June 29, 2023
A rancher in the mountains of Nevada is turning to walkie talkies to bring necessary communication to her operation.
Jess Trask and her father run a hay and cattle ranch in the mountains of Nevada.
“My parents bought this farm. It started as an alfalfa farm and they bought it in 2003-2004. It hadn’t been in product in like 10 years and was pretty run down. They moved here from California.”
Her parents bought their first round of cattle in 2009. She began working full time in 2015.
“I was living in Seattle in 2015. My dad had called and asked if I wanted to go to a bull sale with him in Montana. At this time, I had never been around cows before. I went to the bull sale and I was just asking so many questions. I went home and was kind of intrigued by cows so I moved back to Nevada to work on the ranch.”
She ended up getting her Master’s degree in Cattle and Nutrition. The ranch started selling direct beef in 2020. For Trask, working in agriculture gives her a unique opportunity to have a larger impact.
“The responsibility to know that this land and these animals depend on you. You know you’re part of a bigger system. You’re part of producing the food supply of the US and globally. That’s just really special and that’s something that not everyone gets to be part of. I love that we have that responsibility and we take it seriously. These animals are entrusted to us and the land is entrusted to us so we need to do our best job with it.”
Up in the mountains, Trask said cellphone service does not exist.
“We don’t have cellphone reception at the farm at all. There is zero cellphone reception at all. People think I’m joking when I say we don’t have cellphone service, but I’m not. There is none.”
WiFi hotspots also have not been a solution for a lack of cellphone service.
"We have a bunch of Wi-Fi spots at our shop, our office that we can connect to, but if you’re out on the pivots or you’re over by the cattle chute, you can’t get ahold of anyone.”
Trask and her father began using Midland Radio's X-Talker T71VP3 Two-Way Radios on the farm.
“When I got the opportunity to start working with Midland’s two-way radios and it was something that didn’t require cellphones to communicate, it was a godsend because it’s always been such a hurdle for us here.”
The handheld walkie talkies give the farm the ability to be mobile, moving around the various parts of the operation while improving efficiency.
“If any of us need to get ahold of each other, we can just easily do that with the push of a button. They’re such a blessing. “I don’t ever waste time trying to go find someone anymore. It’s been so great.”
They keep a walkie talkie in the office and shop just in case someone is walking by.
“Basically, if I’m working cows and I need something out of the shed, my dad, I’ll get ahold of him to ask him to grab something.”
Trask said the walkie talkies came in handy when her nephew was visiting and helping on the ranch.
“We also had my nephew here for two weeks during his spring break. He’s 13 and we kind of just stuck him on a tractor on a pivot, had him drag the fields. He had a radio and when his chain came apart, he was able to ask for help.”
She said Midland's walkie talkies have stood up to the test of life on the ranch.
“If any of us need to get ahold of each other, we can just easily do that. They’re such a blessing. Midland’s two-way radios have truly worked no matter where you are.”
Trask and her father just wrapped up their busiest time of year on the farm, getting the cows ready for the summer pastures.
However, now it's all about hay.
“June- we have all of the cows moved to their summer pastures and are focusing on our first cutting of hay. That usually takes about two weeks.”
She knows they can rely on the walkie talkies for maximum efficiency throughout the summer.
“During that time, we’ll really be utilizing the radios on balers so you can ask the other person what pressure you’re running on, what speed you’re running on so that all of our bales are consistent. My dad is already excited to be able to use these radios and have each baler carry one so that we can be sure that we’re running extremely consistent.”