How Amy Jo Got Started
As the secretary of Eagle Point High School called over the loud speaker in her thick southern accent, “Amy Jo you need to come down to the office,” Amy knew that meant one thing: there were cattle to receive. Growing up, her family ran cows in Northern California and Southern Oregon. When it was time to ship cattle back to Oregon, she was the go-to girl to get the trucks unloaded and cattle situated.
All growing up Amy helped on the ranch wherever she was needed and when she reached high school she was active in the FFA. She was elected President of the FFA chapter her senior year. With her dad, Ron Anderson active as a 4-H leader of a beef club, it took some serious negotiation for the then Ag teacher, Mr. Morris to talk him out of having her steer in 4-H. The same secretary who loved calling her name over loud speaker was kind enough to give her a parking pass in the school parking lot too although they both knew she wasn’t old enough to be driving.
Regardless of her age or the academic calendar, Amy was taken out of school every Friday to go to the auction with her dad. The first calf she ever owned was a bottle calf that the neighbor gave her. Once she got a little older her dad would have her pick out a replacement heifer to keep each year. When she turned about 16 years old, she took things to the next level by going into the bank to get a loan and buy her first set of 14 bred heifers.
Life After High School
After high school Amy’s first job outside of working on the ranch was working for a cutting horse trainer in Maxwell. She loped horses and cleaned stalls. She began attending Butte College in Chico, California for Agricultural Business where she completed her associates. While going to school she continued helping her dad receiving cattle in Northern California when needed.
Amy Pivots to Veterinary Science
Amy was a credit short to transfer to California State University, Chico, so she decided to take a year off and began working for Dr. Bill Gray, Dr. Art Sutfin, and Dr. Connie Ferrara at Cottonwood Vet. Dr. Ferrara was an outstanding vet who towards the end of his career Amy had the pleasure of driving around as he battled Alzheimers.
After her time at Cottonwood Vet, she came up to Rogue Equine in Eagle Point, Oregon and worked with Dr. Timmons and Dr. Ferguson. In the Fall of 2001 her sister, Molly and brother-in-law Mac were looking to go out on their own. Amy said she would step up to the plate and start working for Ron full-time.
Heading Back to the Ranch
Twenty plus years later, Amy continues working full-time for her dad while she simultaneously runs her own cow herd. She pastures her cattle in Maxwell in the winter and in the mountains of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the summer. If asked about her favorite season she will quickly respond that it is early fall, right before the crazy fall run of shipping begins. This fall was particularly devastating with the amount of wolf kills they had in their calves. After subsequent mornings of finding several calves dead they had to make a change. They decided their best option was to ship everything south early, so that no other lives would be lost.
While shoveling out her trailer before coming to meet with me, she said she was covered in manure and thinking about how times like that aren’t often shared publicly. It is oftentimes the beautiful scenery from ranches and cute calves, but “Ranching is not for the faint of heart, it is often romanticized. You see a lot of tragedy, wolf kills, it is heartbreaking and it is hard on your pocket book,” Amy said.
Advice to the Young Producer
Amy doesn’t miss a chance to share how much her family has helped her over the years, but she can tell you firsthand that working with or for family is not easy. Her dad and her have similar personalities, which can be the most trying thing at times she laughs. It is important to always remember that every day is a new day.
Amy’s Family History
Looking back at the generations before her, Amy’s great-grandfather was a cattle rancher. where Ron got his interest, spending as much time as possible with him. They talk of the days when they would drive cattle from White City up the mountain to the summer permit on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Ron’s parents were dairy farmers and had three kids, Ron, Rick, and Paulette. Ron and Rick still work together today, putting loads of cattle together from small producers all throughout Southern Oregon.
Tragic Loss Leads to New Perspectives
Ron married his wife, Jennifer Nevin in 1966 and they had three girls, Molly, Tracy, and Amy. In 2017, they tragically lost Tracy at the young age of 49. Jennifer is my husbands aunt, so I am fortunate to call them family. Back in 2013, I served as the Oregon Beef Ambassador, Tracy actually invited me to her home for a CattleWomen’s meeting to share about my experiences. Every year after that I looked forward to her warm hugs at the Red Bluff Bull & Gelding Sale. Devastatingly enough, she suddenly passed a couple of months before my husband and I met.
According to Amy, Tracy was never afraid to speak her mind, she was undeniably forgiving. Amy accounts her as the most accepting and least judgmental towards others. After losing Tracy, Amy realized how precious each day truly is. Her mantra is to live each day, be true to herself, and to not be so harsh on others.
She smiles thinking back to Tracy’s ability to always know where everyone was. No matter what they were doing, regardless of whether they were in Oregon or California, Tracy knew everyone’s whereabouts. She took care of the home place, took messages for everyone and navigated the ends and outs.
The Keto Way
Between the Fall of 2018 and into 2019 Amy tried numerous diets very unsuccessfully. She didn’t feel well or feel good about herself. Getting on a horse became difficult. She was taking prediabetic medication at the time. While at the Klamath Bull Sale she saw a Facebook Post about a Keto Challenge. She knew that she needed to do something, so she figured what the heck, just give it a try!
It was hands down the easiest diet she had ever tried. After doing a lot more research she found a group that was stricter. “They had a lot of great recipes. It is a strong support group, and it is just a super safe space that is strictly monitored,” she said. “If you knock someone down you are immediately booted out,” she continued. She really appreciated that. Amy learned a lot about food, which allows her to successfully navigate eating out. She has lost and kept off 100 lbs. now. Incredible!
After being on Keto for less than a year, she went and got her blood tested. A doctor’s appointment was coming up, so she wanted the doc to review her results during the appointment. Her doctor entered the room raving about how great her numbers were. He was absolutely shocked at the positive changes he saw in her panel. He was eager to find out what she had been doing differently. At that point she informed him that she quit taking her pre-diabetic medication cold turkey. She shared that she was simply eating Keto. His advice was, “Whatever you are doing, keep doing it.”
A Married Woman
Right around Tracy’s passing, Amy met her now husband, Tye Fitzpatrick. They were both at the Western Video Market Sale in Reno, Nevada in July. In the Summer of 2020 they tied the knot. She has loved how much he has got her out of her bubble. They enjoy going team roping as much as ranch life will allow. When the Dallas Cowboys aren’t playing, Tye is up for an adventure, but you better check the game schedule before planning. He is a die hard fan to put it lightly. In the summer, they enjoy going golfing and kayaking as much as possible. He keeps her smiling and laughing. Before she always felt there was just too much to do, and had a dad who loves to work. She shares, you have to make time for things like that or life will just go by.
Enternapure and Summit Animal Health
The current cattle market is tough, oftentimes families have to have outside income to make everything flow. Low cattle prices and high input costs got Amy thinking about what opportunities were available. She needed something that would fit into her full-time ranch life. Enter stage right, Eternapure and Summit Animal Health. Amy has found a company that aligns with her morals and serves the community that is most dear to her, the equine and ranching world. As she works on the ranch she is also able to gain an additional revenue stream selling animal supplements and building friendships with likeminded people.