Chris Jessen

Farm Name:

The Jessen Reindeer Ranch

Please describe yourself and what you do outside of the reindeer industry.

Born and raised in the beautiful state of Colorado, I live on a remote ranch west of Fort Collins with my wonderful wife, Pam, and my two adventurous children, Maddi and Bodhi.  Our ranch is also home to 2 Bactrian Camels, 3 miniature donkeys, a kangaroo, an alpaca, 3 cats, a Saint Bernard, and a variety of poultry.  We are frequently visited by elk, mule deer, bobcats, bear, and the elusive mountain lion.  My wife is a stay-at-home mom (most important job ever), substitute teacher, and marketing guru.  I climb into my truck about 15 days a month, lock myself in an operations facility, and regulate the frequency of the bulk electric system for the communities of Northern Colorado.    In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with the family, hiking, and working on projects around the house.  After a brutal 22 years of playing Rugby, my days of weekly beat downs, rock climbing, skiing, hunting and fishing have been replaced with wife, kiddo, and reindeer snuggles.

Please describe your reindeer operation. (How long have you been raising reindeer? Where is your farm located? What are your primary markets? Etc.)

Located in the mountains just West of Fort Collins, CO we started our reindeer adventure with the purchase of 2 boys and 5 girls in 2019.  Over the last 2 years we have expanded the operation to include two older gals and 2 additional bull calves.   Prior to making this leap we raised miniature cattle for approximately 15 years focusing on miniature highlands the last 5 years. We currently are focused on our breeding program and do a few off-site events during the holidays to pay for feed and supplies.  The exploration of other income potentials with our reindeer is always top of mind, and we look forward to eventually having our operation be the primary source of our family’s incomes.

Describe any roles you have served on for your state and/or national association. (Committee member, officer, etc.)

Over the last 20 years I have held many active roles in my community.  I have been the Chair of the Board of Commissioners for the City of Loveland’s Affordable Housing Committee.  I was a founding member of the City of Loveland’s Homeless Task Force.  I have been the President of the local Rotary club and was the President of my Rugby club for several years.  I am currently a volunteer Firefighter for our mountain community and serve as a board member for our homeowner’s association.  I have made presentations to our City Council, and worked directly with Mayors and County Commissioners.