I’ll never forget how I first got my start in the cattle business. I was four years old and Grandpa told me if I helped him take care of a bottle calf, he would give me my very own heifer for payment. I took his business proposition seriously, and I accompanied my dad to the barn each day to offer the bull calf his bottle of milk. That fall, Dad and I looked over the replacement heifers, and I made my selection. She went on to have a bull calf that we took to the Black Hills Stock Show and sold in the Limousin sale. Shaking the customer’s hand and collecting my first paycheck, I was hooked. The rest is history.
Growing up on a cattle ranch was a valuable experience for my sisters and I. Like many farm kids, we learned how to work hard taking care of the land and the animals.
Reader Jackie Ulmer recently sent me a poem written by her son, Lucas, that she wanted me to share on the blog. Ulmer’s poem celebrates the cattle business, where his youthful enthusiasm for ranch life is evident. Ulmer is an eighth-grader and dreams of being a rancher one day.
“Making Money” by Lucas Ulmer
I wake up at the crack of dawn,
Slide on my boots as I yawn.
I shut the door and head outside,
I hop on the four wheeler and begin to ride.
Off the four wheeler to open the gate,
I’ve got to hurry before it’s too late.
There’s a problem no rancher wants to see.
A calving heifer buried to her knees.
I finally manage to get her out,
But in my mind I had lots of doubt.
I lock the heifer in the chute,
I pull the calf, which is so cute.
The calf starts sneezing, “achoo!”
This is just like us humans do.
The black, blazed, baldy faced calf,
Quickly learns to follow his mom on the cow path.
He must survive storms with hail,
Because one day he will be at the sale.
The trucker loads up my product, I am the winner,
Because soon it will be, “Beef it’s what’s for dinner.”
To you my one cow may seem funny,
But that’s my way of making money.
What did you think of Ulmer’s poem? What are your first memories as a kid on the ranch? How did you get your start in the cattle business?
Finally, I wanted to share this video of Rod and Laurie Ferguson, Chippewa Valley Angus Farms LLC, Rittman, OH, who talk to an audience of food media about the benefits of children growing up in the livestock business.
By the way, the purebred Angus operation was a farm stop for media during a grand opening weekend of events for the Certified Angus Beef® Education & Culinary Center in Wooster, OH, May 4-5. Here’s a slide show of some of the festivities.
Calling all summer grilling recipes! Send your best recipe with a photo to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered to win a $125 boot gift certificate, courtesy of Roper Apparel! Check out the details here.