Hometown: Tahlequah, Okla.
Family: Wife Kathy; daughter Sarah with granddaughter Kaitlyn (16); and son Joshua with granddaughter Annie (11)
In Town: “I have been in education for 25 years, first as an ag teacher in Texas and now as the school counselor at the Early Learning Center in Locust Grove, Okla. I serve 325 students, 3 years old through first grade. I also drive a school bus, which I really enjoy because it is another way I get to help students learn what is right, but with compassion. My wife Kathy has been the librarian at the Upper Elementary school in Locust Grove for 22 years. I have served as a deacon and am now a member of Faith Chapel in Tahlequah.”
In the Country: “My wife and I have 310 acres by the Illinois River outside of Tahlequah, Okla. Originally, the land was completely undeveloped. When my son was 6 or 7, I began clearing land for an electrical easement by cutting and selling the hickory and oak wood. Government programs have been helpful. I have used several, including one for quail restoration and EQUIP which helped with 5 miles of fire breaks and prescribed burns, as well as developing ponds and purchasing Ritchie freeze-proof waterers. I’m currently participating in the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Illinois River Riparian Protection Conservation Initiative. Because the land was 100 percent standing timber, I had the opportunity to develop my own pastures after it was dozed.
“I chose to use three varieties of Bermuda, including SunGrazer 777 and crabgrass which has good protein content. I have 13 Corriente cows and nine replacement heifers bred by one registered Angus bull. I am a third-generation, competitive team roper and have competed in the national finals in Oklahoma for several years. Consequently, I began with Corrientes to provide cattle for roping practice. Meanwhile, I met Danny Chancellor while roping who explained to me that the market for registered Corrientes is small and shipping costs destroy profits, even though Corrientes are twice as efficient in forage and feed usage. I now use the slow growing Corrientes to raise commercial calves and breed them to a registered Angus bull for spring calving. My herd consists of 34 head of cows, calves and roping stock. I use 24-percent protein tubs year-round with free choice mineral, as well as a traditional vaccine protocol including Pinkeye Shield, blackleg and Virus Shield 6. In addition, I use Dectomax for worming, supported by Python Magnum fly tags. Finally, I sell my calves locally 5 to 6 months after weaning depending on the market.”