Capital Press | Livestock and Horses http://www.capitalpress.com Capital Press Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:33:45 -0500 en http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg Capital Press | Livestock and Horses http://www.capitalpress.com Klamath Falls rancher stays close to home http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131216/ARTICLE/131219915 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131216/ARTICLE/131219915#Comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 14:05:47 -0500 CRAIG REED http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131219915 The Christmas packages just kept coming for Bob and Kathleen Buchanan late last year.

They came in the form of little black calves, one after another until there were eight on Christmas Day 2012. The Buchanans were close by for each of the births. The couple are longtime owners of the Buchanan Angus Ranch, located a few miles north of Klamath Falls, Ore., and raising healthy calves is their livelihood.

“It’s a love of a lifestyle,” Bob Buchanan said. “You have to love the animals, you have to love the lifestyle. It’s not a 9-to-5 job. Some days, many, many days are long, but they have their rewards.

“Some people do their job and don’t see an end result,” he added. “The rewards here are visual.”

That would be seeing their 130 purebred black Angus mother cows give birth without any complications, resulting in newborns. But if there are birthing issues, the Buchanans are close at hand and are veterans at helping with the process.

“You’re basically pouring your heart and soul into helping them survive,” Buchanan said of the cows and calves. “Even when it’s cold and blowy, I love being outside, I love being independent. We’ve been fortunate enough to make a living doing something we love to do.”

Buchanan said his cows are artificially inseminated to the best sires available in the Angus breed. The characteristics of the calves are moderate birth weights, but then rapid growth by feeding on their mothers’ milk and by grazing on the native pastures. Those genetics are passed on to their own calves. The ranch doesn’t own a creep feeder.

The Buchanan bulls are sold at 12 to 15 months of age at the ranch’s own bull sale in February at the Klamath County Fairgrounds in Klamath Falls. The sale also includes a few consignment bulls from Buchanan heifers that are now in the herds of other ranches.

Last year’s sale featured 70 bulls, and 60 to 70 bulls will be for sale at the February 2014 sale.

“It’s a good old fashioned country western hospitality event,” Kathleen Buchanan said of the bull sale weekend that starts with a showing and barbecue dinner Saturday night and the auction at noon Sunday.

The Buchanan heifers are sold privately from the ranch, either individually or in groups to both purebred and commercial operations.

Bob and Kathleen Buchanan grew up around animals in the Klamath area. Their families were long-time friends and the two of them were in 4-H together.

At age 6, Bob Buchanan led his first Hereford heifer down the road to a neighbor’s ranch to be bred by an Angus bull brought from Illinois by rancher Scott Warren. The resulting calf was black with a white face.

“Bob had the first black baldy calf in the county as far as we know,” Kathleen Buchanan said. “For that time, it was a unique combination. Scott took Bob and the cow and calf around to show at a lot of events.”

Warren had started the Algoma line of Black Angus and Bob Buchanan got his first registered Angus heifer from Warren in the mid-1960s. When Warren retired in the late 1960s, he sold part of his Angus herd to Bob Buchanan.

Although Bob Buchanan attended Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls and earned a mechanical engineering degree, his intent was always to be a rancher. He said he went to OIT so he’d be close to home and could continue to run cattle in between classes and studying.

He bought property from his grandparents in the 1970s and he and Kathleen have built their ranch up to 600 acres over the years. It’s just about a half mile from where Bob was raised.

“It’s still fun,” Bob Buchanan said of ranching. “Sometimes it’s cold and miserable, but you can’t tell a cow when to calve. I tell people we don’t own the cows, they own us.”

Buchanan Angus Ranch

Owners: Bob and Kathleen Buchanan

Location: Several miles north of Klamath Falls, Ore., alongside Klamath Lake

Acreage: 600 for pasture and hay

Cattle: 130 black Angus mother cows

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Klamath Falls rancher stays close to home http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209920 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209920#Comments Fri, 6 Dec 2013 11:56:11 -0500 CRAIG REED http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131209920 The Christmas packages just kept coming for Bob and Kathleen Buchanan late last year.

