Bill and Sharon Hoyt are the 5th generation owners of Hawley Ranch, located in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Both Bill and Sharon come from a long line of Oregon pioneers and were raised working with animals and loving the land.
Bill Hoyt’s Oregon and ranching history began when his great great grandfather embarked on the Oregon Trail in 1852 and established Hawley Ranch. The Hawley’s have always considered ranching to be much more than an occupation; ranching is a way of life, with love for and commitment to the animals and land. In 1953, more than 100 years after Ira Hawley travelled the Oregon Trail, Bill was born and raised on his family’s cattle ranch in Montana.
While ranching has always been a huge part of Bill’s life, Bill received his formal education at the University of Montana where he earned his bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and Education. Bill joined the U.S. Air Force and was on active duty for four years before teaching high school history at both Darby High School in Montana and Corvallis High School here in Oregon.
Bill also loves the thrill of scuba diving and worked as a scuba diving instructor at Oregon State University. It was his love for scuba diving that would eventually lead him to his lifelong love, Sharon Michael Hoyt.
Sharon, whose ancestors journeyed on the Oregon Trail in 1843, grew up around sheep and cattle. She has always been an outdoor-loving girl and met Bill on a scuba diving trip to the San Juan Islands. Sharon married Bill in October of 1989.
Bill & Sharon at Hawley Ranch
In 1975, Bill inherited Hawley Ranch from a long line of ancestors and began full-time management in 1978. While working on the same land as his family had for generations, he developed a connection and deep respect for those that came before him. He considers it a privilege to work alongside his family caring for the animals and the land.
During Bill’s stewardship of the ranch he has been privileged to serve as the president of The Oregon Polled Hereford Breeders Association, the Douglas County Livestock Association and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, where he currently sits on the board.
Bill takes an active role in moving Oregon agriculture ahead in challenging times both at Hawley Ranch and by testifying at the Legislature on relevant natural resource issues. Bill is committed to partnerships that extend the life of the land and Oregon’s natural resources to ensure the livestock community be flourishing 150 years from now.