In Town: “I have worked for Southwestern Electric Power Company for 34 years as an electrical engineer. Basically, at the moment, I design electrical placement patterns for highway changes, new customers and renovations on existing systems. My wife, Betty and I also work with youth at the Calvary Baptist Church in Summers, Ark.
In the Country: “We have about 500 acres near Strickler, Ark. We run 150 momma cows serviced by five bulls, all Black Angus. I pick Black Angus bulls because black sells well, the animals belong to a gentler breed, and their small size promotes easier calving. The mommas are Limousin mix and produce good calves that grow well and are disease resistant, all part of hybrid vigor. A few years ago I had all spring calving. Then I had an unexpected bull problem. The end result is that I have moved to both spring and fall calving. I usually sell calves in the fall and midwinter when they are 550 to 600 pounds. Before the calves go to market, they are fully preconditioned including shots, castration and weaning. I also hay 80 acres of my land as well as 80 acres on a shared basis with a neighbor. The hay supplies all of my needs, except of course during the last few drought years. Even in good years, I have enough to meet my needs but not enough to sell.
How it Works Together: “I am fortunate to have a job that has a flexible hour structure that allows me to integrate both farming and engineering easily. The farm operation is not only self-supporting but also provides some profit, which will become supplementary retirement income when that time arrives. My family was one of the original homesteading families in the area in the 1840s. Consequently living without cows in the country is unacceptable. They are part of who I am, so much so that life would be highly stressful without them. I really am an introvert, and working outside and with my cows is a critically important part of my life.”