James Yancey of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. He works at Ozarks Electric as a supervisor of systems operations. Photo by Terry Ropp.
Photo by Terry Ropp

Hometown: Prairie Grove, Ark. 

Family: Wife Diann Yancey, daughter Maranda Cash, grandson Case (17) and granddaughter Addison (13)

In Town: “I went to college for a year and a half before deciding working for Ozarks Electric was best for me. That was 33 years ago, and I started working on Ozark Electrics’ right of a ways. Now I am the supervisor of systems operations.”

In the Country: “My wife Diann and I purchased our first 10 acres in 2000. We already had some horses and a pet Holstein steer named T-bone. Even though Diane was raised in the country and had no experience with livestock, running the cattle operation is her niche. My grandparents, James and Verna Yancey, had cows, so I had some exposure that also included working for the Washington County Livestock Auction beginning when I was 16. A few years later, we bought an additional 10 acres on one side of us and then in another few years grabbed another 20 on the other side for a total of 40 acres. We began raising cattle in 2003 with our first cows coming from Larry Hacker, a local Beefalo producer. He and many others helped us learn how to produce good, strong cattle. We now have a herd of 40 mixed breed commercial mommas bred by one SimAngus bull we purchased from Kendal Hays. Because our herd was bred by a Hereford bull last year, we are currently harvesting our first calves from the new one, well pleased with their appearance. Through the years we strived to develop strong bloodlines in our females and maintain those bloodlines by retaining some of those heifers who display those characteristics. We watch especially closely as a momma ages and we need a replacement for her in the near future although this year we have also retained a particularly good-looking bull calf.

“Our farm, Fort Yancey, produces spring calves and weans at 6 months and retains the calves for at least 30 days or until the market is favorable. During that time, we ensure their health, vaccinate and usually castrate because we want to produce the most perfect calf. Our original intention of using the extra money from raising calves to help with our farm payment has fallen to the wayside because the profit margin is so low. Now we raise cattle more because we love the animals than to make money. We treat flies with rubs, and mineral as well as spraying when the mommas come into heat using natural repellents. Land maintenance includes fertilizing and spraying for weeds as well as sectioning off pastures to allow time for recovery after being grazed. Diane also has 40 hens whose eggs I sell mostly at work.”


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