Raising pigs in Routt County is a difficult task, and then add processing and packaging, marketing and finally selling the product. Caylee Hood decided to test her industry knowledge in the pig business for her Routt County CEO Program’s* final project. She admits it was difficult to make money raising livestock due to the harsh weather in Routt County. The challenges didn’t stop Caylee from completing her farm to fridge endeavor producing four unique sausage recipes from locally raised pork. Creating budgets and profit/loss forms, strategizing a formal marketing plan that included a commercial on the local TV channel, and crafting an entire business blueprint for her locally raised and packaged sausage will provide a solid foundation for her next endeavor. This fall, she will begin studying Agriculture Business at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO.
"I have grown up fishing, so when given the opportunity, my family is always having competitions on who can catch the first fish, and in this case, I had caught the first and only fish of the day."
Caylee’s smarts are only matched by her relentless smile and genuine attitude. She grew up outside of Oak Creek and family ties run thick. Surrounded by pigs, horses and chickens, she spent her childhood on a ranch in South Routt. This naturally led her to being a part of the 4-H program* in Routt County. Once Caylee started 9th grade, she eagerly joined the FFA (Future Farmers of America)* program at SOROCCO high school. The FFA program solidified her passion for agriculture, but not without its challenges. Caylee recalls her freshman year as she tentatively walked into the welding room, surrounded by intimidating machinery. Four years later, the welding room is no longer a place of intimidation but a place that inspires confidence. Her eyes lit up as she proudly spoke about her work with the Plasma cutter and project she recently completed to make a sign.
"My family loves to go camping, so this is a picture of my family out at Ridgeway State Park this summer."
Caylee states “You have to make education work for you”. She spent her summer working at Subway saving money for her first year on campus. Caylee admits this wasn’t how she planned to spent her summer, but it is part of a much bigger picture. Saving money for school expenses was her main focus so she can put her energy towards her education once the fall semester begins. She decided on a school with lower costs than many other universities and is proud her first year of tuition is covered through receiving several scholarships from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation including the Kenny Corriveau Trade Scholarship, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Scholarship.
“I have planned the things that matter (education), but leave the things that matter most unplanned (family).”
When not welding or selling pigs, Caylee spends time camping with her family. A perfect evening would start with playing cards followed by heart to heart conversations around a campfire. Her weekends are best when they are unplanned. As Caylee states, “I have planned the things that matter (education), but leave the things that matter most unplanned (family).”
"This is a picture of my brother and I. As you can see we get along very well. Kendall, is the best friend that I never had to look for."
When school is complete, she plans to help other people on their ranches. She hopes to return back to the Yampa Valley. In the meantime, there is still pig available if you want to try one her four sausage recipes.
* Yampa Valley Community Foundation scholarships received by Caylee include the Kenny Corriveau Trade Scholarship, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation, and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Scholarship totaling $3,500 for tuition.
* The CEO program seeks to prepare people, especially youth, to be responsible, enterprising individuals who become entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial thinkers and contribute to economic development and sustainable communities.
* FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership. It is one of the three components of agricultural education.
*4-H is a youth development program for kids ages 8 to 18 that empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.