Bill Mousadakos and Lazos Makridis apply the lessons they've learned at intensive grazing school

To say that Bill Mousadakos and his father-in-law, Lazos Makridis enjoy the best of both worlds is no understatement. Not only do both operate restaurants in the Rolla, Mo., area while running a farming operation on the side, they also raise Katahdin sheep and Black Angus cattle. Born in Greece, Lazos and his wife, Ellie, live a long way from their original Greek roots but Bill and his wife, Christina, both were born in the United States. All, along with Bill and Christina’s children, Vasili age 3 and Mari age 6, speak fluent Greek.
“I have Gordoz Steak House and Lazos owns Alex’s Pizza,” Bill explained. “I cook at the restaurant and keep up with the farm, too.” He admitted with a grin he has “a lot of irons in the fire.”
“Sheep and goats are common in Greece,” he continued, “so Lazos started here with a few sheep and goats. We still have just a few mixed breed goats, from 12 to 20 depending on the time of the year. Over the years, he’s kept adding to the sheep and now we have about 100 Katahdin hair sheep ewes, with around 230 total by the time you add in all the babies and the rams in the spring. These are meat sheep, of course, and I like the fact that we don’t have to sheer them. They are pretty hardy and as long as you wait a year to breed them, they are easy with lambing. We averaged 1.75 lambs per ewe this year as we had seven or eight sets of triplets and got to keep them all so that really helped. We sell quite a bit of breeding stock to other farmers and then we also sell off the farm for special holidays like Easter and meat for Muslim holidays as well. The rest we take to the sale barn.”
As he spoke, Bill’s attention turned to his cattle. “That is what I enjoy,” he admitted with a smile. “This year the cattle market is up, over the sheep, not sure why but it’s working out well. We have 37 momma and calf pairs plus a few heifers. They are mostly Black Angus with a few commercial cattle mixed in.”
Bill and Lazos raise the sheep, goats and cattle all on 138 acres. They also sell several registered rams and ewes each year. “This winter, we did winter lambing, which I don’t really like to do,” he added, “but it was a good year, a mild winter and thankfully, we didn’t have any problems.”
Last year Bill attended intensive grazing school and since has been busy converting his land into paddocks. “We’ve been incorporating those, getting them fenced, putting in water and we hope to be done by the end of this summer. So far, five of the eight paddocks are finished. We had 40 acres of woods to clear this last year so that was a lot of dozing. Last year’s drought was pretty hard on us so we had to re-seed and cross seed after that as a good grass mixture is important.”
Bill concluded, “For a lot of farmers, this part is a full-time job. I already have one of those cooking and running a restaurant so I probably put in 70-80 hour work weeks but I enjoy it.”


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