Samee Charriere is the co-owner of Ledgerwood Gelbvieh and Rafter C Reds in Clarkston, Washington, where she works alongside her husband and family, managing all aspects of the purebred herds and commercial cows. Breeding, vaccinating and daily management decisions are only a few of the many duties her diverse job requires her to fulfill. Samee is also a member of the Gelbvieh Association and an officer at Dick Ledgerwood and Son Inc.

Veselka carrie
Editor / Progressive Cattle

How have your experiences working on your ranch influenced your growth, personally and professionally?

Growing up in the ranching lifestyle has molded me into the person I am today. I grew up with various responsibilities that included mucking pig pens and feeding bottle calves. I progressed up to starting colts and managing bulls during breeding, then to the bull selection and daily activities as I got older. Most will tell you I live and breathe cattle – they are my life and it is what I think about 90% of the time. I am always striving to make the herd better with less resources and manage in the most efficient manner possible. Working on the ranch taught me hard work, responsibility to the livestock and land, and financial sense at a very young age.

What roadblocks have you run into, and how have you overcome them?

Roadblocks are significant for young aspiring producers, with the main one being having enough pasture to raise cattle and grow a program. I have been blessed to have my family ranch to come home to calve in the winter and most of the spring pasture. The remainder of the pasture I need, I rent locally, which can be a major challenge. Most roadblocks can be overcome with perseverance and hard work.

Who has influenced you in your role as a rancher? Why?

My dad has been a major supporter of my ability to grow my herd. Even when I attended Washington State University, I was able to keep and maintain my registered herd. He has provided labor and land support as well as advice. We don’t always see eye to eye, as I may want to try something he has already seen fail, but he has learned that sometimes he has to let me see for myself. He has supported my crazy ideas even though he sometimes shakes his head.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I have thought long and hard about this question because many people have given me great advice about different things in my life. My dad told me on our way to the first show I attended outside of our area, “They may do things differently here so, ‘when in Rome.’” That advice has been very handy in a lot of aspects of life. Sometimes you just have to step back and observe what is happening to figure out how you fit into a situation. Another piece of knowledge that was shared with me by Wally Hodges is, “Too many nice days in a row constitutes a drought” – so don’t complain about the rain or snow, just appreciate the moisture.


What advice would you give to other women in your field?

Don’t ever let being a woman stand in your way of anything. I have never seen my gender as a roadblock.

How did you end up in the occupation you have now?

There was very little question I was coming back to the ranch full time. I have always loved animals, and my happy place is working with horses, cattle and dogs. I had planned to come back to the ranch, raise and show purebred cattle from the time I left for college.

Is this what you’ve always wanted to do?

There was a time when I aspired to be a large-animal veterinarian. Organic chemistry derailed that decision, and today I am very happy it changed my career path.

If you weren’t doing what you are now, what would your job be?

This is a question I have asked myself before, especially after long hard days, but my heart is on the ranch. I have been accused of being a workaholic, but ranching also allows some freedoms a lot of people don’t enjoy. For instance, I am able to judge several cattle shows, attend stock dog clinics or other activities that a 9-to-5 job may hinder. My heart is in production agriculture.

What is your biggest pet peeve on the job?

Having to repeat a job. I like to get things done the first time and go on to the next task.

What is the best part of your day?

This really depends on the season. During calving season, the best part is watching the next generation of calves come into the world and play on the hillsides. Spring turnout on green grass and seeing big, stout calves nurse their mothers makes me proud of the product we are producing. Summer days are filled with riding, working dogs and checking cattle scattered on the summer range in eastern Washington. The best days in the fall are rainy days and cows grazing. In general, stepping back and appreciating the previous year’s decisions and watching cows, dogs and horses do what they were meant to do!

Do you involve your family in your work? If so, how?

My husband, father and I work together every day. It has its challenges but can also be very rewarding. When we are able to move cattle with mostly family, including my sisters and their kids, it makes you step back and appreciate the life we live.