How did you get into cattle business?

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Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Obviously I'll start.
I was born and raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The closest I came to living on a farm was between age of 4 and 9 we lived in Mesquite, Texas. Went to the rodeo and came home with a horse. Broke-broke-broke. I would lead her to a wooden fence and climb up the fence to get on. Rode bareback pretty much all the time. We raised rabbits. Well started out with pets - you know where that goes!
Left RI when I was 19 - moved to Overland Park, Kansas with parents. Met Ken, my husband and we purchased his deceased Grandfather's farm of 160 acres in Louisburg, Ks. Farm Credit and MIL held a note. We sold cull Walnut trees each year to make one of the 6 month payments. Paid extra principle with every payment. Paid it off in 10 years.
First, we already had a few riding horses, so got into breeding horses. Had a couple really nice weaned fillies that we tried to sell. Finally ended up finding a buyer for lot less than wanted - $500 each to a man that owned a famous local Western store. Few months later, we went to a small horse show. There were our two fillies. So, we casually wondered over and got talking to these people. Said, "we're interested in getting a few fillies, what would a pair like this cost?" They told us they had just bought them from XX (the Western Store owner) for $5,000.
Hubby was livid. Said, that's it. I'm getting cattle. They sell by the pound whether my name is Smith or Rockefeller!!!
Went to a local farm sale and bought 2 BWF cows supposed to be due to calve. Big Eye & Little Eye (obviously they had a black goggle eye). We didn't know how to tell when they would calve. Mares wax up on their teats and YOU KNOW!
My mom used to come to the farm 1 day a week to spend time with our daughter (we both worked in town during the day). Well, one day Mom calls and says "you have a baby!!". Ken & I got home. Looked and looked and looked for the calf. No calf. "Mom, you must have seen a dog." "No, I saw a black baby calf". Well, when a mare has a foal, that foal is in close proximity to the mare. We didn't know the cow would walk off with the calf hidden in the bushes. Quite a learning curve.
Then, we quickly got into AI and breeding Simmental. Guess what - then the price of the breeding stock depended on your REPUTATION!!!
Sold farm in 1978 and moved to New York with our best 12 head. Had our first purebred calf born in NY that first year. Ironically, a farm owned by David Rockefeller LEASED cows from us for flushing.
Quite an ironic twist.

How did you start?
 
I have always maintained that I am in the horse business first and foremost, the hay business 2nd, and cattle 3rd. But, my grandfather always has Angus cattle, and I helped him in every aspect with this cow-calf operation til he died in 93. About every Saturday, we'd go to the local sale, even if we weren't buying or selling. My grandfather was good friends with 2 of the owners....cousin to one of them.... and very good friends with Mr. Smith, who was what some of y'all call a pin hook. During the sale, my grandpa usually sat with those 2 owners, so I would too. And before the sale, I hung out with Mr. Smith. He brought his grandson that was my age, and we hunbg out all morning. I learned a lot watching and listening to those owners and my grandpa...about this and that cattle in the ring. And I learned a LOT more from Mr. Smith...about buying, selling and trading cattle. His goal was to clear $20 a head, so he gave people pretty close to what they had hoped to get most of the time, so people would actually approach him and ask him iof he wanted to buy their cattle. $20 dont sound like much, but if you buy 50-100 in a day, $1k to $2k was a lot of money to make on a Saturday in the 70's. Trading cattle really got my attention, I already loved horse trading more than anything else to do with them.

The only sustained cow-calf operation I ever fooled with was raising Corrs for roping in the 70's and 80's, and Corr - Ang crosses in the 90's when the teampenning craze swept the country. I was contracting to furnishing cattle for these events. You want them polled, and the same color. You have 30 head in the competition, and if you had 27 blacks, a hereford color, a Char and a bwf in there, then you could memorize their number, and get to them quicker and get them out if that number was called. So, that's how I first got involved with Corr x Angus. I have bought beef cows from time to time, and would have calves born before I sold them, etc., but I have never tried to keep a beef herd for year on year, and develop a program like a lot on here do, other than my granddaddy's for a few years before he died.

These days, apparently, I am in the business of paying double for nurse cows, and calves to put on them! I told Scott we might have to get another 100 Corr cows and raise another calf crop, to make enough money to fund Zeke's calf business! Right now, I do have those 22 Plummers, and those last 7 Corr cows I bought the last month or so. I am buying 10 of those Black Simm x Chi-Angus heifers, and 10 of the Chi-Angus x Black Simm heifers when they wean in July, but Clay is going to take them to his place, and pay me back as he sells their calves. If I am around in 2026!
 
