(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m 30 minutes northwest of Kansas City at the J and N Cattle Ranch, the birthplace of the Black Hereford Cattle. Stay tuned where we’ll talk about the breed, the operation, and the future of this ranch. Stay with us and we’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
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(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m here with Dirck Hoagland in Leavenworth County at the J and N Cattle Ranch. First off Dirck, what does the history look like for this ranch? I understand it’s been around since the 1800s. Tell me a little bit about that. (Dirck) Yes Mikhayla. We originally homesteaded in Kansas in 1866. It was my great-great grandfather. He homesteaded the Decker Farm near Topeka, Kansas. Over time we have owned several different ranches and now we have J and N Ranch here in Leavenworth, Kansas. We have the Gunbarrel Ranch in Eskridge, Kansas, and the F. Morgan Feedyard as well here in Leavenworth, Kansas. (Mikhayla) To go off the feedyard, I understand there’s some history behind that. (Dirck) The feedyard has a one-time capacity of 999 head. We feed primarily our own cattle and we background some cattle for commercial customers. You can see it in the background we have a Roto-Mix feed truck that we feed everything. It’s a relatively modern feedyard. Basically the same equipment and everything that you would see in a big commercial feedyard owned by Cargill or something like that, just a smaller scale. But the feedyard was originally permitted by Frank Morgan, the Kansas City Banker. Kansas City is only about 30 minutes from here. He owned this feedyard back in the day and we own it today. (Mikhayla) Cool. Tell me a little bit about how and when did you take over and what it’s looked like for you since then? (Dirck) I went to college in New Orleans, played baseball there. Then I went and lived abroad in Brussels, Belgium, for a few years and got my MBA abroad then decided to come back home. I’d lived away and decided that Kansas was really the best place for me. The opportunity came up for me to come back and work and operate the cattle ranch. I found that an MBA is really important these days to owning and operating a cattle ranch. My Dad and I have been working together and I’m transitioning in to taking over the ranch over time. I’ve been here full time for five years, but have been working on the ranch really since I was a little kid. There’s a growing demand for Black Hereford cattle. I think that people no longer, when I tell someone that we raise Black Herefords they don’t say “Black Hereford, what is that?” They say, “Oh, Black Hereford cattle, I’ve heard about those. Tell me more.” They’re beginning to be recognized more and more. We are selling about 80 to 100 Black Hereford bulls every spring at our bull sale. Then in the fall we have a production sale where we have females and a few ranch-broke horses that we’ll have offered up as well in the fall. (Mikhayla) OK, great. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m here with Dirck Hoagland in Leavenworth, Kansas, to talk a little bit more about his cattle operation here. I understand you guys did found the Black Hereford. Tell me the purpose of that. (Dirck) Yes. Black Herefords were created with the idea that we could use Black Hereford bulls on Angus-based cowherds. The nation uses primarily Angus-based cows. There’s a lot of demand for cross breeding the cow herds in order to get the most heterosis out on the calves. So, what we want is to produce a Hereford bull that these people can use on the Angus-based cowherds, but keep the calves black. That way those calves qualify at sale barns for all the premiums that the black hide gives and you don’t have the red calves getting sorted off when you take that calf profit sale barn and they sell for less. That’s really the end goal. We think we’re getting close to achieving that goal all the time. (Mikhayla) Great. Do you only have Black Hereford here on the ranch? (Dirck) We have about 250 registered Black Hereford females cowherd. We also run some Angus-based commercial cows and we do a commercial bred heifer development program. We breed all these commercial Angus-based cows to Black Hereford bulls and we sell them or sometimes we’ll calve them out ourselves based on what the market is doing, we can retain ownership and calve them out ourselves or we’ll sell them just as bred females in the fall. (Mikhayla) Tell me a little bit more about your bull program here and how many you sell and raise? (Dirck) We sell about 80 to 100 Black Hereford bulls every spring in our spring sale here on the ranch in Leavenworth and we’ll retain some bulls because we need to use some ourselves. We don’t sell all the bulls that we have, we keep some for our registered cows and then we’ll keep some to use on our commercial bred heifers as well. (Mikhayla) Tell me a little bit more about your bull sale here on the ranch. (Dirck) It’s every second Saturday in February and we’ll have customers come from all over the country. We usually have it broadcast on the internet as well, because again we have a lot of people that buy from out of state. We actually just had our last bull sale not very long ago. We’re still in the process of delivering and having people come pick up their bulls. It was just about a week ago. We had bulls go to I think about 13 or 15 different states, everywhere from Virginia to New Mexico to the Dakotas, even down in Texas. (Mikhayla) Great. Thank you Dirck. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott your guest host and I’m here with Dirck Hoagland underneath his hoop barn. Tell me a little bit about this structure. (Dirck) Yes Mikhayla. We built this hoop barn about four years ago and the purpose of it was we needed additional pens to develop our Black Hereford bulls. Behind us you can see we’ve got some yearling Black Hereford bulls. These have all been sold in our production sale in the spring. They’re awaiting pick up or for us to deliver them around the country. We’ve been really happy with it. It takes the weather out of the equation. The fluctuations in warm weather, the sun’s not beating down on them when it’s warm. When it’s really cold it’s a wind break. It keeps animals from getting too cold and wet when they’re in there during the winter. (Mikhayla) So beyond what you have here on site, you have another piece of land in Eskridge. Tell me about that. (Dirck) We have the Gunbarrel Ranch near Eskridge, Kansas. It’s about 110 miles west of here. It’s 5,000 acres, all in one piece. We use that primarily for summer grazing. The ranch has about 26 miles of fence, so there is a lot of fence to