Empire Ranch Foundation

James Pickrell

Dr. James Pickrell is a veterinarian who worked for the Boice family at the Empire Ranch. Jim went to high school with the Boice boys (Pancho and Bob). Jim’s first involvement with the Empire Ranch as a veterinarian was when the foreman, Fred Barnett, asked him to castrate his horse. Up until then the Empire Ranch had handled all of its own veterinary work. The Empire Ranch became Jim’s first ranch account, and he did mostly work on individual animals and handled their pregnancy testing.

Jim notes that the Boice’s were excellent cattlemen—extremely well respected and smart. Their calving percentage was about 91% under Pancho Boice’s direction. The Boice’s bred Hereford cattle and developed water sources such as dirt tanks so that cattle would not have to travel many miles for water. They had a fine and healthy herd of horses that were extremely well cared for. The Boice’s also approached ranching scientifically, keeping records of weight gain, etc. and collaborating with University of Arizona scientists.

Jim describes the types of veterinary diseases and conditions he dealt with during his time with the Boices, including cancer eye, pink eye, screwworms, trichomoniasis, vest pneumonia, poisoning by weeds or Johnson grass, colic, and calving problems.

Jim also relates a few stories about John Donaldson’s ranching practices, including the fact that John controlled his animals all the way to the “factory” in order to get the best price.

Full transcript available upon request: .

Date of Interview: December 12, 2007
Interviewer: Dick Schorr