They came in the form of little black calves, one after another until there were eight on Christmas Day 2012. The Buchanans were close by for each of the births. The couple are longtime owners of the Buchanan Angus Ranch, located a few miles north of Klamath Falls, Ore., and raising healthy calves is their livelihood.

“It’s a love of a lifestyle,” Bob Buchanan said. “You have to love the animals, you have to love the lifestyle. It’s not a 9-to-5 job. Some days, many, many days are long, but they have their rewards.

“Some people do their job and don’t see an end result,” he added. “The rewards here are visual.”

That would be seeing their 130 purebred black Angus mother cows give birth without any complications, resulting in newborns. But if there are birthing issues, the Buchanans are close at hand and are veterans at helping with the process.

“You’re basically pouring your heart and soul into helping them survive,” Buchanan said of the cows and calves. “Even when it’s cold and blowy, I love being outside, I love being independent. We’ve been fortunate enough to make a living doing something we love to do.”

Buchanan said his cows are artificially inseminated to the best sires available in the Angus breed. The characteristics of the calves are moderate birth weights, but then rapid growth by feeding on their mothers’ milk and by grazing on the native pastures. Those genetics are passed on to their own calves. The ranch doesn’t own a creep feeder.

The Buchanan bulls are sold at 12 to 15 months of age at the ranch’s own bull sale in February at the Klamath County Fairgrounds in Klamath Falls. The sale also includes a few consignment bulls from Buchanan heifers that are now in the herds of other ranches.

Last year’s sale featured 70 bulls, and 60 to 70 bulls will be for sale at the February 2014 sale.

“It’s a good old fashioned country western hospitality event,” Kathleen Buchanan said of the bull sale weekend that starts with a showing and barbecue dinner Saturday night and the auction at noon Sunday.

The Buchanan heifers are sold privately from the ranch, either individually or in groups to both purebred and commercial operations.

Bob and Kathleen Buchanan grew up around animals in the Klamath area. Their families were long-time friends and the two of them were in 4-H together.

At age 6, Bob Buchanan led his first Hereford heifer down the road to a neighbor’s ranch to be bred by an Angus bull brought from Illinois by rancher Scott Warren. The resulting calf was black with a white face.

“Bob had the first black baldy calf in the county as far as we know,” Kathleen Buchanan said. “For that time, it was a unique combination. Scott took Bob and the cow and calf around to show at a lot of events.”

Warren had started the Algoma line of Black Angus and Bob Buchanan got his first registered Angus heifer from Warren in the mid-1960s. When Warren retired in the late 1960s, he sold part of his Angus herd to Bob Buchanan.

Although Bob Buchanan attended Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls and earned a mechanical engineering degree, his intent was always to be a rancher. He said he went to OIT so he’d be close to home and could continue to run cattle in between classes and studying.

He bought property from his grandparents in the 1970s and he and Kathleen have built their ranch up to 600 acres over the years. It’s just about a half mile from where Bob was raised.

“It’s still fun,” Bob Buchanan said of ranching. “Sometimes it’s cold and miserable, but you can’t tell a cow when to calve. I tell people we don’t own the cows, they own us.”

Buchanan Angus Ranch

Owners: Bob and Kathleen Buchanan

Location: Several miles north of Klamath Falls, Ore., alongside Klamath Lake

Acreage: 600 for pasture and hay

Cattle: 130 black Angus mother cows

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Rancher deals with question of future http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209921 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209921#Comments Fri, 6 Dec 2013 11:54:55 -0500 Dean Rea http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131209921 A Lane County, Ore., cattleman questions whether members of the next generation will be interested in operating the Century Farm that was established by his great-grandfather in 1908.

James “Jim” Sly and his wife, Barbara, are content to focus on pasturing calves on their 240-acre farm. They aren’t certain, however, whether any of their three daughters will want to represent the fifth generation of the family enterprise.

“A social change is occurring in this country,” says Sly, who is president of the Lane County Livestock Association. “Families are turning away from ranching.”

This trend is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which reports that “many family operations do not have a next generation skilled or willing to continue farming.”

The Sly ranch falls into the small-family farm category in which many ranchers are employed in another job and work part-time on a farm.

