(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and we are here on the front porch of the Flint Hills near Emporia, Kansas, at the Jaret Moyer Ranch. Stay with us to see Jaret talk about his cattle, industry regulations, as well as his involvement in the Livestock Association. Stay tuned and we’ll be right back after these
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(Mikhayla) Good morning and welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott your guest host and I’m here with Jaret Moyer on his ranch. So, to start off Jaret, how long have you been or just tell me a little bit about your operation? (Jaret) OK. Mikhayla, thanks for being here with us today. We’re located in north Lyon County, Kansas. And my wife and I and my family first bought this ranch, just fairly recently as a lot of farms go, in 2003. I’d grown up in northwest Kansas and we moved from there. Started off, this was farm ground behind us and we started building barns and pens here to built up our stocker operation or backgrounding operation as some people refer to it. We originally just purchased the quarter we’re sitting on here and the 80 across the road. And we purchased those from a gentleman, prior this farm years ago had been a horse ranch where they had mares that they collected urine from for pharmaceuticals. (Mikhayla) OK. (Jaret) And that doctor was in Emporia and was kind of a significant person there. So, it’s interesting to hear some of the stories. Some of the old fence was built by people working off their doctor bills. (Mikhayla) So, you mentioned you just got this ranch, bought this land in 2003, what did your family do with cattle or in this industry before that? (Jaret) Actually, I’m fortunate, I am the fifth generation of my family here in Kansas involved in the livestock business. Originally that was started up in Doniphan County in the northeast part of the state. Later my father moved out to northwest Kansas or Phillips County and then so, the last leg here, we moved here to Lyon County we just thought for what we were wanting to do in the stocker business that this area provided us a lot of opportunities being very close to the Flint Hills, as as well as good transportation for cattle coming out of the southeast and eastern part of the U.S. (Mikhayla) OK. So, you mentioned you have two daughters. Are they interested in your operation at all? (Jaret) Well you always hope so. We’ll wait and see. They’re both currently attending Kansas State. One is in Ag Business and the other is in Ag Journalism. And so we’ll wait and see how their interests bloom and what they decide to pursue, but you’d always like to have them consider coming back to what you’ve started. (Mikhayla) So, you mentioned you’re a fifth generation farmer. So, that farm was in northwest Kansas, is that correct? (Jaret) Well it’s actually in northeast Kansas. And currently my family still has that homestead. And we, it’s a corn farm as well as they raise cattle there additionally. So, still that has a close tie to your heart. But sometimes for various reasons you pursue things elsewhere. (Mikhayla) Sure, sure. (Jaret) So, again we just thought this was a great area for the stocker business with the Flint Hills as well as our operation backgrounding cattle here. (Mikhayla) OK. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott your guest host and I’m here with Jaret Moyer in front of one of his feedlots. So to start off Jaret, what are some of the specifics behind the cattle you have here? (Jaret) These cattle right behind us are calves that would have come to us after they were gathered up as singles in the southeast. Actually these cattle came out of the Georgia state. And those cattle then come to us, usually they’re weighing somewhere from 300-600 pounds. These cattle came in weighing about 350. So, they come in light. Part of our job is to let them handle that adjustment. Usually they’re freshly weaned calves. Haven’t seen a feed bunk. So, we’ll get them up on feed. Get them healthy. Part of our job also is putting those cattle into load lots so that it’s a better package and the market tends to reward us for that, a better package to go onto the feed yards for cattle to be finished. We’ll sell those cattle somewhere weighing 750 to 800 pounds most times of the year. Part of our operation other times of the year, is that we’ll package up groups of calves coming out of similar areas for people to take to the Flint Hills as grass cattle. Those cattle we’ll bring in again at light weights, but they’ll also be merchandised somewhere around that 600 pounds instead of the 800 with the more typical feeder cattle. (Mikhayla) OK, so behind us we see your calves feeding time. What feedstuffs do you use? (Jaret) A lot of the feedstuffs we use, most of them all come from pretty close by. Our ration’s made up of prairie hay that’s grown locally as well as corn silage that we chop and purchase from neighbors. And we’re also feeding a little grass silage as well that we put up from our brome fields. And then we’re also using distillers as well as locally grown corn. (Mikhayla) And I know you had mentioned earlier you have some grazing land. Tell