wphoto provided
wphoto provided
Jared Vogt didn’t come to Sisters with the intent of being a cattle rancher. Nor did he come to Sisters with the intent of starting a charity that is building an orphanage in India. But God had other plans.

Jared and his family arrived here five years ago from Salem to be part of Vast Church’s pastoral team. Many of you know Jared as the youth pastor for Sisters and a familiar sight around town helping local kids. But a mission trip to southern India 14 years ago left Jared with a sense of unfinished business.

“I was struck with the kindness, generosity, and genuine love the people had.” said Vogt. “Our host family was living on $50 a month and caring for a significant number of orphans and elderly. The need was real, and difficult to understand for the average American. Elderly people were committing suicide because they couldn’t get help or didn’t want to be a burden. Orphaned children had nowhere to live. We didn’t have much money to give at the time, but I saw that even small amounts were having a major impact on people’s lives.”

Vogt’s relationship with India and the people there grew. He stayed in touch. He raised money. He visited. He hosted Indian pastors at his house. But still, there was a longing to do more.

The “more” came in the form of two cows that walked into Jared’s life last year.

“I had always been interested in healthy eating, as well as humane and sustainable farm practices.” Vogt explained. “So when I had a chance to adopt a couple of cows last year, and a friend offered pastureland, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”

Two cows for family and friends has now turned into over 20 animals and Sisters’ newest local business: HolyCow. The slogan: “Good Beef. Doing Good.” refers to the quality of the meat, and the nature of the mission.

HolyCow acquires young cows and calves in the early spring and raises them through the year for fall processing. HolyCow’s cows are free-ranged right here in Sisters. They are grass-fed, humanely treated, and never given hormones or antibiotics. HolyCow is a real nonprofit charity, with no paid employees, and all volunteer run. So all of the revenue goes directly to help orphans and elderly in India.

One of the miracles of HolyCow is the generosity of the community in supporting the cause. The pastureland that the cows are using is being leased at a reduced rate. And several local ranchers have sold Vogt cows at below-market prices.

HolyCow’s short-term goal is to raise $100,000 to construct a new orphanage that will house about 100 kids. Longer-term goals include: increasing giving by having more animals donated, securing donated vet care, and to eventually find a permanent home for HolyCow.

You can order your own Holy Cow (or portion thereof) right now. HolyCow is a cow-sharing program that caters to those with even a normal-size freezer with portions down to 1/8 of a cow available. For more information, visit HolyCowSisters.com.

Support local agriculture — celebrate National Farm Day October 12.

Editor’s note: Mike Zoormajian is an unpaid board member of HolyCow. He likes his cow friends and playing cowboy when he can. Any remuneration for this article donated back to HolyCow.