The world of agriculture keeps evolving in all sorts of ways, and it is refreshing to be able to say that many things are looking up.
After spending part of a day last week talking to a man in the dairy industry, I was glad to hear that prices continue to strengthen and experts feel even more optimistic about strong profits for dairy farmers in the year to come.
We then spent part of our weekend enjoying the hospitality of our friends and neighbors Jeff, Lou Ellen and Keayla Harr on their Jeromesville farm. They invited us to attend their second purebred Hereford sale.
Folks traveled from Georgia, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana and all parts of Ohio for this event. The Polled Hereford cattle available for sale were groomed beautifully for the event, and stood quietly, as Herefords do, while all sorts of strangers looked them over closely.
Good things. Lou pointed out that this has been an interesting two years, with good things brewing in the cattle industry.
“On a positive note, we have seen two of the best years in history for the purebred and cow-calf industries. Purebred sales continue strong with an excellent demand for Hereford genetics. Feeder calves and fat cattle remain at profit-making highs.”
As the chilly wind whipped across the Harr farm, Lou and Jeff’s young daughter Keayla came along to say hello.
I said to her, “I’ll bet you’ve been busy helping get ready for this sale, haven’t you?” and she just smiled and said, “Yeah, but it’s fun!”
I couldn’t help but think, while I looked over the cattle, that the Harr family continues a tradition that was started on that farm long, long ago. My dad used to say that Pete Weidner, who came to this area with just a few coins in his pocket, was the first man to bring registered Polled Hereford cattle here.
Weidner used to say there was no other four-legged animal worth feeding. I have a feeling the Harr family just might agree with that sentiment, though I know they treat their dogs as members of the family, too.
Sturdy. While everyone else around the area had Holsteins, with a few Jersey herds and Guernsey herds thrown in, Weidner Farms’ pastures, from the 1950s onward, were sprinkled with the quiet, sturdy Herefords.
I remember as a little kid asking if there might be something wrong with those cattle, and why are they always just standing around in the pasture? I was somewhat confused when I learned that they didn’t have to be taken in to be milked every morning and every evening, leading me to believe they were all steers!
That wouldn’t have worked very well for the future proliferation of the Hereford industry, now would it?
What I have noticed about Jeff and Lou is that they understand the importance of cooperative work in the cattle industry. They continue to gather both performance and carcass data to build a stronger base for everyone in the industry.
They worked with others in the area who might be interested in selling a head or two at their sale and made them welcome. And in their sales brochure, they encouraged buyers to “make it a Buckeye weekend” and told of another Ohio sale just a two-hour drive away.
Demand. Lou said demand for Hereford bulls continues to grow and more research is being compiled to verify what those in the Hereford industry have known for a long time – “the breed really is more efficient as feed converters,” she explained.
When my husband asked Lou what she would expect one particular cow-calf duo to bring at the next day’s sale, she answered, “Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll tell you for sure!”
That particular pair brought about $11,000 on sale day and went to the successful bidders from Virginia, competing with a large crowd from many states across the U.S.
Lou and Jeff speaking of calving ease and an attractive, deep-bodied, compact bull standing calmly beside us made me think a fellow could not go wrong with a bull like him on the farm.
With a short hay supply, Lou pointed to one cow who she said thrives on “next to nothing” and has delivered some great calves.
“The hay shortage, especially bad in Georgia and Tennessee, is causing people to really look at every phase of raising cattle,” she said.
With a large crowd on the Harr farm on sale day, bidding going strong, it is obvious this is another aspect of agriculture that is showing some incredibly positive force.
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