ANDERSON, Calif. — B.J. Macfarlane is following in his father’s footsteps in several different ways. Those include raising his children in a ranching lifestyle, working with cattle and managing a fairgrounds complex.
Macfarlane achieved that last similarity when he was named CEO of the Shasta District Fair & Event Center in Anderson, Calif., last month.
“I am excited to continue the hard work that has contributed to the success of the Shasta District Fair & Event Center in the past and look forward to many more successful years,” Macfarlane said.
The 42-year-old is no stranger to fairgrounds because his father, Bob Macfarlane, was manager of the Sacramento County Fair for four years and of the Intermountain Fair in McArthur, Calif., for 14 years until his retirement several years ago.
The son also had experiences at fairgrounds back when he was a youth and more recently when he was the farm manager at the Shasta College Farm in Redding, Calif.
“I’ve been around the fair industry most of my life,” B.J. Macfarlane said. “When the opportunity presented itself, my experiences were the main reason I was interested in the position. It’s something I’m passionate about. I love the community here, the people in the community. For them, we need to keep the fair alive and well.”
Because the Shasta complex receives very little financial help from the state, according to Macfarlane, the goal is for it to be run as a business that can sustain itself. Macfarlane said that is possible, considering some or all of the complex is rented out every weekend. The three largest events are the Shasta County Fair in June, a logging conference in February and an outdoors and recreation show in March.
Macfarlane will bring plenty of agricultural knowledge to his new position. He was raised on the Hot Springs Ranch in Salmon, Idaho. His father managed the cattle operation and his mother, Linda, dealt with the sheep.
After the Macfarlanes moved to Grass Valley, Calif., Bob got into fair management.
After high school, B.J. Macfarlane earned a degree in animal science from Chico State University. He then worked for three years in bovine reproduction at Michigan State University while his wife, Melissa, earned her degree in bovine reproduction there.
The young couple then moved back to Northern California and eventually became partners with Bob Macfarlane in Macfarlane Livestock, a small registered Hereford cattle ranch near Cottonwood. B.J. Macfarlane also worked off the ranch, working for a couple other livestock operations before taking the Shasta College Farm job.
“We wanted to raise our kids the way I was raised,” B.J. said of his and Melissa’s decision to move to a ranch setting. The couple has three daughters: Addison, 13, Ellis, 11, and Maddox, 6.
“The ranch gives them work and teaches them responsibility,” he said.
Macfarlane Livestock has 20 registered Hereford cows and 50 recipient cows. Embryos from the registered cows are transferred to the recipient cows, resulting in about 50 registered calves a year. The young bulls are sold at sales or by private treaty and the heifers are sold privately.
Bob Macfarlane said he is proud of his son, and the decisions B.J. and Melissa have made for their family.
“He has plenty of livestock management and fairgrounds management experience,” Bob Macfarlane said of his son. “I think the fair position fits him pretty well. I think he’ll be awfully good at it because he’s comfortable around people and he’s good with details.”