Cross O Ranch - Our Story

The Cross O Ranch was established in 1890 and has seen 5 generations live in the same house at the same location. It is nestled in the second deepest canyon in the continental United States and the beauty and views are absolutely breathtaking. Despite its harsh terrain, it is home to some of the best land to raise and harvest cattle. 

In late 2016, the Cross O Ranch had to make a big shift. After the death of current owner and 4th generation rancher Dave Wilson, his kids, Derek and Amy, were forced to make some life-altering decisions. The ranch, which is one of the oldest family run ranches in Idaho, was on the verge of being sold to a developer and the kids weren’t about to let their legacy die. When they had to take on a massive debt to keep the ranch going, they had to make some changes to the way things had always been done.

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The family had always operated on the model of shipping out their calves in the fall where they were sent to commercial feedlots to eventually be put into the big, monopolized corporate meat “system.” Before Dave had passed away, the corporate beef industry had lowered the price that ranchers received for high quality calves to a point so low, he wasn’t even able to make a living. The stress of dealing with these beef syndicates no doubt contributed to overwhelming stress that lead to his fatal heart attack.

In that moment, this all became very personal. Derek and his wife Jessica made the decision to pack up their four kids and move back to the ranch. It was a completely new direction but a challenge that their family was ready to take on. They knew that Cross O Ranch had been well known near and far for the quality of cows and calves that were raised along the Salmon River. Rather than continue trying to make it as a little guy begging for scraps from the big beef syndicate, they decided to take them on directly. Daily you’ll find Derek and Jessica, along with Kennedy, Riley, Kacey and Kinzey, busy on the ranch caring for the land and the animals. You will see them as a family making sure the Cross O Ranch is continued for many generations to come.

Cross O Market


We're Derek and Jess Wilson

We are excited you're here and we look forward to being able to serve you and your family. Here are a couple things to to know about us:

  • We have been together for 20 years and married for 15 (mostly) happy years :)
  • Running a ranch and a meat business were never part of ANY of our plans but God led us to this and we are very thankful
  • If we aren't working around the ranch or boxing meat, you can most likely find Derek coaching high school football or his kids' basketball teams, yelling at the TV during NFL games or podcasting while Jess is most likely volunteering at the school, leading her women's bible study or riding her horse.
  • ​We are both convinced vegans are trying to kill us so everyone should eat more meat!

If you’d like to follow along with their daily life on the ranch, join them on Instagram or Facebook!

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