Rabou Farms History
In 1876, my great-great grandparents made their way in a wagon to Cheyenne, Wyoming from Kearney, Nebraska. My great-great grandfather, August Rabou, was a stone mason and helped to build the Union Pacific Train Depot and the Wyoming State Capital in Cheyenne. His early death prompted my great-great grandmother, Margaret, to move east of Cheyenne to homestead 320 acres in the Albin community. Several of her children, including my great grandfather, George, followed, homesteading their own acreages in the early 1900s. As years passed, my great grandfather was the only member of the family still residing in the Albin area. George was well known for raising quality cattle and quarter horses. His sons eventually took the reigns of his operation and had children of their own who also eventually stayed on the family ranch. My grandfather, Frank, became the workhorse of the family operation. His son, my father Ed, became the first member of our family to graduate from college. He returned to the family ranching operation, where he quickly became the hub of the business, handling everything from physically laboring in the daily operations to completing the business and paperwork side of it most every night. I owe much of my work ethic, integrity and ability to manage an agricultural operation to my father’s guidance and example.
In 1999, when I was 26 years old, I had worked extensively with the state and national FFA programs and was serving as the Executive Director for the Wyoming FFA Foundation. I returned home for a couple days to help my father and his cousins do their fall cattle work. While my father and I were working cattle, he collapsed and immediately began to turn blue. I started CPR, crying for him to come back. Two days later, my mother, sister and I made the incredibly difficult decision to take him off of life support. The doctors said he was probably gone before he hit the ground.
This is really the beginning of the story of Rabou Farms. My father was my best friend and my confidant and his death was completely devastating to me. My wife, Julie, and I were just dating at the time and it had an enormous impact on our relationship and how we would move forward with our lives and eventually raise our children. The problem with our family ranch was it hadn’t grown for decades and as more people were added over that time, it left the families to live on almost nothing. Upon my father’s passing and buying his shares of the company, it was clear to me that this business model could no longer be sustainable. I returned to the University of Wyoming to finish my Bachelor degree in Agriculture Business while taking over my father’s roles at the ranch. Four years later, we left the family ranch. It was time for my wife and I to create our own business and our own legacy. There’s a lot that happens when this kind of move is made and to say it was enormously difficult would be a gross understatement. But there are a lot of character traits that are learned through trials and tribulations; perseverance, integrity in operating, honesty in dealings with others, and faith that everything will be okay even when some of the challenges and risks seem almost unbearable.
And that’s when Rabou Farms, Inc. was formed. We didn’t know how to farm, didn’t have the facilities to operate with, didn’t have the equipment to efficiently farm and didn’t have the kind of land we needed. But we knew we could figure it out. Eventually, we sold over 80% of everything we owned and decided to build a farm. And we did. Through many sleepless nights, endless days, banks that believed in us and many mistakes later, we are very proud of an operation that is clean and well-kept and can adequately care for our family and the families of those who work for us. Today, our headquarters are located where Ron’s Grandparent’s lived for 62 years. We have gone to great lengths to preserve and improve the original buildings that were part of their farm. And while we are enormously grateful for our agriculture heritage left to us by Ron’s parents and grandparents, we are even more grateful for the legacy they left behind. The legacy of not what we have and where we live, but most importantly, the legacy of who they were and who they taught us to be. We are very proud of the quality of crops we produce and how we care for the land we have been entrusted with. We continue to look for ways to innovate, improve and evolve and are always looking for ways we can improve our land so we can leave it better for future generations. We are blessed with three little boys, Carson (14), Spencer (12) and Mason (7), who truly make it all worthwhile in the end.
The organic industry is incredible and is helping to ensure the food we eat is both safe and healthy. We are very proud to be a small part of this industry and are proud that the food we produce is wholesome for American families. The relationship with our customers is critically important to our operation and our commitment lies in being a highly reliable source that produces a high quality product. We want to accommodate our customers and always welcome new ideas and suggestions. Our motto is, “A contract is only as good as the people who sign it." Any relationship that is great is mutually beneficial for both parties. When you work with us, you can be confident in the Rabou Farms stamp of integrity and quality.