Eden man spends retirement ranching yaks

May 22, 2018, 10:02 PM

EDEN, Utah – Brett Hansen’s ranch in the Ogden Valley often attracts the attention of people passing by.

“We’ve almost had several accidents,” Hansen said. “They’ll just stop right on the road, and the people behind them have to hurry and swerve around.”

The drivers likely slow down for something they’ve never seen before: about 75 yaks. Hansen doesn’t make money on the ranch. He says it’s just something he took on for fun as part of his retirement.

Brett Hansen

“We wanted something a little different,” Hansen explained. “I grew up raising Herefords, and they were just too stupid for me.”

While it is a lot of work, he says his wife was on board with the idea, too.

“It was kind of my wife and my youngest daughter’s idea,” Hansen said. “They said it would be worth it, but I think sometimes they think I’m a little out there.”

Hansen does earn back some of his money. He sells some of the yaks he raises, and there is a small market for the fur.

“That’s just like cashmere,” Hansen said. “It’s really fine, and it’s good for spinning stuff.”

He also says some people will buy the meat.

“It’s a little sweeter than beef,” Hansen explained. “And it’s very, very low fat. For instance, you get less than half the calories in a four ounce patty of burger.”

Ellie Chambers

What might be the bigger payoff for him, however, is in how much the yaks attract the attention of Hansen’s grandchildren. Four-year-old Ellie Chambers enjoys seeing the yak calves.

“I had a yak once and it got sold,” Chambers said. “I love them so much that I always come to visit them.”

His grandchildren’s interest and simply being able to enjoy watching the animals in the field seem to be enough for Hansen for now.

“It’s just calming,” Hansen said. “Someday, I might even make money at it.”

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Eden man spends retirement ranching yaks