They’re pretty big, furry, and honestly kind of intimidating at first…
The Priest family was first introduced to yaks in 2016 where they started it as kind of an experiment, now turned business. Their daughter Bethany says, “So we’re called a yak or 2 ranch because that was the original plan was to get a couple yaks to kind of enjoy them…the more we learned about it we really caught onto the yak bug and now we have like 44 animals.” It quickly turned into a way of life.
They own in Mancelona, where their daughter Bethany tends to the yaks and gives visitors tours, educating people on the wooly creatures.
But the question is WHY yaks?
Well, Yaks produce an insulative undercoat of desirable wool fiber that is warmer than cashmere, naturally hypoallergenic, and naturally antibacterial. The Priests have their own store where they make craft goods from wool, like hats and gloves. Their meat is also extremely heart-healthy, and is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, bison or chicken breast, tuna, or salmon. Yaks also take up less space than cattle and are built to survive an intense natural habitat, hence why they thrive in Northern Michigan.
After experiencing the ranch for myself, I can say that their personality is friendly, especially when you have treats! Bethany tells me, “Each of them has their own unique personality. Some are very very sweet and love every inch of them to just be rubbed down.”
You can visit the ranch by scheduling a tour. For more information on how you can have your own yak experience, visit their webpage .