Redmon always alert for new opportunities at home and abroad
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
Whether it's logging, farming in the Amazon or breeding birds, John Redmon likes to try new things.
When he was 20 years old, the lure of adventure and new places drew him from the family farm in Cascade, Idaho, where his father milked shorthorns.
He logged in the Cascade Mountains for several years, then in 1959, he began logging in Arizona. Two years later, a promoter was rounding up able bodies to log along the Amazon River in Brazil, and Redmon was the only one to take him up on the offer.
Once he got there, things were not as the promoter had painted them. The promoter himself didn't show up for nine months.
"I was married one month and four days when I went to Brazil," he said. "My wife stayed here, and I didn't have enough money to come home."
But Redmon saw opportunity and adventure in the new country, and his wife joined him two months later.
"So the two of us didn't have enough money to come home," he said.
The plan was to homestead and log the timber. That didn't quite work out either, so he adjusted his vision again.
He and a friend found a 20-acre ranch with a seven-bedroom Spanish-style house on Marajo Island for $2,000 cash -- "which we didn't have," Redmon said.
Nonetheless, they sealed the deal, buying the place on time, and in the summer of 1962 he and his wife moved in.
Redmon made money buying and selling currency on the black market. He also bought lumber along the mainland rivers and sold it on the island.
In 1963, he and his wife returned to the States to raise money for equipment and a sawmill for the operation in Brazil. He ended up working in Washington state in the construction business and stayed seven years. By then he had two children and couldn't make it back to Brazil.
So in 1968, Redmon bought a farm and put down roots at Greenleaf, near Caldwell, Idaho, and now has seven operations in the area. Buying equipment, he built his construction business, swathed and hauled hay, farmed hay and corn and started building his cattle herd.
He purchased two more ranches in Brazil in the mid-1980s with two Brazilian partners and continued to buy ranch land, raise cattle and water buffalo, plant pasture and crops and operate a brick factory and creamery. He makes a trip there every year and said he wishes he could spend more time there.
He's also found a new interest back home, breeding and raising game birds and exotic animals.
Redmon got into the business in 2005, and his daughter Kathy serves as his right hand.
"We were just raising bird hens and a neighbor had some ring-necked pheasant and wanted to get rid of them," he said.
So he bought an incubator and built some flight tents, where the chicks live until they're ready to be released into the wild.
From there his love of birds and business grew to include other breeds of game and exotic birds -- pheasant, quail, partridges, chukar and wild and domestic turkey. He now raises as many as 1,500 birds with 80 pens of mountain quail and partridges, 40 pens of ornamental pheasant and wild and domestic turkey, four incubators, one hatcher, one cooler and a flight pen. He also has a butchering facility.
Redmon is certified with the National Poultry Improvement Plan. And he's relied on his innovative nature, improvising to make the building and stocking of his facilities more affordable and the operation more efficient, including mixing his own feed.
He releases the game birds, sells chicks and eggs and will soon sell mature breeding pairs.
The fledgling business is supported by Redmon's other endeavors -- construction and cattle and farm operations. He admits he's not making a profit on the birds at present, but he sure is enjoying it.
"If we can pay for part of our feed, we'd be satisfied," he said.
Staff writer Carol Ryan Dumas is based in Twin Falls. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
John G. Redmon
Education: High school
Hometown: Greenleaf, Idaho
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