While some young livestock producers are born into the business, others have to find their own path into their chosen industry; and 16-year-old Linsey Lowrance-Rogers is one of those young producers.
Linsey, the daughter of Colette and Dwayne Rogers of rural Laclede County, Mo., grew up on a dairy farm, and many of her earliest memories are of helping to feed Holstein bottle calves. She showed dairy cattle at local fairs and even had a few head of her own. As fate would have it, a downturn in the dairy industry resulted in the dairy farm being sold, along with her cattle.
Knowing that she wanted to stay involved with agriculture, Linsey turned the proceeds of the sale of her dairy cattle into a registered black Gelbvieh heifer. She soon began to look at other breeds of cattle and discovered Angus. It didn’t take long for the teen to think that was the breed for her.
Since that time, she has expanded her herd numbers to include both registered and commercial cattle. She currently owns eight females, with more than half of them expecting calves in the coming months.
When seeking a heifer, Linsey said a show-quality animal is important, but being a small breeder means that her animals will also have to preform well as mothers.
“You still want something to be productive that is going to give you calves, something that is going to milk good and something that has longevity,” she said. “I want an animal that is going to produce more than just blue ribbons. They might look the best in the show ring, but you might not be able to get them bred. I want something that is going to look good and breed well; something that other producers will want.”
Linsey is always looking for ways to better her herd.
“I might go back to the person I bought (a heifer) from and ask them how I might improve with her calf,” she said. “The sire I bred my heifer ‘Erica’ to is a bull known for calving ease that should soften her up a little because she’s a stout heifer. The bull (Brilliance) is a little more feminine, but still has those good EPD numbers. I really look at each animal and see which bull will work best for her, which is really an advantage with AI.” She does all of the artificial insemination work herself after receiving her certification.
She’s also learned that using EDP data helps her improve the offspring of both her registered and commercial cattle.
“It makes me very proud to go out into the field and say that everyone of these cows I bought with my own money,” she said, adding that she does ask occasionally for a heifer at Christmas. “If mom asks me what I want, I will say a heifer’s name or number. Mom will say, ‘That’s not happening.’”
Linsey has had some success in the show ring at both local, regional, state and national shows. She is quick to admit that the skills she learned for the dairy cattle did not give her advantage with her Angus heifers.
“It is very different,” she said with a laugh. “In dairy cattle, you walk backwards or sideways, and with beef cattle you walk forward and you have a stick in your hand. Just about everything changed and it was a hard transition for the first two years, but then we got into the bigger shows and we found people who helped us out.”
Linsey, who attends Conway High School in Conway, Mo., credits the established Angus breeders she has come in contact with over the last few years for helping and encouraging her.
In June at the 2015 Missouri Angus Preview Show in Sedalia, Mo., Linsey’s dedication to the Angus breed paid off. She was crowned the state Angus Princess following an application and interview process.
Linsey said when she found out she had won the title, she had only minutes to come out of the show ring, change clothing and get back to the arena.
As a part of her duties, Linsey represents the Missouri Angus Association at various events and shows, on top of showing her own cattle at those same shows.
“I’m the princess before I show,” she said.
While her future plans are not yet finalized, Linsey said she is considering a career in science education, but she plans to always have cattle.
“This is my thing,” she said.