It's a family project," said Stephen Fugitt in describing his purebred Limousin operation near Norwood, Mo., in Wright County.  The Fugitt family—Stephen, his wife Judith, and children, Mark, Miranda, and Matthew—have been in the cattle business for about 15 years.  Matthew is the youngest of the children and the only one still at home.  Mark and his wife, Laura, live in Hartville, Mo., where he is a youth pastor, and Miranda is a student at College of the Ozarks.     
Stephen traced the history of his operation.  "We got started when we lived a couple of miles up the road.  We started on some borrowed property and had steers and old third stage cows.  Then we got into the purebred business.  We moved here in 1995 and brought the herd we had at the time here with us and expanded from there."
The Fugitt herd presently consists of 13 head, including a bull, seven cows, and five calves.  There are numerous reasons for the herd size.  "We only have 33 acres here," Stephen said.  "There was a time when we had leased property and had a few more head, but we came to the point where we decided to keep what we could here at the house. Right now, at least, we try to keep everything close. I seem to keep a fairly busy schedule. I am a pastor at the Baptist church in Norwood and a teacher.  I teach online for Columbia College and at the Missouri State University campus in Mtn. Grove."  Summer breaks from teaching at the University find Stephen teaching online classes and directing Boys' camp at Camp Calvary, thus, "farming is a part-time hobby for us and we do it because we enjoy it," he said.
Keeping the herd at a manageable size is a challenge for the Fugitts, who often sell their animals through private treaty. Although they presently seem to have a surplus of bull calves, Stephen said, "When you try to keep the numbers down to what you can run here at home, you have to sell females as well as bulls."
Judith said, "With heifers it's tough to make a decision on which good ones to get rid of."  Stephen agreed that is a challenge.
Although the purebred Limousin have very little calving difficulty, calving time can present a unique challenge to a pastor.  "Those cows seem to know when it's Sunday," laughed Judith.
Limousin are the only purebred breed the Fugitts have raised.  "In the past, when we've done the steers and old cows it didn't matter what they were," Stephen said.    He said that purebred Limousin are defined by the breed parameters as at least 92 percent Limousin.  The family started raising purebred Limousin with the purchase of five purebred heifers from King Limousin in Ava, Mo.  Stephen said, "By running purebreds, you have the EPD's and that type of thing that you can at least look at and have some idea of where they're supposed to be going, and I study these quite a bit when doing AI.
Membership in the Ozark Limousin Association has helped the family share ideas with other breeders and also got the Fugitt children started showing cattle.  "The Association encourages kids to show and helped us get started," said Stephen. 
All three children have shown at area fairs during their preteen and teen years.     Stephen appreciates the fact that working with cattle for showing "calms the animals down to where you can go out in the field and put a halter on them and walk across the field with them."
Although the Fugitt family says they have to have a job to support the cattle, they wholeheartedly recommend their small herd approach to those wishing to have a family bonding experience.  "Since we're not big farmers, it's a family project that we've enjoyed for several years, and our emphasis is really on family and rural values," concluded Stephen.


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