“When you love what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life.”
This common saying is the life motto of Jesse Larios, manager of Foster Feed Yard, Brawley, Calif. Larios is a man who wears many hats, including: generational cattleman, friend, environmentalist, family man and agricultural advocate. His understanding of the significance in health and economic security that the cattle industry provides has lead him to place a great emphasis on bridging the gap between agriculture producers and consumers.
While Larios has been able make a living in the industry he loves, it is due to dedication fueled by passion and continuous education. As he says, “I’m like a cow dog. You can call me off and kick me out of the pen, but I’ll be working to get back in because I can’t stay away from cattle.”
Larios’ industry involvement and insight has led him to be serve on Drovers CattleNetwork’s advisory board, where he and other beef industry leaders will share foresight and wisdom to help editors provide the best information to stakeholders throughout the entire industry.
- Recall an “oops” moment that actually turned into a valuable lesson. Tell us about it.
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi
When I started feeding cattle myself, it was just 13 head. I slowly built up, getting a little bigger at a time, but then one year the market changed – it set me back quite a bit. I didn’t know whether to keep moving forward or to lick my wounds and call it quits. Then I talked to one of my mentors and he said, “Jesse, you will never go broke locking in a profit. The industry has changed – it’s very dynamic and volatile. You need to look into risk management.”
At that point I started risk managing my own cattle and was able to build back.
- Where was the best steak you ate? Is there a story behind that?
The best steak I’ve ever eaten was a carne asada steak – that’s a Mexican style flank or hanger steak. It’s best enjoyed around a BBQ grill, surrounded by family and friends in a social event. That’s when you talk about the little things, which turn out to be the big things in life. The flavor of the steak compliments the moment, which compliments the people – leaving not only my tummy full, but my heart full. That’s what makes a good meal.
- What is your favorite beef recipe?
I enjoy my manhood through a smoker, a good steak as a cattleman, but my newest hobby has been crockpot cooking in order to help connect and better understand the emerging millennial market. My family makes fun of me because I’m always looking for the next great crockpot recipe!
Here are the links to Larios’ top three crockpot recipe picks:
Barbacoa – tender, flavorful meat for tacos, burritos, salads and more.
Game day chili – an easy, rich tasting chili that utilizes ground beef chuck.
Slow cooker lasagna – only 20 minutes of prep for a traditionally time consuming Italian favorite.
The longer you let them cook, the thicker the sauce and more intense the flavors. I let them go for 18-20 hours before I’ll eat them.
- What is the most extreme adrenaline pumping activity you have ever done? What is something you haven’t done, but would like to do?
The most adrenaline pumping activity I have ever experienced is seeing a new calf born and take its first breath. Watching life happen, and being part of it, to me that is a rush.
Now, one thing I have always wanted to do is find a big, strong person that I really trust, and have them hold me by the belt while I pee off the Grand Canyon!
- What are you listening to in the feed truck or during time on the road?
Music is a big part of my life because it sets a tone, a mood and an ambience. I choose my music for the tasks ahead:
When working with cattle and my employees I like to listen to Bob Wills – he’s still the king. (Click here to listen to Larios’ pick – Ida Red)
When I have to drive through the feedyard to evaluate performance on cattle, I like to listen to Dean Martin – nothing helps me focus more than his deep voice that is so smooth and suave. (Click here to listen to Larios’ pick – Mambo Italiano)
At home, when I’m relaxing or grilling on the BBQ, I love to hear Aaron Watson – he puts lyrics first, which puts a story in the music. (Click here to listen to Larios’ pick – That’s Why God Loves Cowboys)
Good music is a song that will put a tear in your eye, a lump in your throat, or a tap in your toe.
- In 10 years, I will…
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” – Mathew 25:35
“Food is a moral right off all that are born into this world.” – Normon Borlaug
I will be a leader in efficiently, sustainably producing economically affordable food like our forefathers did. I will be advocating, helping tell our wonderful people by connecting people to the food that we raise. I will be a leader at all tasks ahead, because by 2050, we have to produce enough food to feed 9 billion people.