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Ghost Herd

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.

Learn more about Ghost Herd.


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    Part 6: The Reckonin'

    Native Americans once owned these lands, and they still treat the Columbia Basin as their sacred home. We’ve all benefited from that taken land, but now corporations are the West’s new settlers. Meanwhile, Cody faces a federal judge and his tight-knit rural community. His sons start taking over what remains of the family’s vast operation and beat-up reputation.

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    Part 5: The Bidding War

    The Easterday empire is being broken apart. Some of the most valuable farmland in America is up for sale, and the billionaires are coming to town. The bidding war over water-rich lands shows the shift in how America farms.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.