“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Mcbride matti
Editor / Progressive Dairy

You’ve heard this phrase at least once in your life and for some it might ring true. For Jessie Jarvis, it became a business.

Planting a seed

As a product of Idaho agriculture – specifically in the livestock, farming and rodeoing communities – Jarvis and her husband, Justin, were acquainted with quite a few people in multiple circles. Jarvis received phone calls asking about work or about businesses searching for employees on a regular basis. One week in particular, Jarvis received four different phone calls asking her about employment opportunities within the agriculture and Western lifestyle industries.

“I remember thinking, ‘OK, if this is such a problem in my life and my network, this has to be a bigger problem in our industry,’” says Jarvis. “I did some Google searching and wasn’t too impressed by what I saw. I kind of sat with the idea for a while – obviously creating a job platform would be a huge undertaking – but where could I take that?”

As a rancher, wife and mom of one expecting her second child, Jarvis had a full plate. Jarvis knew it would take a lot of work to create something that could connect job seekers with employers successfully. From March to June of 2020, Jarvis ruminated on her idea.


“I couldn’t get it out of my head,” says Jarvis. “One day I sat down with Justin and told him, ‘I think we need to act on this. There’s a lot of opportunity here to help create a stronger industry – both in the present and in the future.’ We both decided to go all in on that. From June to December, we spent our time building the platform that is Of The West and then launched in January of 2021.”


Jessie Jarvis is an advocate for the Western way of life and has been invited to speak at multiple events. Photo provided by Jessie Jarvis.

‘If you build it, they will come’

Kevin Costner’s famous line in Field of Dreams might be inspirational to some, but Jarvis argues that building something is not enough. The hard work comes in marketing and selling your product.

“You have to work even harder after you launch something to see it grow – it’s just like a crop,” says Jarvis. “You don’t just put the seed in the ground and walk away. You have to be there and tend to it daily. You have to give it the perfect conditions in order for it to grow, then you can harvest your crop. But even after you harvest, you’re not done – you have to continue to put seed in the ground and work on that, too.”

Of The West operated as a completely free service for the first year. Jarvis made this decision to drive traffic to the site and increase exposure, though it was tough to invest in something for a long time before seeing a return.

“At the end of the day, I knew it created trust, and there’s nothing more important than creating trust,” says Jarvis. “One of the cornerstones of agriculture and Western industry is trust. We did that to create a strong relationship with both employers and job seekers.”

Rooted in Idaho

Born and raised in the Gem State, Jarvis got her start in agriculture as she grew up on her family’s cow-calf operation. Heavily involved in the ranch her whole life, she chased dreams of working in medicine as she began her education at the College of Idaho. A few weeks in, Jarvis found herself missing the people of the agriculture industry and realized she wanted her career to be focused in agriculture. College of Idaho did not offer any agricultural-focused courses, so Jarvis switched her major to business and tacked on a minor in accounting.

Upon graduation, Jarvis found a position with the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) as a communications director. After a few years with ICA, Jarvis was faced with the decision every farm or ranch kid must consider: returning to the family ranch. Her parents were considering hiring an additional employee, and as an only child, Jarvis knew this might be one of the last opportunities to learn the ropes from those who started the operation.

After getting married in 2014, Justin – who also comes from an Idaho ranching family – joined Jessie in working on the ranch. With another set of hands to lighten the load, Jarvis found more opportunities for her to be involved in other ventures. This included freelancing in both marketing and communications and working in Western fashion, which aided Jarvis in the experience she needed to run her own business.


The Jarvis family runs a cow-calf operation alongside Jessie's parents in King Hill. Photo provided by Jessie Jarvis.

Jarvis continues to ranch and raise her family in King Hill – something she feels “incredibly lucky” to be able to do.

“I am constantly inspired by what Idahoans do,” says Jarvis. “I’m proud of our entire state – from the boots-on-the-ground farmers and ranchers to the people at the state department of agriculture to members of our legislature – we’re one of the few states that truly cares about the future of agriculture. I can see that, ever-present, through many facets, and it’s something I’m incredibly, incredibly proud of.”

Jarvis appreciates the diversity of agriculture found in her home state and is proud of the food Idaho brings to the table.

Preparing the field

A quick conversation with Jarvis will leave one inspired by her enthusiasm for the American West. Her drive to prepare the field for future generations is contagious – fueled by her own responsibilities as a mother and respect to those who paved the way before her. In her podcast, on her website and across social media, Jarvis champions the hardworking men and women of agriculture and Western lifestyle.

As Of the West continues to grow – 6,000 users feels like a good start – Jarvis continues to find ways to create opportunities for people equally as passionate.

“It’s taken a long time – we’re three years into this and still have a long way to go,” says Jarvis. “We’ve made a really positive impact in the industry, but we still have to work at furthering our mission – explaining what we’re doing and who we’re trying to help.”

Blazing a trail for the beef industry

In March, Jarvis added the title of trailblazer to her list of accomplishments. The National Cattleman’s Beef Association’s Trailblazer program gives 10 applicants from across the U.S. skills needed to effectively communicate with consumers. Jarvis is a member of the third cohort of the program and will spend the year receiving training to communicate beef-related topics via media interviews, social media, public speaking and more. In her own words, Jarvis describes her interest and excitement for the program.

Why did you apply for this program?

JARVIS: I pride myself on being a lifelong learner, and the Trailblazer program felt like a great way to continue to grow myself as a spokesperson for our industry.

What are you most excited for?

JARVIS: I’m really looking forward to being immersed in those other sectors of the cattle industry that I haven’t had as much opportunity to be part of. When you’re raised in any sector of the industry, I think it’s really easy to then believe you know how it “all” works. I can personally tell you that is not the case. Ranchers, feeders, processors and retailers all play a very different, but vital, role in the beef supply chain. I may know how my operation works, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I know how all ranching operations work, nor do I know the fine details of the other sectors in that supply chain. I think if I want to better myself as a rancher, then I need to make a conscious effort to become just as knowledgeable on those other sectors, as I am of my own. That way I can become a stronger spokesperson for the cattle/beef industry as a whole.

What does it mean to you to be the first-ever Idaho member?

JARVIS: Technically speaking, the meaning of the word “trailblazer” is being someone who proves it can be done. So if I am the first person from Idaho to be a member of the program, I’m only proving that anyone else can do the same. I only hope I can better myself to be a strong voice for Idaho’s cattle industry, and to also help encourage others to do the same.