Austin Campbell is the cattle and ranch manager at Rancho San Julian. Austin comes from a long line of ranchers and farmers in Santa Barbara County. Raised on what was then known as Cojo-Jalama—a ranch that traverses some of the most beautiful coastal land in California—Austin decided at an early age that he would spend his life as a rancher.
While still in school, Austin studied his chosen profession the old fashioned way—by watching and listening to some of the region’s most skilled ranchers. Under the guidance of these seasoned experts, Austin learned first-hand the technical realities of raising cattle and maintaining healthy grasslands, and he also developed a deep appreciation for the unique history and traditions of California ranch life.
At just 20 years old, Austin began managing a large cattle herd that grazed on Vandenberg Air Force Base’s 30,000 acres of grassland. During the 16 years that he managed this program, Austin focused on building a superior breeding herd while also implementing many environmental projects—including installing clean water protections for the rangeland’s ponds, creeks, and riparian areas—and preserving archeological, historical, and cultural sites.
Austin is still happiest when he is busy and outdoors. Even during his infrequent moments of free time, he is always on the move, whether pruning the apple orchard, riding horses with his family, or training his cattle dog, Gertie. Occasionally, of course, he comes in for dinner.