CCA’s Second Vice President John Austel is a native Californian born in Anaheim. Growing up he moved every three years as his father was a corporate executive for Pacific Bell Telephone. As a child Austel spent his summers at his grandfather’s ranch in the Ozarks of Arkansas. He attended Pierce Junior College in the San Fernando Valley and then transferred to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he received a degree in animal science along with several classes in agriculture business.
During the summers while in college, and after college graduation Austel, worked for a pack station in the East side of the Sierras. He then went on to work for cattle rancher, John Lacey where he learned a multitude of skills and could incorporate what he had learned in college to the operation. After a few years, Austel transitioned to a position at Farm Credit where he was stationed in Bakersfield and Santa Maria. Being back on the central coast Austel met his wife who lived in San Diego and relocated to San Diego to start his own insurance brokerage that he owned for over 31 years.
Austel along with his wife Elizabeth have been in the cattle business for 14 years and run a sustainable regenerative natural angus operation. They run their herd on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ecological Reserve called “Rancho Jamul” a property that was a part of an Old Spanish Land Grant that has history of over 250 years of agriculture use. With funding from the NRCS, the Austel’s livestock and practices have helped to regenerate this land that at one point sat fallowed for 25 years and was subject to two wildfires. The family works with UC Berkeley Rangeland Lab, UC Extension Service, and the Resource Conservation District to conduct studies and monitor the grazing on the property. Austel’s family is also actively involved in the family operation. He has three sons, Jake, Josh and Jess, and two daughter-in-laws. Jess is currently serving as an officer in the army. Austel has three grandchildren and one more on the way.
As part of CCA’s leadership team, John looks forward to meeting members throughout the state and learning about their unique operations. Being in a serving capacity, Austel is eager to listen to, talk and understand what’s happening in other ranchers’ areas.
John can be reached at (916) 444-0845.