Jens Anton Jensen, an immigrant from Denmark, began leasing land from the Brigham Young College located in the beautiful Cache Valley, Utah. The College had a large tract of land that was 9,543 acres. The students at the college could work the land and tend to the livestock to help pay for their education. Jens signed a lease in 1878 for some of the college land. A few years later, they sold him the land that he had leased, which is now in a town called College Ward. Jens always liked well-bred livestock and raised Draft Horses. Ray E Jensen, his youngest son, was interested in livestock as well and helped show the horses.
In 1917 Ray married Selma Anderson and they bought a farm in Moore, ID. When the Mackey Dam was built, they lost their water rights, so they came back to Utah in 1918 and bought 40 acres of fertile land just a mile from the farm where Ray grew up. This town is now called Young Ward and is where the family ranch is located today. Back then they raised hay, grain, and sugar beets, had 7 or 8 dairy cows, and had 100 chickens. Over the years, they found that wet sugar beet pulp and beet molasses, by-products of the sugar industry, were good cattle feed at a reasonable price. That helped Ray get interested in feeding out fat herd steers and started him into the Cattle business.
The Depression of the late twenties, early thirties, made the cattle business and all farming difficult. One year during the depression, Ray loaded his coral full of fat steers on the train and he traveled across the states with them riding in the caboose. After finally making it to Omaha, Nebraska, he received only 4 cents a pound for the fat steers, which was not very good at all.
In 1937, as times got better, Ray bought his first purebred Hereford from the Winterton brothers of Kamas, UT. He purchased 12 cows and 1 bull from them. He joined the American Hereford Association as Jensen Bros and they have been members since that time and still are to this day. As their herd size grew, they purchased two more parcels of land to add to the Young Ward ranch, 40 acres of farm land and 160 acres of good pasture along the Little Bear River. Ray involved his four sons in the operation, Mariner, Van, Gail, and Neil and their families.
Ray and his son Mariner bought a 750 acre Ranch near Montpellier, Idaho in 1949. Mariner and his family moved onto that ranch. A few years later with Ray’s help, the four boys bought another 1,500 acre ranch in Raymond, Idaho which was about 20 miles from the Montpellier ranch. Gail and Neil and their families moved onto that ranch, while Ray stayed in Young Ward. The whole family worked together as a team effort to get the cattle tended and to get the hay stacked, going from one ranch to the other. All of the hay was stacked loose in those early days, so this was a task. After a while, being spread out so far was quite difficult and so the Raymond ranch was sold and Gail and Neil moved back to the Young Ward Ranch to continue their love of farming and ranching. As land became available, 70 more acres were added to the Ranch. As each family grew, they began to prosper and grow. Mariner and his family stayed and owned and operated the Montpellier ranch. Ray, Van, Gail, Neil, and their families owned and operated the Young Ward Ranch. When Ray passed on and Van retired, Gail and Neil continued running the Ranch. Neil sold out and moved onto a ranch in Malad, Idaho. Upon Gail’s retirement, William, Gail’s youngest son, decided to purchase the entire ranch and added it to the 100 acres he was already running cattle on a few miles away in Wellsville. He and his family now own and operate JB Herefords today in Young Ward and Wellsville, growing and improving all of the property and cattle herds.
Jensen Bros motto was always, “Breed the best, and forget the rest.” The first bull they bought from the Winterton Brothers was a Prince Domino Bull, and he produced some real fabulous cows. In 1943, Ray shocked the locals when he went to Denver and bought TT Super Royal from Dan Thorton. He paid what was unheard of in those days, $4,100.00. Another bull of note was JB Promino, a bull raised right on the ranch. A son of that bull won the Red Bluff bull sale and held the record price on a bull for that sale for many years. Always looking to improve the cattle, they bought and continue to buy bulls from several of the prominent Hereford herds namely Cooper Hereford Ranch, Holden Hereford Ranch, and Jamison Herefords. In the last 30 years, JB Herefords have bred straight L1 Domino, using their own or buying from these other herds. Some of the key things noted in breeding today include a multi-trait selection, fertility, calving ease, and good performing cattle that produce beef and pay their way.
When the American Hereford Association started the Total Performance Registry, they began performance testing. The livestock specialists at the Utah State University helped us with the weighing of the cattle and that became a wonderful thing to have noted.
In addition to showing and selling bulls at the consignment bull sales, Jensen Bros showed their cattle at many of the livestock shows and fairs. The Cache Country Fair, Utah State Fair, Idaho State Fair, Twin Falls Idaho Fair, Ogden National livestock show, Pacific National Livestock show in Portland Oregon, Arizona National Livestock show in Phoenix Arizona, and the National Livestock Show. This was a great way to get the cattle advertised.
In 1977, a sale barn was built on the ranch and they stopped going to the bull sales. They began selling the bulls and heifers right there at the ranch in November every year. The Jensen Bros Bull Sale was an annual event from 1977 until 2002. Black bulls were getting more and more of the bull market and it was getting difficult to sale a big number of bulls at one sale. From that time, the bulls have been sold by private treaty.