Steven and Jamie Rogers, Jim and Jan Lile team up to produce high-quality Red Angus
When asked what advice he might have for young farmers, Steven Rogers said, “Work closely with your family; communicate.”
He practices those words. Steven and his wife, Jamie, help operate Rogers Cattle and Lile Farms Red Angus located near Strafford, Mo., in Greene County, with Jamie’s father, Jim Lile, and his wife, Jan.
“I have lived here since I was 18 months old,” Jim said. So he has lived there for 63 years.
Steven and Jamie moved back to the farm in the fall of 2010. They have two boys, Eli and Ethan.
“We are the third, fourth, and fifth generations to live on this farm,” Jamie said.
They have been raising Red Angus since 2004.
“We think all breeds are valuable. We believe in crossbreeding, so I don’t know that we believe one breed is better than another. Each breed has their own strengths and weaknesses,” Steven explained. “When I bought my first Red Angus cattle it was because I wanted cattle that were selected based on objective measurements, and Red Angus has a very solid data base where we collect as much information as possible about the cattle. That helps us to get high accuracy and quality EPDs. So I believe the scientific approach to cattle breeding is really important, because we can get a lot from using the data.
“Red Angus are very functional cattle. They are very gentle. We enjoy having cattle that are easy to work with. For us it’s been a really good fit.”
Steven said the Red Angus have an excellent disposition.
“We’ve got little boys around here, so they have to be gentle,” Jamie added.
Besides disposition, Steven said they appreciate the Red Angus as replacement females.
“A lot of people are building their cow herds around Red Angus genetics,” Steven said. “They are good mothers. Since they are Angus, they have good carcass-quality traits as a general rule. As a family we believe in crossbreeding. If someone wants to use our bulls on their cows or use our replacement heifers with a different breed bull, they’re going to reap the benefits of crossbreeding and hybrid vigor.”
Their Red Angus are registered, as are their crossbreed cows.
The family has worked hard to “make sure our cattle work in fescue country,” Steven said.
“They’re adapted to the fescue and can handle the toxicity,” he explained. “The neat thing about the drought that we’re going through now, it’s helping us to see how well we’ve done at selecting for that trait of being adapted to fescue. We’re real pleased with where our cattle are in terms of how they’re handling the summer heat and drought.”
Each March, Rogers Cattle and Lile Farms hold their own production sale at the farm.
“We have a lot of fun the day of the sale,” Steven said. “Getting ready for the sale is a lot of work. We do it here in our own hay barn and we’ll market about 40 bulls at auction. That’s evolved. It used to be just a cowboy style auction where we had the bulls priced. Now we actually have an auctioneer and this year we incorporated video auction and the Internet, and sold some cattle over the Internet.”
“People used to come by and ask if we had any animals for sale,” Jim added. “They were picking and choosing. People said, ‘Why don’t you wait and let us all bid on the things.’ So that’s when we quit selling to individuals and added one day. It was the public that asked us to do this. We didn’t just up and say, “‘We’re going to have a sale barn.’” The people who had seen our animals wanted a chance to bid on a specific bull. That’s how it started.”
“Everybody gets a fair chance at an animal by doing it at an auction. By doing it here on the farm, a buyer gets a chance to see an animal’s mother,” Steven said.
They have had their production sales for four years now.
They do offer some purebred females; whether that’s cow/calf pairs or replacement heifers.
“We also offer about 30 replacement heifers,” Steven said. “That allows us to meet the demand that’s out there. This year we had high demand for our replacement heifers.”
They also sell through private treaty. But no bulls are sold from December to March.
“Everything goes to the sale,” Steven said. “I like for them to be at least 12 months old when I put them in the sale. So if they’re a little younger, we’ll save them back and a lot of times we’ll save them for Farmfest. So then we’ll have some 18-month-old bulls at Farmfest. We’ve done Farmfest at least six years.”
Their calving season is from Feb. 1 to April 15 and they also have a short fall calving season.
“We have about 15 fall cows,” Steven said.
Jim’s wife, Jan, keeps a close eye on the heifers during calving season and calls if help is needed.
They are utilizing embryo transfer in their breeding program.
“Right now we have six embryo calves on the ground from this spring,” Steven said. “We had one cow that had four calves in one day. She had three embryo babies (from recip) and then she calved herself. That was a fun day.”
There is a lot of work and fun on and off the farm. Jim Lile and daughter, Jamie, operate Lile Quarry in Northview, Mo., Steven is Southwest District Supervisor for Agricultural Education and FFA. Eli (8) and Ethan (7) are learning a lot about the farm. Eli has shown cattle for two years, but Ethan is just getting started.
“What we do as a family right now, everyday, is shaping these boys for their future,” Steven said.