maintain. But other than that it’s a very simple ranch. There’s very little labor involved out there. It’s nice. We celebrate getting the cattle out on grass. The biggest improvement we have out there is our shipping pens. We wanted a really nice set of shipping pens out there. They can hold about 2,000 head at one time and we can load a semi in about 15 minutes. It’s great. We can load cattle up and get them shipped back here quickly and efficiently and we use a John Deere Gator and ATVs a lot out there to check on the cattle. It’s a pretty efficient use of labor with how we run that ranch. (Mikhayla) Perfect. So beyond that and this here, you also do have some row crops here, tell me about that. (Dirck) We don’t have any row crops out in Eskridge. It’s just grass and barb wire, but here in Leavenworth, the Leavenworth ranch can produce alot of feed. We have about 300 acres of row crop ground on the Missouri River bottom that we farm, primarily for production of feed for the cattle here in the feedyard. We’ll grow corn and soybeans. The beans will be for cash crop. But the corn will be for corn silage and then we’ll pick whatever is left and we’ll put it in our bin for feeding the cattle. (Mikhayla) OK, great. Thank you Dirck. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m back here with Dirck Hoagland. First of all Dirck, it’s very unique that you guys started the Black Hereford. Tell me a little bit more about that. (Dirck) Yes Mikhayla, obviously starting a breed from scratch is a difficult thing to do. There were a lot of challenges along the way and it wasn’t easy, but we felt that there was a good product that we were aiming for. My parents are really the ones that did the hard work and what they were trying to achieve was an animal that has the benefits of a Hereford, the docility, the feed efficiency which is so critical anymore as we are constantly being pushed, the cattle industry in general is being pushed to produce more and more meat with less and less resources, land, food, water, etc. There’s that aspect of it. At the same time we found that we could try and maintain the qualities and the traits that the Angus influence, not just the black hair color but the marbling and the carcass quality that the Angus cattle are so well known for. We were able to do that and so that all translates into Black Baldy calves coming off of an Angus cowherd that we think out perform traditional Black Baldy calves. (Mikhayla) Beyond starting the breed, what were some other challenges you had to start an association? What does that look like? (Dirck) Yes. The association was a lot of work to start. There is a tremendous amount of record keeping to be done. My parents ran the association in its infancy and did all the record keeping and everything for the initial members and it has grown now where it’s self sustaining and there are employees that work for the association and they have a president and a board that is elected from the members. It’s a national organization that has grown beyond just being started on this ranch. (Mikhayla) Awesome. You mentioned a little bit about self sustainability. Tell me how the J and N Ranch is sustainable? (Dirck) We are able to grow all of our own feed, enough feed from our Missouri River bottom ground which is very fertile, very productive farm ground. We can produce a lot of feed and we can grow enough hay and we do have to sometimes buy a few products from other people. We have to buy hay for example if it’s a drought year and we aren’t able to produce enough. Luckily we have some local farmers that we can buy from in the area, but that helps support the local farmers around, which is a good thing. But other than that, the only items that we buy-the only feed additives that we buy from other people are the distillers grain from ethanol plants. (Mikhayla) Great. Thank you. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m here with Dirck Hoagland to talk a little bit about some changes that he’s faced over time. What are some changes you’ve seen? (Dirck) Mikhayla, the technology is always changing in the cattle industry. Not just the cattle industry, but in general. We have seen, we added the hoop barn structure that we were at earlier, that was a big change. I don’t think 10-15 years ago people would have thought of feeding cattle inside a structure like that. We’re working on updating equipment and that kind of thing. The technology involved in feeding cattle in a feedyard is getting better and better. The scales, the quality of the feed truck, the quality of the mix is always getting better. We’re paying more and more attention to nutrition and feed efficiency. Measuring how much an individual animal intakes at the feed bunk is something that is being done regularly. We can take that into account and we know that it is an inheritable trait and the offspring of that animal will give that trait to its offspring. The technology is really evolving. I think that where we are in particular at this ranch in Leavenworth, we’ve had a lot of growth from the Kansas City area coming out this way. That’s something that has changed a lot as well. (Mikhayla) With changes come challenges. What are some challenges you’ve seen over time? (Dirck) Urban encroachment is a big one, especially for this ranch here in Leavenworth. I think this ranch for us here is probably never going to expand just because land prices are getting so much higher here. Like I said urban encroachment. But, we’re nestled along the Missouri River, so I think that we aren’t at any risk of being developed right up on top of us. I think that we, as far as challenges that’s an issue. I think there are governmental issues, which we’re involved with Kansas Livestock Association and they’re at the forefront of helping all our ranchers and farmers and staying on top of those issues. It’s important. (Mikhayla) What does the future of this ranch look like? (Dirck) The end goal for me personally is to have this ranch and the feedyard and pass that off to my kids. I’ve got two boys Dayton and Reed. They’re 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 right now and right now they don’t understand anything other than they like riding in a tractor and a truck. I think my wife’s goal and my goal is to preserve the ranch and be able to hand that off to our kids someday and to maintain a legacy. We’ve been going on for, I’m the fifth generation and hopefully my boys will be the sixth generation to own and operate this ranch. (Mikhayla) OK. Thank you Dirck Hoagland from Leavenworth, Kansas, at J and N Ranch. And thank you for watching and stay tuned next week for the next episode of That’s My Farm.
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