When the Creswell ranch could no longer support the family, Sly’s father began working days as a civil engineer and nights and weekends on the farm.

“He almost was never idle,” Sly says.

Meanwhile, Jim followed in his father’s footsteps by acquiring a civil engineering degree. After serving a hitch in the Navy, he returned home, and his parents gave the ranch to Jim and Barbara.

“I knew that outside employment was the key to keeping the farm,” Sly says. So, like his father, Sly became a civil engineer with a bridge-building company and worked part-time on the farm until his retirement 32 years later in 2010.

The family prepared for his retirement by replacing barns, upgrading tractors and haying equipment and investing in a round bale system.

During that time, Sly says automation doubled hay production, much of it on rented property.

While ranching today is primarily a part-time business, Sly says he is concerned about families turning away from cattle ranching in the United States where the average size of a cow herd is 50 head.

“The basic reason is because it’s too much work for not enough pay,” he says. “You have to get up at 4 or 4:40 to feed your cattle before you change your clothes and go to work. You spend every weekend on the farm.”

Despite the long work days, Sly says, “I still feel that it can be a good life with the right balance of farm and personal time.”

While Sly says he is uncertain whether any members of the next generation will want to continue the ranch operation, he and his wife are planning an exit strategy.

“The best thing I could do for the family would be to sell it two weeks before I die,” says the 63-year-old Sly, whose mailing address has never changed.

“Your exit strategy must deal with taxes,” he says. “In any event, I would like the family to do what’s best for the family. I’m the farmer.”

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Family keeps this ranch going http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209922 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209922#Comments Fri, 6 Dec 2013 11:53:27 -0500 Erick Peterson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131209922 “Many people think that the life of a rancher is very rich,” said Doris Hess. “Financially, it’s very tough to make it work, and people don’t get that.”

Doris and her husband, Gary, operate McBride Hereford Ranches with her son, Eric, and his wife, Becky. It is a 17,000-acre operation in Mabton, Wash., with 550 pairs of cattle and yearlings. The ranch also runs a horse program.

The ranch dates back to 1906, when Benjamin and Dollie McBride, Doris’ great-grandparents, moved to Sixprong, Wash.

“He had applied and been granted 160 acres and was there the length of time to homestead. My grandpa, Clarence McBride, started farming on Sandridge, which is still a part of this ranch,” she said.

She said that Clarence acquired a couple of heifers and built a herd of 18 cows by the age of 21.

He and following generations continued to build on that success, and Doris’ father expanded into horses.

“My dad started our horse program with a breeding program,” she said. “Our mare herd runs out on the range, which develops good feet and exceptional muscle on our colts.”

“Today Eric has continued that program and breaks, rides and sells some fantastic colts,” she said.

They have 13 mares and two studs in their breeding program.

But this is not the end of their expansion. She has also opened her own business on the side, called Wild Rags & Scarves By Doris, which sells scarves and accessories.

She said that she is happy to participate in the legacy set out by family members more than a century ago.

She met Gary when they were both college students. At that time, he was studying forestry, but he changed course. Marrying Doris, and taking up rangeland resource management, he promised Doris’ father that he would take care of his daughter and his ranch.

“The more I was around it, the more I got into it,” Gary said. “College gave me a good basis to learn, but the real lessons didn’t start until after.”

Ranching is not an 8-to-5 job, he said. It is a demanding lifestyle that can require around-the-clock work, depending upon the time of year.

At the same time, it has been a job that keeps him close to his wife and children, who had chores to do after school.

Eric, now 24 years old, recalls that he started helping on the ranch at around 3 years old, as soon as he could get on a horse.

Becky, who married Eric two years ago and lives with him on the ranch, said that there are times when they have to sleep in two-hour shifts because of the amount of work needed. Still, she enjoys it.

“I love it. It can be hard, but being able to work together is a real blessing,” she said.

McBride Hereford Ranches

Started: 1906

Generations: 5

Acres: Approximately 17,000

Location: 32 miles south of Mabton, Wash.

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Branding iron tradition stays alive http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209923 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209923#Comments Fri, 6 Dec 2013 11:48:46 -0500 Erick Peterson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131209923 Not all ranchers are ready to turn their backs to the old way of doing things.

