Hometown: Lamar, Ark.
In Town: “Brooklyn is the town side of our household. She has worked for my folks, Greg and Marie Heiser, since 2011 by managing the dining area and helping with the waitstaff in their Lamar, Ark., restaurant Sweet Treats,” Chris Heiser said. “Brooklyn also runs the family’s event center behind the restaurant.”
In the Country: “Brooklyn and I have a cow/calf operation. In addition to having acreage of our own, we also use family land in addition to leased hay fields for a total of 175 acres. My wife’s grandparents, Dannie and Judy Wilkins, started building chicken houses in 1965. Her grandfather has since passed so her father Marty Wilkins oversees the 11-house operation in terms of paying the bills and managing cash flow while I manage the practical side with help coming from another full-time employee, plus two part-time ones. While managing the chicken business is a full-time job, I have flexibility when the cattle need attention. We run 60 cow/calf pairs with the mommas being Angus crosses. Those at my place are bred by AI, since I am a certified AI technician, with calves being born in the spring. My cleanup bulls are Simmental and Angus. When I select semen, I look for a gentle disposition, weaning weights and efficiency in producing pounds until slaughter. I always have semen from several different bulls so I can match them to the cows and retained heifers using saving 10 percent per year to maintain herd strength. The remainder of the mommas are at my parents’ place and are bred naturally for fall calving using the same bulls. I prefer spring calving because the calves seem to have fewer health issues. All calves receive two rounds of shots, one at weaning and a second two weeks later. The whole herd receives fly tags in March. Generally, calves are fence line weaned at 6 months or 500 pounds and taken to local sale barns as yearlings. The hay fields are fertilized predominantly with chicken litter from the broiler houses. I also over seed both grazing and hay ground in the fall allowing the hay fields to be used for winter pasture until April 1 and then hayed once. Next I move the cattle to their regular pastures and raise the rest of my hay on that land. I also spray once in early spring and a second time before July 1.”
Professional Organizations and Future: “My wife and I believe in actively supporting the cattle industry. I was elected president of the Johnson County Cattlemen’s Association in 2014 while in college and still retain that position. I have been on the Farm Bureau board since 2016, while my wife and I are both active in the Young Farmer and Rancher Committee, which is to promote agriculture in younger farmers and ranchers. Finally, we have both served on our fair board since 2012. At this point, Brooklyn and I are maxed out on our grazing ground and would like to expand our acreage to handle 100 pairs. In addition, we have been on the Tyson list for three years and look forward to building two mega broiler houses when our turn comes up.”