College of Agriculture

Della Hayden

Agriculture Business

Growing up in the small town of Etna, Della Hayden was raised on a ranch. When she goes home, she enjoys sharing her experiences through a lens.

Hayden got her first camera in 2013 when she was taking a photography class in eighth grade. Since then, she has been a photographer for weddings, senior portrait, newborns, births, families, and kids. However, her favorite thing to photograph is ranch life, by far. She loves being able to show a realistic glimpse into the business and especially taking photos of an industry that is consistently evolving so that in 10–20 years her family can look back on how far they have come.

Through Hayden's photos, ranch life seems like the American dream. What some people don't realize is all the hard work that comes with making that dream come true.

"It's easy for someone who comes to visit the ranch for a day and feeds cows from inside a warm feed truck to romanticize our way of life," says Hayden. "But to do the day-in and day-out work is what gave me my deep value for hard work and the knowledge of what it takes to get food from field to fork."

Growing up, Hayden and her brother woke up early not just for school during the week, but also on weekends to help around the ranch. When other kids were getting ready to head off to summer camp, the Hayden's were at the cabin helping with the cows.

"The business is my parent's life, and it is in no way a 9-to-5 job. I grew up seeing the ins and outs of what it takes to make a ranch succeed. Ranch work isn't left at the office, but it's brought home every day and night," Hayden explains.

From phone calls at 2 in the morning because a cow got out to a newborn calf that is having a tough time and has to sleep in the kitchen for the night, it may seem overwhelming to some. But Hayden loves the times that she can drive back home to get back to work with her family again.

On campus, she is an officer in the Young Cattleman's Association and has received the Siskiyou County Cattleman's Scholarship. Through her time at Chico State, she has found that the best way to help make the College of Agriculture your home is to get involved.