The folks bought a ranch in northern California and we moved there when I was 2/3, then a farm in Minnesota until I was out of second grade. City folks learning to be country. Throwing big parties the locals would attend and talk about. We moved back into the city after that. I wanted a horse, bad, and finally the parents landed on a little place with enough room. Dad would take me out to look at horses and none of them met his approval, but we rented pasture and I got enough experience that I started gentling some for extra money by the time I was in high school. Dad finally bought three cows, one supposedly "mine" because I picked it out. One of his dropped a dead calf and the other one looked ready to have triples but wouldn't cycle and never bred. Mine bred every year on the first AI and I'd get the money from selling half a beef when her calf was a little over a year old. The other half went to my parents for buying the hay we needed for the year.
College was Animal Science specializing in beef production.
Eventually my wife and I had saved up enough for a small place in Arkansas and we made the leap. I was working for Walmart in Bentonville to make ends meet and working the sale barns, helping the vets preg check and bangs test to learn what I could learn... and I started to use what I learned to bring home bred cows. The neighbors noticed the cows in the corral and began to drop by, and they'd often go home with a cow or two. I made as much trading cattle as I made raising them.
South Dakota was another story... but that came later.
 
I guess I was born into it. 3rd generation in my family. By the time I came to life, my granddad was in his 70's, and my dad was in his 40's. My granddaddy always kept a few Charolais cattle but we were a dairy farm first and foremost. I was brought up to be a dairy farmer, and fully intended to always be one. Until I was a sophomore in high school. Dad became disabled and no matter what, we just couldn't cover for the costs of feed and fertilizer for the upcoming year. So we had to sell out the dairy, which caused a pretty good rift between my dad and granddad. I spent the rest of high school helping granddad. After high school, I managed a neighbor's farm and continuing to help granddad, and eventually started buying cows (private treaty) and putting them on rented ground. As he got older, I basically took over granddaddy's farm, and upon his death, I bought most of the cattle from my dad (he "inherited" them). Dad kept a few but he hasn't even seen them since granddad died (he just isn't able to get out of the house). I just manage them on his behalf). I've slowly gotten the farm more organized via calving seasons, tagging/ banding, and vaccinations. Slowly trying to increase herd numbers but only working with half the acreage (dads sister sold her half of the farm). I'll often be on here asking what seems like silly questions, but I wasn't raised on beef cattle. I appreciate this forum for all the advice and inputs
 
Wife had 2 horses so we bought a house with some acreage bordering her folks acreage. I like running and fixing equipment so I bought a dozer and tinkered with it constantly while clearing fencelines and forest. Got to where we had way more pasture and hay ground than the horses could eat it 10 lifetimes, so we bought some mutt cows. Kept/keep clearing pasture and buying land to feed the ever expanding cow herd.
 
Counting back through, my maternal grandmother's side of the family, I am a seventh generation farmer on some of the family land.
My fathers's father lived on someone else's farm and raised crops and garden someone else took care of the cattle on that farm.
When my parents married they lived in town for a while then after my mother's father passed her mother moved to town and she and her brother inherited the the land their father had and it was divided between them.
Soon after some adjoining land that was part of my mothers family came up for auction and my parents bought another piece of land.
They both worked public jobs and so they ran feeder cattle ( stockers ) around 80-100 steers at a time bought in at 400 pounds and sold around 700.
I grew up helping with the steers, no experience with cows and calves until I bought my first heifers right before goi g into high school and FFA.
By that time my father's health was real bad due to emphysema and they had quit running steers and leased the farm out to my uncle.
I was hooked, with those heifers, it started a lifelong love of cows and calves. I've raised dairy calves for several years, and ran beef breed feeder calves
bought heifers to resell as bred heifers, but I've almost always had a few cows even if for a while it was just dairy nurse cows, I've always gravitated back towards cows and calves.
Started out with registered Charolais, now have commercial mainly Angus, Hereford, and BWF cows, and currently going more towards Simmental bulls.
 
Moved to the country when I was 13 . My grandpa talked me into buying a jersey heifer with her first calf. Later a bred gilt . Gilt had 12 pigs and laid on all of them and killed them . Grandpa bought her back for even money. Jersey raised me 6-8 calves . Think I gave $200 for the pair . Later I got some half Hereford x Holstein ,Guernsey , Jersey heifers from my uncles Hereford farm . He choice the best register calves and put them on those milk cows to really get them to grow off for his show string . And I bought those milk cow's calves . You talk about some cows they made . I slowly transitioned to shorthorns and later bought a herd from one of my favorite teachers and coach . We had some of the best cows in North Alabama. But we couldn't sell a bull except at a registered sale or a test station. After my dad got where he couldn't help me we sold the whole herd . After I got my children raised and working my youngest son wanted to get in the cow business. It was right after the high market 10-12 years ago so we didn't buy in at the highest prices but they weren't cheap ! I had said I'd never own black angus but those were the ones who drug their belly in the mud . I started us with 25 registered cows . Not that we wanted in the registered business but I wanted the best I could get . I bought 13 out of Oklahoma and 12 from Mrs Gizmom . All older cows , but bred and we got 4-6 calves out of all of them . Lost 2-3 along the way , old age, stifle injury and I think one to rabies ! We kept every heifer that we thought were good enough to keep . With our commercial herd we had 99 momma cows this year . That included 11 bred heifers . We also had 12 open heifers. If we can raise the hay we are going to try to keep about 100 momma cows/ heifers
 
I'm strapped for time this afternoon so I'll make it short… I was born retarded…. 😂😂😂😂😂
Have you grown out of it yet?

