Our ranchers were basically born on the ranch, riding horses, herding cattle, and growing grass to feed the herd. Learning what it truly means to ranch with integrity was their version of learning to ride a bike. It’s that DNA and 150 years of tradition that translates directly to the unmatched quality and flavor that SunFed puts on your plate.
As one of our founding Ranchers Matt likes to say, “SunFed Ranch is about families coming together to traditionally raise the best-quality grass fed beef.”
Our ranchers rounded up all their life lessons to establish a standard so high and unique, founding SunFed was the natural next step. A decade later, here they are – honoring the heritage of historical California and Pacific Northwest family ranches where both cattle and American tradition thrive.
Nestled in the sprawling hills and fields of the Northern part of the Sacramento Valley, you’ll find a ranch run by the Donati family, where they have been combining technology and their own twist on tradition for as long as the ranch has been around. That’s led to superior cattle that are the heart and soul of Donati Ranch.
Chris Donati’s values were born on that ranch, and as co-Founder and CEO of SunFed Ranch, it continues to be the foundation that guides him each day. As a fourth-generation rancher, Chris was learning to ride horses before he could even take his first steps. The importance of breeding cattle the right way, and doing the right thing, was instilled in Chris from his earliest memories.
That passion for quality and integrity has only grown since Chris’ university days and is now shared by his wife Shannon. With their eyes on supporting local ranchers and his soul set on sustaining cattle ranching for future generations, the Donati legacy continues to deepen each day.
As Chris was earning his degree in Agribusiness at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors for Associated Students Incorporated, and was also involved in the Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers program. It was during this time that he undertook an unprecedented project with Hearst Ranch, helping them develop a line of grass fed beef products from cattle grazing on the Hearst Ranch property.
We’re taking you all the way back to the 60s – the 1860’s – when the Byrne family first stepped foot in Modoc County, California as some of the area’s first emigrants. It was then that the seeds of SunFed Ranch tradition were first planted, a tradition that’s being honored even as you read this.
Five generations of the Byrne family have survived war, depressions, droughts and floods, along with drastic changes in the industry. But through it all, the bounty of California’s native rangelands and the family’s commitment to innovative ranching practices has sustained the land, the cattle and the family.
The roots of the ranch run deep, with Mike Byrne now leading the herd as Ranch Manager. Of course, he couldn’t do it without the help of his loving wife Bev, son Matt (co-founder of SunFed Ranch) and daughter Brianna; it’s a family business unlike any other.
The historic ranch has been recognized for conservation leadership as a recipient of the national Excellence in Conservation award from the National Resources Conservation Service in 2004, and the California Section Excellence in Range Management award from the Society for Range Management in 1998.
But for the Byrne family, it’s not about the spotlight. It’s about waking up every day and carrying on the legacy of excellence built over more than 150 years – and upholding that tradition for the next generation of ranchers and beef eaters.