Dean Ashcroft – A Giant among Nevada Farmers

Dean PU Dean Dog

I first met Dean Ashcroft in 2005. Winnemucca Farms needed some help putting up the 4th crop of alfalfa due to the lingering potato harvest. Dean had time and so he came over and helped put up the 4th crop of alfalfa. That 4th crop was cut just about right, but was rained on a couple of times. I had written it off and figured it would be feeder hay. This was before Dean went to work on it. When he was done that was some of the prettiest rained on hay I had ever laid eyes upon. He baled it perfectly; the leaf pattern on the bale was amazing. It almost made me want to buy some milk cows and see how much milk those cows would give eating that hay. From that moment on I have always thought the world of Dean Ashcroft. He is at least twice my size, and the best guy in the world. He has been working on a couple of farms north of Ely Nevada for the last few years doing what he does best… putting up hay. Dean is always looking on the bright side of everything.
Dean was born in Salina, UT in 1942. His family moved to the Boise, Idaho area in 1953. Dean graduated from Nampa High School. Dean then attended Ricks College for a year before serving a mission for his church in Northern California. Upon his return he met his wife Sherry while attending BYU. Dean tells everybody he meets that he and Sherry have been married for 100 years, he then says 50 years for her, and 50 years for me.
He studied Business/Finance/Banking; upon graduation he accepted a position with Continental Oil and worked there until 1970. He was always a little independent and wanted to work for himself. Dean moved his family back to Nampa, ID and purchased the family business, a local gas station and carwash. However, Dean still could not sit still, and began farming on the side, custom farming and trucking. In fact that is how Dean found his way to Nevada. One of his friends needed some hay hauled from Winnemucca to Idaho. He asked Dean if he was interested, and he jumped at the chance. It was not long before he moved to Nevada to work for the farmer who sold the hay to his friend.
His Nevada employer Eldon Crawford and he began doing custom farm work outside of Dunphy, NV for Newmont Gold Corporation on the TS Ranch. They helped break out the brush ground and helped put in the pivot irrigation system for the mine dewatering. This turned into a full time job for Dean, he stayed right there and farmed and began putting up the hay for them. At the peak Dean was farming 60 pivots on the TS and 12 pivots on the Dean Ranch for the Cortez Mine. Dean worked there for many years, and then began doing custom farm work all over Northern Nevada.
I am very grateful I had a chance to meet Dean; he is one of those people who have the ability to make the whole world look better. There has been many times that I have been discouraged for some reason and had to talk to Dean about something unrelated, and he always helped me get things back into perspective.

Dean’s thoughts about agriculture

1-Farming is a wonderful lifestyle
2-You better be able to thrive on stress
3-No better office than inside a John Deere Tractor
4-You probably need a rich uncle to farm in today’s world
5-He loves the lifestyle
6-Ag is great because you can be your own boss
7-Know the markets
8-Prayer works
9-No more beautiful place on earth than on the hay farms in Northern Nevada
10-Plenty of problems, but well worth it


4-1956-john-deere-520 Milk cow in a pasture


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