Trent Cromer, Ararat, Va., loves Beefmaster cattle. The love affair began over six years ago when a friend took him to a neighbor's house to see his cattle.
“The first time I saw Beefmasters, they were grazing in a neighbor's pasture,” he remembers. “I thought they were the best looking cattle I had ever seen.”
Cromer admits that at the time he didn't know much about the cattle business or the Beefmaster breed, but with the enthusiasm he is characteristically known for, and the support and help of his wife Connie, he began the process of learning about the cattle and building the Circle C Beefmaster herd.
The Cromers made their initial Beefmaster purchases in 1993, when they attended the Little Star Dispersal in Florida and purchased 26 head. Since that time, they have continuously added numbers and quality to their herd.
Today, Circle C Beefmasters is home to one of the largest Beefmaster operations East of the Mississippi, and they own and utilize some of the most highly sought after genetics in the breed, including Scarlet's Pride, Havana and Cherokee Phantom. They have also heavily incorporated embryo transfer into their breeding program – this year they plan to calve out over 100 embryo calves.
Cromer gives a good bit of credit for Circle C's growth and success to his former ranch manager, Dean Hill, who was with him when he first started building the herd, but had to retire recently due to health reasons. Currently, Doyle Mosely is responsible for Circle C's A.I. work and helps manage the cattle. Junior Hamm and veterinarian Dr. Jim Adams have also been instrumental in the success of Cromer's program.
Cromer also credits herd consultant Mike Green, Richards, Texas, with helping him select cattle and genetics that have continually benefited his herd.
“I guess the thing that really put Trent's program on the map was the purchase of the Scarlet's Pride bull in Houston in 1996,” Green says.
Since then, Cromer and Green have been working on two things in the Circle C breeding program: 1) identifying cow families that work; and 2) selectively mating these cattle.
Consequently, they have utilized Scarlet's Pride genetics to increase vigor, to clean up underlines and add the dark red color to the herd. The Miss Scarlett cow family is known for clean underlines and early fertility. The Havana bull, in which Cromer purchased an interest last May, is being used to add length and natural muscling to the Circle C cattle. Through the use of Havana, the 293 cow family will add maternal strength and marketability to the herd.
Cromer's love for livestock and agriculture dates back to when he was just a boy. At twelve-years-old he was a licensed and very successful “horse and mule trader.” As an adult he has turned his marketing skills towards a successful business he and Connie started in 1981, Cana Produce in Hillsville, Va. Alongside the South West Virginia Farmers Market, Cana Produce markets produce in 22 states and has received a Four Star A rating, the highest rating given in the produce industry. Cromer himself has also been honored with the Business Character Award and the Merit Badge of Honor, the two highest awards presented in the produce industry.
The Cromers have also been recognized for their achievements in the Beefmaster breed. In October 1998 they were honored by Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) at their annual convention with the New Member Award. Designed to recognize the efforts and contributions made to promote BBU and Beefmaster cattle by a new member, the award seems tailor-made for the Cromers who have been a tremendous force for the breed, both in Virginia and the Southeast.
The Cromer's enthusiasm for the Beefmaster breed has been contagious in their area, and over the last few years Beefmaster cattle have enjoyed a noticeable increase in popularity in Virginia and the Carolinas.
When the Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Association (SEBBA) began looking for a regular sale site in the area, the Cromers were there to consign some of their top cattle and help promote the breed. In 1997, they went even further and built their own sale facility. Since then, they have hosted two highly successful SEBBA North Carolina-Virginia Beefmaster Classics on the last weekend in September, and plans are already in the works for the 1999 sale. The Cromers are also making plans for a future production sale of their own in 2000 or 2001.
Cromer is a lifetime member of SEBBA and BBU, serves as a board member of SEBBA and is a contributor to the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association A. I. Program. He is also a member of several marketing groups and satellites such as Rice Belt, the South Texas Beefmaster Breeders Assoc., the Lone Star Beefmaster Breeders Assoc., the Red River Marketing Assoc. and the Mid-South Marketing Group. In addition, he is an active member of the National Cattleman's Beef Assoc. and the Virginia Cattleman's Assoc.
Without question, Trent and Connie Cromer have made a positive impact on the Beefmaster breed in just six short years. Luckily, according to Green, they are in it for the long haul.
“Trent is not one of those fly by night guys,” Green says. “He has always been the best in his business, and he wants to be the best in his Beefmaster business, too. He is definitely in it for the long haul!”