Anyone who has ever tried to keep up with kids in baseball and softball leagues, scouts and church activities knows the meaning of the word challenge. Now double that and throw in 840 acres of grassland, 100 head of Limousin and Limousin-cross momma cows, a few Brangus bulls and a full time 40-hour-a-week job in town, and that describes the  challenges of Greg and Jennifer Fry. Located between Stoutland and Montreal, Mo., the Frys calve their cows in March, wean them in December and feed a 15 percent ration until the grass pastures are ready. “We keep them on grass until they are 700-800 pounds,” Greg explained. Greg works his cattle on his own land and another 500 acres belonging to his brother.
“My grandfather, Chris Danuser once owned 3,000 acres in this area but most of it has been sold off now. I grew up around here, graduated from Camdenton High and then joined the Air Force. After years on the East Coast and even a couple of years in England, I got homesick for the farm. That made Grandpa really mad when I quit that big East Coast job, as he saw it.” He laughed at the bittersweet memory.
Greg and Jennifer are passing the lessons of farm life on to the next generation as their children Dylan, age 11, Austyn, age 8, Jazlynn, age 7, and Zayne, age 4, are involved in their family’s farm. The children learn of the actual work of caring for the animals as well as the returns.
Greg works full-time at Modine, a local factory in the Camdenton, Mo., area, producing aluminum cooling modules for other major machinery manufacturers so that he can, as Jennifer commented, “support his farming habit.” Greg, on the other hand, also sees it as an opportunity between the two that allows Jennifer to stay home with their children.
“You cannot compensate financially for what is means for the mother to be at home with the kids,” he added with a smile.
Jennifer, who grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa, just grinned. “And I always said, I’d never marry a farmer, but now, I’m sure glad I did.”
Greg’s gentle nature can also be seen in the manner in which he raises his cattle. “We used to cowboy our cows with 4-wheelers and the whooping and hollering, but I’ve discovered handling them gently, with less noise and less stress makes a big difference. I have the same guys, childhood friends, helping me each year and I tell them how I want it done. We used to have some cows that would fight us, but I won’t run them now, never again. I keep my own heifers, they know me and I know them and it makes all the difference. Those old girls have got good memories and if you treat them well, you’ll have a lot fewer problems with them. You can tell a real difference in the meat, too. Without all that stress, the meat is much more tender, sweeter. I really do believe there is a direct correlation.
“We get our Brangus bulls from a lady in the Richland-Swedeborg area and they are also so gentle. We really appreciate that, too.”
On a high point of the land above his home, while his cattle grazed, Greg stopped to take in the incredible panoramic view that stretched for miles. “I miss the old folks, like my grandfather and the stories they told about the old days, like surviving the Depression. Grandpa talked about riding across this part of the country on a regular basis in a wagon and how long it took just to make it past that last long stretch of road before town. That’s just a whole different way of life from how we live today.”
Greg Fry has a firm hold on the future as he chauffeurs kids to ball games most early summer evenings, even as he fondly remembered the roots that brought him back to the farm after years in the big city.  
“My grandfather and his friend and partner, Russell Jeffries taught me all about farming and I have to say, I’m really grateful,” Greg concluded.


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