Milk production, growth rate and muscling are three qualities the Wilson family admires about their Simmental cattle

The beginning of fall ushers in an additional flurry of activity for a family of farmers in southwest Missouri. This family of educators, from teachers to administrators, witness a spike in the off-the-farm workload this time of year, as students return to the classroom. As for their farm work, it keeps the Wilson families busy all year long.
Dr. Brian Wilson, superintendent of Hollister schools, and his brother, Alan Wilson, Assistant Regional Administrator for the Division of Youth Services, and their wives, who work for local school districts, combine talents to manage Wilson Simmentals. “So we all work in the kid business,” explained Dr. Brian Wilson. From the kitchen, Brian’s sister-in-law, Jennifer Wilson, chimes in, “Kids and cows.” And this family wouldn’t have it any other way. The brothers and their families operate Wilson Simmentals in Clever, Mo. Each family runs close to 30 momma cows with a majority being purebred Simmental.
The Wilson brothers grew up milking Holsteins, but, once they left the farm for college, their parents switched to a commercial cattle operation. Brian spent the first part of his career teaching Ag classes in the Fordland school district. It was during those years as a teacher that he started to develop an interest in building a purebred herd. “The purebred side of it always intrigued me,” said Brian. It didn’t take Brian long to settle on the Simmental breed for his purebred herd. During college, Brian studied agriculture for three months in Switzerland. While studying abroad he learned to appreciate the maternal abilities of Simmental cows. “When I look at the Simmental cattle, they bring some things to the table that other breeds don’t bring,” stated Brian. The Wilsons value Simmentals for their milk production, growth rate and muscling. In addition, the Wilsons select cattle that will flourish in the Ozarks. “You have to look at the genetics of cattle. They have to be able to survive on the rough terrain, thrive on fescue and endure the heat,” said Brian.
Originally, Brian relied on embryo transfer to build a top-notch genetic base for his herd. His donor cow was a flush mate to the 1999 Simmental National Junior Champion. “We still have some of those embryo transfer cows around. That is what we call the foundation herd,” Brian explained. The Wilsons started with a solid genetic foundation and continue to fine-tune their cattle program.
For years, Brian has served as the farm’s AI tech. In order to help achieve positive results, Brian feeds his cattle supplements. “If someone lived next door and I could tell them one thing that would help with a cow’s cycle and reproduction it would be to feed their cattle a good, quality mineral,” Brian explained. Though it is “definitely going to be an investment;” Brian says, it will pay off with increased breeding ease and milk production.
Fifteen year-old Audrey Wilson takes the lead with the families’ show cattle. Audrey’s hard work and dedication has earned her several herdsman awards. “Looking from an uncle’s standpoint, I am so proud of her, she is in the trenches doing the work and it is nice to see other people recognize that,” said Brian. Audrey relishes being a part of the family farm and business. “I just love growing up with all them and being able to carry on the tradition of raising cattle,” said Audrey Wilson.
Most of the Wilsons’ customers are cattlemen looking for replacements or herd bulls. Though the Wilsons sell most of their cattle through private treaty, this fall they are embarking on another way to promote their cattle. “We want to have a long-term market for our cattle. That is why we are starting a production sale,” Brian said. The sale will be held annually the third Saturday in October at Chappell’s sale arena in Strafford, Mo. “We want to provide a fall sale for people in southwest Missouri. We just want to put out a good quality product for folks,” said Brian. Wilson Simmentals, Breezin B Simmentals and Kanoy Farms are joining together to put on the Route 66 SimGenetics sale. Brian admits organizing a sale in this day and age takes far more planning than in the past. “The marketing is different than it used to be,” explained Brian. In addition to traditional marketing strategies, these farmers are getting out their information through Facebook, Twitter and a website.
Even though the Wilsons are utilizing new marketing strategies, there is no mistaking the heart of their farms will always be rooted in tradition. There is an air of excitement when the Wilsons talk about their cattle, but when they talk about each other, the depth of their family bonds outshines everything else. “I am very blessed with the family I have,” concluded Brian.


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