me about your grazing rotations and techniques. (Jaret) Right. Part of our operation too is kind of two fold in the grazing. One is that we do operate some Flint Hills grass, probably 18 miles away from the operation where those cattle are typically turned out in May. They come off in early August, late July off of a 90-day grazing period. And those cattle then are usually merchandised right off of that grass. Another part of our operation as far as using grazing is about half of our capacity is what we would call grass traps, or just small pastures. They’ll range from 15 to 25 acres. All those also have a feed bunk along them. And part of the utilization of that is that we find when we’re starting those calves, especially high risk calves that have traveled a long ways here, that allowing them to be able to get out to grass, do something besides just being in a pen, does help us a lot with the health and as well as our success on some of their conversions and performance as well. (Mikhayla) OK. Thank you Jaret. We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m here with Jaret Moyer to talk a little bit with him about some of the regulations in the cattle industry. So, how are you affected by the regulations? (Jaret) Well, right here at this location we are permitted. And we’re a small enough operation that we weren’t required that we receive a full blown permit, but what we have is a certificate from the state which allows us to have 400 animal units, which would be 800 head of the feeder type cattle that we have. So, we kind of fall in that in between which a lot of producers do Mikhayla, that we aren’t big enough that we’re a full blown CAFO, but yet we are big enough that the state and some regulations get involved. One of the interesting things about our site, is that behind these pens that we’re talking here at, is a vegetative treatment area. And that was one of the options we had when we worked with the state on trying to comply is that we could plant that grassland behind these pens so that the runoff from the feedlots, the nutrients that are absorbed in that grass we harvest that off of there each year. In our case we do it with an ensilage cutter as a hay ledge. But we harvest that each year and it’s been working tremendously. But that was one of the opportunities we had in looking at how we could comply with the regulations. Some of our other sites that we use, actually the grass traps are set outside of the regulation. We get to use those because there’s a green and growing vegetative area behind where the cattle are and where cattle are. Another one of our operations that we use is actually small enough, it’s below the 300 animal units, or 599 head. And so at this point we do not have to have any type of additional permitting or certificates on that location. (Mikhayla) Talk about some of the regulations that are in place. Are they necessary, unnecessary, maybe what are some things that if you were in charge what could you implement? Talk about that a little bit. (Jaret) You know it’s always a tough call. When you get any regulations, there’s places that they, probably it doesn’t apply, but it does. And I think that’s something that you’re always battling and that it’s easy to write a regulation, but it’s a real challenge to see how it really affects us here on the farm, whether it be our operation or somebody else’s that some thing that’s not clear in that regulation just doesn’t make a lot of sense when you get down to the farmstead. But I think that’s the big challenge in that so many times the regulations are trying to push things almost too far, in the fact that how clean is clean water? How clean should something be? It’s always a challenge. And so, I think that there’s always room for improvement on both sides. One, the people enforcing the regulations as well as those of us that are affected by it. So I think it’s just trying to have good working relationships with those groups. And we seem to have that for the most part, at least on our operation. And with what I hear from many in Kansas, with our Kansas Department of Health and Environment. (Mikhayla) OK, great. Thank you. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host and I’m back here with Jaret to talk a little bit about some industry changes over the years. So, what kind of changes have you seen from when you started until now? (Jaret) I think it’s one of the things you can always count on in the cattle business, that there’s always going to be change. Things will never stay just status quo. As much as we would like ’em to sometimes, there’s always going to be new technology, new production methods and new things to work with and work around. So, I think a lot of those changes, we still are working through in our industry is that you know, you look at NCBA’s Long Range Plan and one, a couple of the key issues that they’re hitting on is that animal ID. And that has been an issue that our industry has had a hard time getting its arms around. And how much of that do we need to do to satisfy the countries that we export to? To satisfy our customers, the people that purchase our beef? And then at what point are we impeding