Clint and Elizabeth Hetherington offer farm-finished beef and seedstock to their customers
CRANE, MO. – Clint and Elizabeth Hetherington, along with their son Cole, raise beef cattle on the hills of Stone County, Mo.
Clint is a first-generation farmer. Elizabeth grew up on a small farm in Northwest Missouri where she raised hogs, beef cattle and horses. Farming ran deep in her family. In fact, her great-uncle Gilbert Batt is pictured in the Missouri State Museum Resources Hall in the exhibit Making a Living from the Soil.
It wasn’t long before Elizabeth was ready to put down roots and start farming with her husband. Their adventure began in 2009 when they happened upon some acreage in Stone County. Not having enough money for the asking price, they took a shot and offered what they could afford. Surprisingly, it was accepted. They purchased the home, 160 acres and 40 cows on the property. Over the next few years, Clint and Elizabeth would add land to their growing farm. Most of their roughly 1,000 acres lie in Crane, Mo., but they also have acreage in Flat Creek.
The Hetherington’s raise a mixture of Simmental, Angus and SimAngus cross. Clint said he chose the breed due to the cattle price spike in 2014. They needed a bull but didn’t want to pay the high price to bring a quality bull to the farm. So, they opted for AI with a good Simmental bull over his beef herd.
“We really loved the calves from him. They grew better, looked stouter, and we got heavier weaning weights,” Clint said.
Clint and Elizabeth currently run about 150 cows. With the use of AI, they grew their numbers from 40 to 150 head.
“AI gives us the ability to get some of the best genetics and still maintain herd diversity,” Elizabeth explained.
This year was the first year Clint tried his hand at AI. He focused on half his cows with this method and then used his bulls for clean-up.
When it comes to feeding their herd, Clint likes to use rotational grazing. Depending on stocking rates and grass condition, Clint moves the group(s) about every week on average.
The Hetheringtons prefer the taste of grain-fed and finished beef.
“We start them out on about 3 to 4 pounds a day after weaning and then increase that in the last six months from 10 up to 18 pounds a day,” Clint added.
Clint also hays about 250 acres of their land to provide feed for the winter months.
If owning and operating their cattle farm wasn’t enough, Clint and Elizabeth hold full-time jobs off the farm. Clint works for Springfield Engineering Company doing commercial and industrial heating and air conditioning service. Elizabeth is a nursing instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College.
Not to be left out, their farmhand and son Cole, 8, is a proud student of Hurley R-1 school district.
Even among busy schedules, Clint and Elizabeth are still able to focus on marketing their farm. They advertise their whole, quarter, and half beef mainly on their Facebook page, Hetherington Cattle Company. They have also had success using Craigslist and Google ads. Yet, word of mouth is probably their most successful marketing tool.
“Our goal is to sell our cattle from the farm. We want to avoid the stockyard as much as we can,” Clint said. So far, they’ve had great success with their strategy, selling over double directly off the farm compared to what they took to the stockyard last year.
For the most part, the sales of their beef and their replacement stock are pretty balanced. However, the pandemic last year did boost the interest in their beef.
“We sold out months in advance. We could have sold a lot more if we had the animals ready and the butcher dates. Our butcher was booked a year in advance so it was kind of tough to make changes to our volume,” explained Clint.
The Hetherington’s are increasing the marketing of their beef this year. They have shifted butchers to a USDA facility so they can sell at their local farmer’s market in Clever, Mo. With a goal of two steers butchered each month, they are hopeful to keep up with the demand.
Clint and Elizabeth value their farm life greatly. They take pride in the process and the product.
“Our goal is to sell a premium product right off our farm,” Clint said. “We want to provide high-quality beef fresh from the farm to the table, as well as breeding stock.”
Clint adds, “Plus, a farm is a great place to raise a family.”