cattle and for the wildlife that dwell here. They strive to steward it well for the benefit of all.

Generations on Carver Bowen Ranch

The California Cattle Council Board is made up of eleven members and eleven alternates, with each group consisting of three range cattle producers, three cattle feeders, three dairy producers, one processor, and one public member (open). The appointees were selected from nominations made by the cattle industry over a six-week nomination period and represent the diversity of cattle producers around the state, as required by the California Cattle Council Law. Learn more