production or impeding some of the privacy and rights of our producers? I think that’s an issue that we’re going to have to work through over the next several years and try to get a handle on. Of course, there’s the big sustainability. That I think, it’s an issue that just trying to get some common ground on definition and what’s sustainable? I think you’ll find no more sustainable business than the beef business. I mean, cause if we aren’t sustainable, we aren’t here. And so I think that trying to work through that and communicating with our consumers. I think one of the biggest changes I’ve seen is that we’re getting further and further away from our consuming public as they get further and further away from the farm. I had a good friend, a large cattleman that told the story of how it really hit him in the face when he took his young grandson to the grocery store and the grandson didn’t know where milk came from. And yet that man’s son and things, that was just one generation off of the farm, on where milk comes from. Let alone where beef comes from or pork or other proteins and food stuffs that our industry provides. And so I think that’s something that we’re going to continue to be working on and we need to work on as an industry and especially in the cattle industry. (Mikhayla) The changes that you’ve gone through and that you’ve seen, how are you or what are the things that you are doing here on your ranch to keep up with those trends and changes? (Jaret) You know I think it’s not big things that you find. I think sometimes you find it’s the little things that you do. And then after a year or two you go, boy we’ve made some big changes. I think one of the interesting things we’re using now is a new drug protocol that was a cancer drug, that didn’t quite work from that. But they’re finding it can do some neat things as far as helping the health of the cattle, especially the high risk cattle that we get in. So, we’re doing some work with that, trying to see if that’s something that can help. It’s an alternative maybe to further antibiotic use, which is a concern with some consumers. And so I think it’s a lot of those little things that over time you start saying that made some big changes. (Mikhayla) Sure. Thank you Jaret. We’ll be right back after these messages from our sponsors.
(Mikhayla) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott your guest host and I’m here with Jaret to talk a little bit about his involvement in the Kansas Livestock Association. So Jaret, tell me your involvement and your role in that Association. (Jaret) OK Mikhayla. Currently I’m serving as that Association’s President. That lasts only about a month more here. So, as of the first of December, the first week of December we’ll hold our convention in Wichita, which our new Chairman or President will be put into place. That’s an exciting time. One, that convention is great just to get a lot of cattlemen in the state together to see what’s going on around the state, what other issues. But that’s kind of the end of a process, that we’re going to be beginning here just shortly that will start off with county round tables or area roundtables, which producers will come in and we’ll start looking at our resolutions that that Association sets every year and then finalize those in Wichita, which really helps our staff and the folks that work with the Kansas Livestock Association moving forward through their work in Topeka and in Washington, D.C. as well. (Mikhayla) OK. So, you mentioned that you’re the President of that Association. What has it done for you and what have you done for that? (Jaret) Well it sure is much more of a receiving thing, than what I’ve given to it. It’s been a great opportunity for me, just one meeting a lot of great people in this state that are in the livestock business. Also just getting to see all of the outside things that affect us here, right on this farm as well as others, and how different things from taxation to government regulation, you get to see how it has an impact. And so that has been probably the thing that I’ve learned the most through it, is how something that’s a thousand miles away can have a big impact on right here where we’re standing. (Mikhayla) Sure. OK, so lastly I guess, what have you learned from being a part of that association? How have you brought that back to your ranch here? (Jaret) What I’ve probably learned from that is it’s important for me to pay attention to those things outside and to be involved. You know, my voice is never going to be heard unless I raise it. And a great opportunity of an association, whether it be the Livestock Association or some of the crop associations, is it give producers a way to raise our voice to say, hey that doesn’t work for us. And we need to be aware of that. Also it’s really taught me to see how we’ve got to have a connection with our consumer of our product and trying to get some misconceptions that they may have cleared up if we can. (Mikhayla) OK, thank you Jaret. And thank you for watching That’s My Farm. I’m Mikhayla DeMott, your guest host. Stay tuned next week for the next episode.
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