Glen Cope continues the farming tradition established by his great-grandparents

Being a beef producer is in Glen Cope’s blood. Raised on the family farm near Crane, Mo., he helped continue the legacy started by his great-grandparents, which began as 200 acres, and now spans to over 2,500 acres of pasture and hay ground that reaches as far north as Aurora, and in Barry and Stone counties.
The Cope family, which includes his father, Orran “O.D.” and his brother Matthew, are the stewards of nearly 500 head of cows and as many yearlings. Glen, along with his wife, Leanne, and two children, Orran and Katie, live in a remodeled farmhouse originally built in 1904, and once occupied by a farm hand that worked for the family.
“My grandparents put together 1,600 acres in the 1940s and 1950s,” Glen reflected. “Grandpa died when my father was 15, so he had to take over the farm at a young age.”
In 2002 Glen earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science at Missouri State University.
“I always knew I wanted to come back to the farm,” Glen said. “I wanted to find a degree that would be the most beneficial.”
Glen and Leanne were married two weeks after graduation, and he immediately returned to work fulltime on the farm.
Though Leanne works off the farm to help provide a financial cushion, Glen said there are other important ingredients to coming back to the farm.
“They’ve got to love it and they have to like being self employed, and being outdoors every day,” he said. “Plus, we’re not in it for the money. If farmers were in it for the money, they’d be doing something else.”
That love for the life and land, Glen proclaimed, as well as growing with the social and economic changes that are certain to come, are a part of building that future for the next generation.
“We’re building equity. We work so the next generation will be in a better position than we were. Certainly I was in a better position than my dad at my age, and he was in a better position than his parents were. That’s what our goal is. If kids are willing to stay in it, hopefully they will be in a better position than what we were,” Glen said.
Glen’s family legacy and experience working on the farm and his education, has positioned him to be an active member of beef industry. Glen served on the board of the Missouri Beef Industry Council for six years, three of those years as chairman, and stays active in the Missouri Beef Checkoff. These organizations, Glen believes, are key to bringing producers together and communicating with consumers.
“We’ve got to continue to let consumers know that beef is healthy,” Glen said. “Beef has zinc, iron and protein, which are essential ingredients for health. It’s sustainable, and it’s part of our heritage as Americans.”
Glen is proud of Missouri’s, and specifically Southwest Missouri’s, role in American beef production.
“Missouri is second or third in cow/calf production behind Texas and Oklahoma. We’ve got a lot of great land that isn’t suitable for row crop, or for vegetable production, but it’s great for producing forages,” Glen said. “That’s the way we’re going to be able to feed a growing population. We can convert sunshine and water into forages and great tasting protein. And that’s our way that we can contribute to feeding America, and the world.”
Though Glen Cope has an abundance of experience, is college educated, and plays leadership roles in beef organizations, he doesn’t consider himself any different than other farmers.”
“We’re not exceptional farmers, we’re typical farmers,” Glen said. “People who take good care of the land and animals are not exceptional farmers, and consumers need to know that. We have some tools that we didn’t have a decade ago, and we do a good job utilizing those tools to tell that good message. Telling that good message means telling the truth about beef production, what exactly we are doing, and that we’re doing a good thing.”


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