Family: Larry Gregory lives in Laclede County with his wife, Melissa, and two daughters, Gracie and Eden.
In Town: Larry Gregory of Laclede County has been working for the Lebanon MFA Feed Division in Lebanon, Mo., for nearly seven years. “We help people with feed rations as they figure out their goals for the growth of their cattle and any changes they need or want to make,” he explained on a quick break at the busy MFA store. “We write up the orders for bulk feed, primarily beef cattle, but we also do some dairy and hog rations, as well as a few horse rations. We do different custom mixes. Of course, corn is king but we make up different mixes depending on the customer’s protein and energy goals. We also do bagged rations for goats, deer, show cattle and horses. Basically, whatever feed ingredients are needed, for whatever kind of livestock, we can put it together.”
In the Country: While many have given up dairy farming in this part of the country in recent years, Larry has found a unique niche that allows him to continue to work in a vastly changed and changing industry. “I raise Holstein cattle. At the moment, I have 200 head with 120 yearlings on 325 acres. I’m what you call a contract grower. I raise cattle for Fair Oaks Dairy out of Indiana. They milk 30,000 cattle a day.”
By Ozarks’ standards, Larry admitted with a grin that was a huge number of cattle to be milked daily and more than he could really imagine. “They ship me 200 pound calves every year and I ship them back 7 months bred,” he explained the process. Larry has been in this line of work since 2002. “While in college, I worked for Dr. Lloyd Gloe, a veterinarian in Marshfield, Mo., and he really helped me get started in the contract heifer program. His neighbor was also a broker for this dairy.
“I started with 50 head and I got another load of 50 the following year. I’ve received 120 head every March since. The turn over makes for a constant cash flow.”
Making it all Work: “That’s somewhat of a struggle. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are working 5 acres or 5,000, there is always something that needs to be done or that I want to get done. My dad helps me some, but I’m pretty much a one-man band. My wife, Melissa, also works and my daughters, Gracie age 5 and Eden age 4, really enjoy ‘helping daddy feed cattle’ which usually consists of merely watching. They are growing so fast though it will seem like next week when they are big enough to carry feed buckets on their own.
“For now, I don’t have any plans to expand. I’ll just stay about the size I am so I can keep working, keep up with the chores, and still have time to spend with the family.”