They prefer branding their animals with old-fashioned branding irons to using newer methods, and in the process they have created business for local businesses.

Gene Hedden, rancher and owner of Harrah Farm Shop in Harrah, Wash., is one of those people who favor the older branding irons. In fact, he makes 30 to 40 of the irons every year for his customers.

“A lot of people still like these,” he said, talking about his branding irons.

He likes branding irons that he can heat up on a fire, because they create a neater mark than electric devices. He said that the electric ones can slip, especially if a person is not careful.

He also said that the older branding irons are more convenient than electric ones or freeze brands.

Also the owner and operator of the Walking H Ranch in Harrah, he said he has tried different branding methods.

Thus, he does not see much reason to change from one method to another. The old ways still work and have not needed improvement, according to Hedden.

“So why change?” he said.

Still, local ranchers are not ordering as many brands as they did in the past. Twenty years ago, he said, he would make over 100 brands per year for local ranchers. Now, he makes and sells less than half that.

In nearby Granger, Wash., artist and blacksmith Primo Villalobos, owner of Metal & Iron Artistry, has also seen a decrease in the demand for branding irons.

Growing up in Mexico, he used branding irons quite often. He would help with branding cows, horses, donkeys and other animals when he was a child. But this was nearly 40 years ago.

He said that fire branding was especially popular as thieves would commonly remove ear tags, which were also used to identify ownership.

He developed his skills in metalwork during the 1970s, making brands and horseshoes. In later years, he made fewer branding irons. People called on him to make gates and other objects. In more recent years, he established himself in the United States as an artist.

His most common customers these days customers who want decorative gates or balcony rails. He has recently sold branding irons as art pieces to local dairies.

“You probably have more people in Mexico who use these,” he said, holding up a branding iron that he put together in around 15 minutes. “And they work just fine. They’re not so hard to carry, they make a good mark and they’re traditional. People have been using these for years.”

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Wapato couple built herd on rising grass prices http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209924 http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131206/ARTICLE/131209924#Comments Fri, 6 Dec 2013 11:48:34 -0500 Erick Peterson http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013131209924 Wapato, Wash. — The growth of Roy and Janelle Moses’ ranch, Holy Cow Grassfed Beef, is a study in good timing.

The pair purchased property in June 2006 with the plan of building a herd on fertile land that most of their neighbors use for grapes, hops and other crops.

They started raising grass hay when it was going for $3 a bale, they said. As prices went up to $12, they found themselves in a good position to purchase animals.

“We lucked out because our grass was a favored mix of sweet grass, natural grass, clover, orchard grass and others,” Janelle said.

It was popular and ranchers would pay up to $15. The Moseses also continuously looked for varieties of grass to add to the mix, she said.

Roy and Janelle were also fortunate in the price and availability of animals. They purchased five cows with their grass profits, and then went shopping every time they had money. They purchased from friends, contacts and 4-H members.

Now with around 200 cows on their 128 acres, Roy and Janelle do not need to sell grass to support their herd. Nor do they have to only shop local. The herd supports itself, and when they buy, they can travel long distances to pick up top-quality cattle.

“Business is good,” Janelle said.

They had 86 calves in 2012, and expect to have even more by the end of 2013.

Their ranch continues to grow toward self-sufficiency as they approach retirement age. Now in their 60s, they said that they are putting in work now so that they can relax in the years to come.

They came to ranching with the minds of entrepreneurs — from a background that included truck driving, retail and the entertainment business.

“When you start a business, you’ve got to think about how you’re going to build it,” Roy said. “You’ve also got to consider the market. Doing what other people aren’t doing is important.”

“It’s the most important,” Janelle said.

They started Holy Cow with the aim of raising grass-fed animals, which at the time was uncommon. They have marketed the uniqueness of the animals, promoting them as extraordinarily tasty and building a customer base.

In the past few years, they said that they are proud that their organic techniques have been a positive influence in the Yakima Valley, where they reside.

Also, neighboring ranchers have been helpful to them.

“We have an amazing community in this area,” Janelle said. “You might not know it unless you lived here, but people have been good to us, and we hope that we have been just as good to them.”

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