Sean Wright, pictured with is granddaughter Lila Jane, started working as a milk hand in high school, and has built his own thriving beef cattle operation, complete with his dream barn.

Everybody in agriculture needs patience. 

Twenty years ago, Sean Wright had a dream about the perfect barn and finally brought his dream to reality a few months ago. Sean started working for Danny Combs at the Cavanaugh dairy while he attended Hartford High School in Arkansas. He milked cows, built fence and fed bottle calves. Danny became an important role model who instilled a strong work ethic in the young man.

Sean remembers a day while working for Danny. He was sitting on a tractor and looking out as quails were whistling and the birds were singing to the summer sun. Sean then realized this was the life he wanted. Sensing that Sean never wanted to leave, Danny warned the young man, “I won’t be here forever,” and Sean sadly heard him.

During his seven years at the dairy, Sean had a friend who was about his age and frequented the dairy while he milked. He talked Sean into taking up a new trade. As Sean put it, “I went from shoveling it to directing it.” 

Five years later he opened a residential plumbing repair business called Circle W Plumbing with the motto: “If it’s broke, I’ll fix it. Don’t cuss, call us” Nonetheless, the quail kept whistling in his memory with Sean eventually buying land for a cow/calf operation. Now, several months ago, Sean watched the barn of his dream became a reality.

Another friend, Dexter Lively, told Sean about DT Construction, a company he found on Facebook. Levi Tincher came to Sean’s ranch where Sean explained what he wanted: a 40-foot-by-60-foot pole barn to house a shop and alfalfa hay with a loafing shed on each side for overhead shelter for his trailers and an additional 20-foot section covering part of his corrals.

“Once I got the dirt work done, two guys handled the whole project from start to finish,” Sean said.

First, significant dirt work needed to be completed. Good friend and neighbor Dale Phelps, owner of Phelps Construction, leveled the pad with a bulldozer and formed it with crusher dust brought in by dump trucks.

“The weather was terrible and the dump trucks got stuck,” Sean said. “We simply used a tractor to get them on the pad, and everything was done in a week.”

When Levi’s men arrived, they had the structure up in three weeks, with the only issue being Sean’s corrals were not perfectly square like the barn. They compensated, and the structure is as flexible and useful as Sean dreamt. The red and tan barn matches Sean’s nearby house, with Sean getting ready to build a workbench and having the wiring installed.

Circle W Land and Cattle runs two herds of cattle and hay fields on 800 acres. One herd is registered Lim-Flex with 80 momma cows. With this herd, Sean is under contract with John Sutphin III in Lamar, Colo., someone he found through the internet. John runs what he calls a co-op with cattle producers across the nation. He has several finishing sites in states such as Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Sean was John’s first producer in Arkansas, beginning five years ago.

John provides Sean with meat wagon bulls and buys all the calves with Sean having the option of buying the heifers in any given year. When Sean does that, he evaluates them when they are yearlings to decide which will serve as replacement seedstock and which will be sold at auction at OKC West Livestock Auction in El Reno, Okla.

“It’s worth the drive and time to sell my cattle there because it draws good buyers, I get it great price with quality sales and super nice folks,” Sean said. “It’s a great family-owned business. Even though they run 10,000 head a week, they remember my name when I go out there with my 40 to 50 head of cattle or when we’re hauling for somebody else.”

Sean appreciates John’s system. He gets paid a premium for the calves with John picking up the bull calves and the breeding bulls, as well as heifers if Sean doesn’t buy them. Sean does not have to maintain bulls or worry about bloodlines. Additionally, Sean gets to pick the breeding season and prefers fall because hay season is usually over and he has time to tag and weigh the newborn calves, and he thinks they do better. The Lim-Flex calves are picked up in May at an average 550- to 600-pound weaning weight.

Sean’s second herd is comprised of 50 black Brangus females bred by registered Angus Stuphin bulls. He appreciates the herd because it’s hardy, and the small amount of Brahman gives them heat tolerance as well as a willingness to turn over a rock to see what’s underneath to eat. The mommas are easy calvers with good milk production.

Both herds follow a twice-a-year routine vaccination protocol, which includes an injectable long-range wormers provided by a veterinarian. Calves are creep fed with a ration of 15 percent protein, 4 percent fat and chops. Cows receive Colorado alfalfa twice a week because it is high in protein and calcium, which promotes better quantity and quality of milk in addition to being highly digestible and all natural. Finally, Sean prefers Purina Wind and Rain loose mineral because it’s weatherproof and the cows take to it.

One of the highlights of Sean’s life is his 6-year-old granddaughter Lila Jane who helps flake off alfalfa from the back of his truck by hand.

“I absolutely love cattle and everything about them,” Shawn said. “You have to like it to love it, and I like the hell out of it.”


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