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Our family is proud of its past, but we’ve always moved optimistically forward. Although lots has changed since our ranch was founded, we still follow many of the cowboy traditions that allowed our family to thrive.



Kilts and Cowboy Hats


You might ask: what do kilts and cowboy hats have in common? Well, for us at Plateau Cattle Company, they are the trademark and memento of our founding. John’s grandfather John Hay came to Northern Alberta from Scotland in 1928 with his family, and in 1934 moved to the Nanton homestead. He came to this land with $12 in his pocket and a dream in his heart. We like to think he’d be proud of where we’re taking the ranch today. His example continues to inspire us. 

Second generation


John's mother Serena and John's late father Dan Smith shared a life of true partnership. Although they transitioned from the hard work of the ranch in 2008, they remained in the operation and passionately involved. Dan was a mentor until his passing in the Spring of 2020 and his influence lives on throughout the ranch. Serena has never shied away from hard work … driving tractors, helping cows calve or watching and/or monitoring sick calves - a role she still loves to partake in - and for that we are thankful. 

Third generation


Today, life on the ranch is still very much a family affair, with John and Laura managing the day-to-day activities and working together in everything they do – whether that’s researching genetics in the ranch office or out on horseback rounding up cattle.

John was born and raised on the ranch. Laura was also raised on a cattle operation in Ontario however she took her grass-root passion for agriculture down a different and successful career path prior to meeting John - fulfilling Director, President and CEO leadership roles in marketing and communications for 20 years. 


Laura still shares her passion for agriculture on both sides of the fence, rolling up her sleeves out in the fields, managing the day-to-day demands of the ranch, as well as in her office, continuing to lead marketing & communications strategies for her clients through her company L.L Communications Corp.


Getting by with a little help from our friends


Our Cows

Meet Emily, one of our awesome moms. Born on a truck headed to Cargill and bottle-fed since birth, Emily isn’t our typical Black Angus Cross. Year after year, Emily delivers healthy calves after a summer on the mountain range. She’s just one of the many amazing cow moms we have in our herd, and they all feel like family. She is always the first to the gate looking for a scratch.


Our Dogs

Meet "True" one of our working cattle dogs. She along with our 4 other ranch dogs are loyal ranch hands - with a work ethic that is amazing. They are part of our team and our family. They help us move cattle in some tricky mountain terrain and never give up the opportunity to come along wherever we go. It’s a good life.




Horsemanship is at the heart of our ranch. Our cattle are at ease with our horses, so we prefer horses to modern vehicles during roundups to bring our cattle home. Like people, our horses thrive with purpose and a job to do. 

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