5 episodes

A true story of family, fraud, land and power in the American West. Ghost Herd is a joint production of KUOW and Northwest Public Broadcasting, both members of the NPR Network.

Ghost Herd KUOW News and Information

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 266 Ratings

A true story of family, fraud, land and power in the American West. Ghost Herd is a joint production of KUOW and Northwest Public Broadcasting, both members of the NPR Network.

    Part 4: The Crash

    Part 4: The Crash

    Cody's swindle comes crashing down, and it’s all thanks to Covid. When a giant meat operation discovers the truth about his ghost herd, they take aim at Cody.

    • 28 min
    Part 3: The Gamble

    Part 3: The Gamble

    Why would someone create a ghost herd? Behind Cody Easterday’s swindle was an even-bigger gambling habit on the futures market. That vice may have changed the price of American beef slapping down on your kitchen table. We also look at how all farmin’ is a gamble.

    • 26 min
    Part 2: The Swindle

    Part 2: The Swindle

    Cowboy Cody Easterday lies big, creating a “ghost herd” of 265,000 cattle that only exist on paper and bringing in hundreds of millions of investment dollars from companies including a meat-packing giant. It’s fraud on a massive scale. We examine how he carried it out.

    • 21 min
    Part 1: The Empire Builders

    Part 1: The Empire Builders

    Meet the Easterdays – ranching royalty rooted in the Columbia Basin in southeast Washington state. But behind the well-known family name hides a dark secret, concealed in spreadsheets and bum invoices, that’s eating away at their vast empire.

    • 31 min
    Introducing Ghost Herd, coming January 10

    Introducing Ghost Herd, coming January 10

    It started as an American success story. The Easterday family took a couple hundred acres of farmland in Eastern Washington and grew it into a farming and ranching empire worth millions. Then, it all came crashing down.

    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
266 Ratings

266 Ratings

Kdean509 ,

Incredible!

It’s crazy something this size could’ve happened less than 5 miles from where I live. Very well done, can’t wait for new episodes!

Raised rural ,

An American Farm Tragedy

I listened to the first three episodes this afternoon. I grew up in a farm and ranch family and did some on my own for awhile. I can appreciate the challenges and uncertainty farmers face. I really appreciate Anna King’s reporting and understand what it takes to build relationships and trust in a community so people will talk to you. She is uniquely qualified for this reporting. I remember reading the news stories as the Easterday saga unfolded. It is nice to get this overview and see it all of a piece.

Unhappy Walker ,

You’ve got my word on it.

Reporter Anna King dies a good job as a story-teller. She also helped this city boy understand the way of life in Eastern Washington. Along the way, we stop at the annual Basin City rodeo and hear the cows moo at a dairy farm while the owner explains his digitized feed ordering system. Through it all, we learn how one of the largest corporate farmers took advantage of the trust others placed in him.

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