BEATTY, Ore. — “I grew up with my feet
and fingers in the dirt.”
With that type of childhood, it was no
surprise that as a young woman, Bev Mallams was eager to
have her own ranch. She and her husband, Tom Mallams, made
that desire a reality in 1978, transitioning from city life,
where he was a grocery store manager and she worked in
newspaper advertising, to a ranching lifestyle. They
purchased a 480-acre hay and cattle operation 3 miles
outside the small, remote town of Beatty.
They named their ranch, the Broken Box
Ranch, “because we figured we’d be broke the whole time
here,” said Bev Mallams.
It didn’t turn out that way for the
couple despite 40% of their first calf crop from 50 heifers
being aborted due to a disease.
A major benefit for the Mallamses in
those early years of ranching was their operation was
adjacent to the ranch owned by Bev’s parents, Bert and
“Dad taught Tom the ranch business and
I listened and learned even more,” said Bev, who had grown
up feeding livestock, changing irrigation pipe and hauling
hay on her parents’ property.
The Mallamses and Goffs shared their
time and labor on the two ranches.
The Mallamses slowly built their own
cattle herd and grew their own hay. They increased their
herd to 210 commercial mother cows by the mid-1980s. They
expanded their workload to custom haying in the Beatty, Bly,
Bonanza and Dairy areas.
Bev’s specialties in the hay process
were irrigating, raking, baling and helping load trucks.
“It’s been a very good life and we
love it, but it’s also a hard life,” said Bev, now 69.
Tom said the hard work didn’t faze his
wife of 47 years.
“She’s the hardest working person I’ve
ever been around,” Tom said. “She looks out for others
before herself. She’s the most compassionate person I’ve
ever known. I wouldn’t be here without her.”
Bev said she made some good friends
with other women in the ag industry. She added that women in
ag don’t get enough credit for the roles they play in their
“There are so many things that women
do. … Most ranches and farms can’t run without a very good
hard-working woman involved,” she said. “That might mean
working off the ranch or farm that is then tough on the
husbands, but financially they don’t have options because
they have to supplement the family’s finances.”
Bev was able to work alongside Tom
through the years. They raised a daughter and son, and
several of their kids’ friends on the ranch. For several
years in the 1980s, there were four generations in the hay
fields at once — the Goffs, the Mallamses, their two grown
children and a couple grandkids.
Bev also experienced the ag industry
in politics when Tom served a four-year term beginning in
2013 as a Klamath County commissioner.
“I enjoyed the political side of
issues,” Bev said. “There’s lots of really, really good
people working in that area.”
They are now easing up on their
workload. They sold most of their ranch in 2020 to a
neighboring family, but retained their hay equipment with
plans to continue doing custom haying.
“We’ll try that relaxing thing, but
I’m not sure how that is going to work out,” said Bev,
indicating she’ll be back on a tractor in a hay field this
“I think we have to have faith in
agriculture,” she added. “It’s who we are. We cannot be
dependent on someone else to feed us. We can’t be dependent
on other countries to feed us. We have to do the work to
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