My name is Amelia Wakley, I also go by Millie. I was born and raised right here on this ranch in Deeth, Nevada. As a child we helped all the time we weren’t in school. Ranch chores and labor teaches a kid respect, responsibility, accountability, persistence, and grit. I am grateful to have been brought up this way and couldn’t imagine it another way. The birth of my son Harris is probably the most memorable event in my life. It changes everything. Your perception of the world changes. Your goals change. The day you start thinking about the next generation, and the great things they will see, do, and be a part of, it is a great day!
My family and I reside on my parent’s, Craig and Jean Spratling’s ranch. Along with my parents, my husband, Taylor, our two children Harris (5) and Betty Jean (2) and I all work on the ranch day to day. We primarily have a commercial cow/calf operation. We sell our weaned calves every fall. Taylor and I also have Registered Angus and Hereford cattle and raise bulls for our commercial operation and also for sale. Most days begin with coffee and getting my kids fed, and ready to head out the door with me. My Mom and I work together to teach my son Kindergarten most mornings. Depending on the time of year, I chip in and help with taking care of cattle. I help with feeding, calving, branding, weaning, and processing cattle. During the summer, I operate a swather through haying season. I take our kids along to help as much as possible. During the majority of the year I try to ride my horses at least 4 days a week in the evening. We also eat a lot of meals at my parent’s house. We all enjoy cooking and eating as a family. Calving season and spring time brings new life and heightened energy which I appreciate! Branding season is a pretty tough one to beat however. It is filled with great memories with family and friends catching up and having fun roping!
In 2001 and 2007 we experienced 2 wildfires that burned about 80% of our ranch’s range. My parents lost approximately 20 cows. It was devastating, initially. In hind sight, I can say it was the best thing that has happened to the range.
The best part of Ranching for me is working around animals daily and being able to share working in this environment with my family. The rewards that come with this sort of challenging work make the long days and stress all worth it! Interesting enough, my favorite thing to do is work cattle with Taylor! We don’t argue much. I have found if you have a game plan for the day and you always keep communicating it makes for a lot less stress and more fun. I think one of the biggest challenges of Ranching is working with biological cycle of the cow. We are bound by events such as gestation, lactation and timely marketing our product. Agriculture is unique because we deal with so many unknowns. We cannot change the markets or the weather and our product is reliant on the good weather and affected by market ups and downs. We try to plan ahead; Make sure to save a few open days if changes in the schedule have to take place. We work together and try to work as efficiently and effectively as possible. We rely of each other to be there if extra help is necessary. Every lifestyle has its challenges. We work very hard and deal with stress associated with Ranching, but so does everyone else. Life is what you make of it. The work never ends when you are moving forward, whether you are in the corporate world or the Ranching world. It is most important to have a positive outlook. Every one of us has dealt with stress.
It is important for people to understand how dedicated ranchers are to the land they work and the animals they raise. We are close to our food and we want to raise a superior product for consumers worldwide. The more we educate others about our lifestyle and what exactly we do and why, the fewer misconceptions about farming and ranching there will be.