Billie and Dorothy Blevins rely on the traits offered by Angus to keep their operation running efficiently

The Billie Blevins farm in Boone County is a rare place for the Ozarks. His 128-acre cattle farm is almost flat. No hills, no hollers, just good flat ground. Billie was born in the area and has owned the property where they live since 1957. Just a few years later he and his new bride, Dorothy, built a house and moved on the place. They’ve now been married 52 years, raised three children and are still in the same house after all these years.
Billie said his wife has always helped him with the cattle, and still does. However, Dorothy does have her own day job. She’s worked for many years at Bergman High School. She said, “If I didn’t work off the place, he’d have me working all the time.” Billie replied by saying, “She said if she stayed here with me, why, I’d be hollering, ‘Help me!’” His other hired hand, Missy the Blue Heeler, is his full-time helper. Billie said, “She helps lots of times when I don’t want her help.”
Billie said that Dorothy takes care of all the paperwork. He said, “I hate paperwork, I really do. I hear a lot of squawking when it comes time to register the cattle, but she does a great job.” They do it the old-fashioned way, too – they don’t even own a computer.
Billie and Dorothy raise registered Angus cattle. They’ve had registered cattle for over 20 years; before that they had a commercial herd. They decided to change from a commercial herd to registered because, at the time, Billie was working off the farm. He believes thoroughbred cattle are easier to keep. “You don’t have to watch them as close,” he said.
Billie and Dorothy also own two 80-acre parcels that don’t adjoin his home property. On all three pieces, they keep a herd of 100 mommas and raise their own heifers. “You always know what you are getting that way,” Billie said. They sell all their bulls and heifers for breeding off the place. The rest of their cattle they sell at auction. Most of their customers are by word-of-mouth or repeat customers.
Billie cuts his own hay. On a 32-acre hay field, he normally gets three cuttings. But not last year. He said, “If it wouldn’t have been for 90 bales of leftover hay, I’d have been in trouble. The drought last summer hurt the hay real bad.”
Billie has always had cattle, as long as he can remember. But he also had a career teaching heavy equipment at North Arkansas College in Harrison, Ark., for 30 years. He retired to the farm in 1998. He believes in the value of vocational education. Billie said, “I don’t care if kids do have a college degree, if they’ve got vocational training, they can get a job.”
Dorothy’s side of the family has been in the area for as long as Billie’s. Dorothy said, “Momma and daddy got married, and daddy just brought his suitcase and they stayed right there.” It was on a farm between where they now live and the town of Harrison.
Billie and Dorothy have been at it for a long time, through good and bad, and ups and downs. Lately, it seems like everything has gone up and cattle prices haven’t kept up. Even though the prices of cattle appear high right now, Billie said, “I can remember when I could take a stock trailer with a load of calves to the market and buy a new pickup with it. You can’t do that now.”
Like so many Arkansas farmers, they wouldn’t do anything else. There’s always next year.


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