When I was in second grade my Dad bought me a day old Holstein bull calf. Raised him up and sold the meat. By the time I graduated from I raise up enough steers and sold halves of beef to pay for the first 2 years of college (studies animal nutrition). Then I decided to make my fame and fortune riding bareback broncs in rodeos (You will note how rich and famous I am). During that time that time I worked on a few ranches, feedlots and saleyards as a cowboy. I always had a few cows. Mid 90's I got hurt on the job. The settlement bought about 10 bred cows. By about 2007 I was up to 100 cows on leased ground. Retired in 2017 sold out in Western Washington and bought a small for this part of the world ranch. All of my neighbors make their entire living running cows. So I am retired and own a ranch. That is an oxymoron. Today I own 53 bred cows and 5 fall pairs. But I am going to the sale tomorrow so that number is subject to change.
 
I was labor to be lent to family when not in use at home.
If I wasn't helping with, hay or cattle I was using a push plow in the garden. Still have that push plow was my great grandfather's. We rode a horse to go hunting when I was a kid.
Most trouble I ever got into was riding my grandma's mule off, dogs spooked the mule threw me and ran off.
That's when I found out they all valued the mule more than me.
Mom and dad weren't into cattle it was more chickens and hogs. I'm not fond of either killing chickens and scalding them still turns my stomach.
Worse smell on earth.
Uncle ran 250 head of gerts on my grandma's place. He bought after my grandfather passed. I spent a lot of time at my grandmas, so I was introduced early on to cattle.
 
I was raised on the beach (Puget Sound, Dun, knew exactly where) , 1 acre lot just a dog and a boat . I bought a Holstein/Hereford cross heifer when I moved out, and have been raising cattle for the last 40 years. $5 Bottle calves to start and now reg. Angus and limousine , trying to improve with AI
 
Pretty sure I was dropped on my head as a child @gcreekrch 🙃

I married into the property.
We were letting a fella cut hay off the place. Then one year, instead of cash we asked for a heifer for payment.
When he brought us the heifer (I didn't even have a trailer, and all I had was a hotwire and 2 donkeys) his wife say....
Are you ready for a Rocket??
I didn't have a clue!
Calf sure enough shot outta the trailer like a Rocket. Ran all over like an idiot and finally went a laid in the shade. I thought great! She will be fine. All good.
Until she went looking for her mama that was NOT here.
I chased that lil sh!t 5 miles in my ol vw bug before she tired out enough we could get a rope on her. Across the corn fields. Thru the wheat pasture. THRU idk how many fences along the way. Thru the pond down the road after she got out the second time. Now known as the "rocket pond"
Finally got her caught again and weaned her at my lovely neighbors place.

Shes coming with her 9th calf this spring....
And yes. Her names Rocket
 
I don't know really, it just happened, things evolved. I have always been interested in performance breeding, as a kid I bred and flew racing pigeons and when I got married I graduated to race horses and had some success but the time restraints didn't allow me to continue on that path. When I retired early at 56 years of age and moved to where I am now I started keeping a few cows. The worse thing I did was to buy a set of scales and I started measuring, that is when my old desire to improve kicked in and the rest is history.

Ken
 
I grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois in the '60s. Most people worked oil field related jobs. Our house was the first sawmill in the area in the mid 1800s and the wind coming off the lake blew right through it. We had three wood stoves for heat. This was back when it was still cold for four months in that area.
It was a small farm with hogs, chickens, horses, ducks. We were never row croppers but did raise all of our own food. We ate everything that came off the land or out of the woods. We had a massive garden and canned for many weeks.
When Mom would go to town she would buy the necessities like salt, pepper, coffee, Vodka, and cigarettes lol. She made wine and pop made beer.
We done all of our own butchering on the farm. Never forget the first time we scalded a hog or dunked a chicken in boiling water.
We never got an allowance and we're very poor. I ran a trap line for many years as that was my only source of income, parents didn't spoil their kids rotten back then... at least where I grew up. If you wanted something you had to go earn it and I was okay with that. Bought my first car with the money I had made from trapping.
In the summertime I bailed hay for Miller's Angus farm. I also got to work the cattle with the
"old guys "and that's when I first became addicted to cattle. I made up my mind that one day I would have a ranch but that sure seemed like a pipe dream because I had $0.
So I decided I had to leave that one horse town at 18 years old and go make some money so I could build my ranch before I got too old.
Well it took 43 years before I was ready. 😐
We are very active in trying to educate the young kids about farming and ranching. We invite local school kids and the youth from our church to our ranch for a field trip so they can learn the satisfaction you get from being a rancher or farmer.
If we can inspire one child to get into
4-H or FFA or any program that could help them become a rancher or farmer then we've been successful !
Mountaintown Creek Ranch will never be big or famous or make us rich, but we are very proud of the quality cattle that we produce.
 
I grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois in the '60s. Most people worked oil field related jobs. Our house was the first sawmill in the area in the mid 1800s and the wind coming off the lake blew right through it. We had three wood stoves for heat. This was back when it was still cold for four months in that area.
It was a small farm with hogs, chickens, horses, ducks. We were never row croppers but did raise all of our own food. We ate everything that came off the land or out of the woods. We had a massive garden and canned for many weeks.
When Mom would go to town she would buy the necessities like salt, pepper, coffee, Vodka, and cigarettes lol. She made wine and pop made beer.
We done all of our own butchering on the farm. Never forget the first time we scalded a hog or dunked a chicken in boiling water.
We never got an allowance and we're very poor. I ran a trap line for many years as that was my only source of income, parents didn't spoil their kids rotten back then... at least where I grew up. If you wanted something you had to go earn it and I was okay with that. Bought my first car with the money I had made from trapping.
In the summertime I bailed hay for Miller's Angus farm. I also got to work the cattle with the
"old guys "and that's when I first became addicted to cattle. I made up my mind that one day I would have a ranch but that sure seemed like a pipe dream because I had $0.
So I decided I had to leave that one horse town at 18 years old and go make some money so I could build my ranch before I got too old.
Well it took 43 years before I was ready. 😐
We are very active in trying to educate the young kids about farming and ranching. We invite local school kids and the youth from our church to our ranch for a field trip so they can learn the satisfaction you get from being a rancher or farmer.
If we can inspire one child to get into
4-H or FFA or any program that could help them become a rancher or farmer then we've been successful !
Mountaintown Creek Ranch will never be big or famous or make us rich, but we are very proud of the quality cattle that we produce.
You grew up?🫢😳. Hope I never do!

62 now, 2:45 am and I am off on a 4 hour drive to the cow sale. Retarded….
 
Dad put me on a tractor when I was five years old as I was big for my age. I was stacking hay on a wagon behind a baler when I was eight years old by myself up to a thousand bales a day. Cattle farming is what I know. We got our first-round baler in 1977 and not many people had one then. I baled hay all summer for people for a few years up to 2500 rolls a year starting at age 13. I was figuring one day just how many round bales I have baled, and it is not 100K but not far from it.
 
Dad put me on a tractor when I was five years old as I was big for my age. I was stacking hay on a wagon behind a baler when I was eight years old by myself up to a thousand bales a day. Cattle farming is what I know. We got our first-round baler in 1977 and not many people had one then. I baled hay all summer for people for a few years up to 2500 rolls a year starting at age 13. I was figuring one day just how many round bales I have baled, and it is not 100K but not far from it.
You poor soul a round bailer can make a preacher cuss!
I'm terrified when I get to heaven Jesus says well you barely got in! We've saved your old Krone and you have to bail my hayfield for eternity.
 
You poor soul a round bailer can make a preacher cuss!
I'm terrified when I get to heaven Jesus says well you barely got in! We've saved your old Krone and you have to bail my hayfield for eternity.
That old chain NH baler 845 (4 1/2 x 4 1/2 bales) we bought in 1977 was more reliable that then newer balers. The biggest problem with the chain baler was if the hay was too dry it would spit it back out on starting a bale. With all the electronics on the newer balers you better have a backup plan.
 
I got into the cattle business because I'm the best wife ever.;) Mr TC and I were always in the banking industry (he was primarily electronic banking, credit/debit). Moved from Kansas to Wisconsin to Arizona to Wisconsin to Arizona and finally Texas. He was CEO/Pres of a company in Austin and finally sold it to Bank of America in 2006. And promptly announced he was going to retire (at 54). Followed by wanting to buy some land where he could hunt & fish. Okay, then, whatever you want, and we bought a section back in KS, relatively close to my family. Followed by "Let's buy some cows!". Da hell??? I'd never even been near a cow. But whatever honey, you do you and I'll go get a part time job in town. Or not! See how that turned out? I literally went from Prada to poo. Dove right in, had numerous mentors, worked closely and learned from my vet, took classes offered by K-State extension, made mistakes and learned from them. Never been happier!
 

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