Missouri couple builds a two-state cattle operation and a cowboy ministry
GOODMAN, MO. – Every story has a beginning and a move into the country proved to be a direct path to where we find B.J. and Janet Jordan, owners of Across Jordan Cattle Co. and serving in their ministry Crossroads Horse Ministry.
B.J. Jordan was raised in Goodman, Mo., until the family moved to a small acreage with a few head of cows and a couple horses. He grew up familiar with the construction business, the work his family had always done. But his grandfather liked working with horses and dogs, setting the stage for a future career and life change.
Janet grew up in south Arkansas and was always on horses, in fact she stated that her mom threw her and her siblings on just about any crazy horse, enabling them to ride just about any equine. She laughs, “My Dad said he was just the financial backer.”
B.J.’s equine experience started off a little differently.
Their neighbor had horses, so B.J.’s Dad worked out a deal to bring over a pony for B.J. to ride. By age 16 he got a job cleaning stalls. Working hard, literally from the ground up, he gradually moved up to working and training horses, while traveling to area team roping events.
After high school, he went to work for a large surveying company. The job site just happened to be in Arkadelphia, Ark., not a place he wanted to be because of the stories of Water Moccasin snakes in the swamps. But that all changed when he met Janet, and at age 18, he knew one thing for certain, he loved that girl.
They hit it off immediately with a shared passion for horses and a future vision of someday having their own ranch. They believed that nothing comes without hard praying and hard work. The young couple lived on faith and determination until the timing was right; well almost.
Although he was good at construction, he found the west and the ranch lifestyle appealing, so once the young couple settled into married life, he felt the call after reading an article in the Western Horseman magazine.
“We had a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old when B.J. came home and announced, ‘I want to ranch,’ and I said, ‘What does that mean you want to ranch?’” Janet said.
So, they packed up and headed west to Douglas, Wyo. for an interview on a ranch. The job included housing and once they were offered the job, details of operations and housing were outlined. B.J. thought he had arrived in paradise.
“They told us the back of the trailer house was the weaning pen for colts and some winters you have to tie a string from the trailer to the barn to avoid getting lost in monstrous snow drifts,” B.J. explained. “I was thought it was great and I looked over at Janet with tears down her face, who said ‘You’re not going to move me into that place are you?’”
Convinced there must be something better, they hit the road south, sleeping in their vehicle for the next two weeks, stopping at every ranch along the way until Saratoga, Wyo., at Silver Spur Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the United States, he got an interview for a position in Walden, Colo.
This would be the start and re-start of ranch work out west for the Jordan’s. But B.J. still wanted to get out on his own and go back to Missouri. It was at this time that he went out on his own.
“Then the owner, Todd Shaffer, of the ranch called saying, ‘I need B.J’, but I explained it did not work out for us. But he insisted, ‘Would you please just give it a try,’ Janet recalled. “I know it was Todd who actually called but it really was the Lord who had him make that call.”
Faith requires action
“One thing my Dad taught me was to trust God and work hard,” B.J. said.
They traveled back to the Colorado mountains and B.J. to a riding position managing some forestry permits and guiding elk hunts but they still only wanted to stay for the summer. Then in 2007, a mutual friend called and asked if we would manage another Colorado ranch, whose owner was from Tulsa.
“I told him I would give him 110 percent and we ended up being there for five years year-round. They only had 60 cows and he allowed me to sell those and just utilize the ground for grazing yearlings in the summer and work on developing a horse program where he let me start colts,” B.J. said.
After gaining various experiences in Colorado, they decided to purchase their own ranch, starting Across Jordan Cattle Company, for growing yearlings near Walden where they turn out 3,500 to 4,000 head a season. They have two other families who live on their ranch who help work the cattle and part of the internship side of the ministry.
Daughters, Aubrey and Laney, designed a logo for the cattle company, which has developed into a hat company, Across Jordan Hat Co.
“I was really intrigued by the yearling contracts, and we have done this for 11 years now. This led me to have a conversation with, Jerry Armstrong of South Texas, who sent us cattle throughout the years, and he has continued to mentor me,” B.J. said.
This led to the Missouri operation where they would pick up more contracts on yearlings with basically a background yard here with the potential to feed about 1,500 calves. Add that to the 4,000 in Walden, they have 5,500 head they oversee.
The plan worked, despite the expense of moving back and forth between Southwest Missouri and Colorado.
Missouri was always home and a good hub to the Midwest, a perfect launching place for the Crossroads Horse Ministry. Wintertime is the best time for the ministry, and it made sense to live through the cold months in Missouri.
The ministry developed into a mentoring opportunity for young men to work hard and be responsible. Blossoming into an internship program where young men get to live in a Godly home and see what a real cowboy life is like with the main goals of good work ethic, positive social skills, problem solving, humility and compassion.
Last year was the first year they had an intern at their Missouri ranch location where they fed out 1,000 head of cattle.