Jim and Chris Cathey purchased their first Beefmasters in the early 1980s. Photo by Jaynie Kinnie-Hout.
Jim and Chris Cathey purchased their first Beefmasters in the early 1980s. Photo by Jaynie Kinnie-Hout

Jim and Chris Cathey thought they wanted out of the cattle business, but missed their Beefmaster herd

WALNUT GROVE, MO. – Cattle producers Jim and Chis Cathey agree that their love of animals has kept them going throughout their four decades in the Southwest Missouri cattle industry. 

Jim and Chris own and operate Double CC Beefmasters, a 160-acre farm nestled in the beautiful backroads of Northwestern Greene County, in rural Walnut Grove, Mo. That love has sustained them into their retirement years when they thought their days of raising cattle might be behind them. 

 Jim’s history on the farm dates back to 1951, when he was 9-years-old. J. Darrel Cathey, Jim’s father, a vocational agriculture teacher, purchased the acreage to operate a dairy. The farmland was part of Jim’s uncle and aunt’s (Frank and Helen Farmer) farm. Jim’s mother Opal and his aunt Helen were sisters and wanted to live closer together. Jim spent many hours milking in the Farmers dairy and planting crops on the family farm.

Jim and Chris got their first registered Beefmasters in 1982, after reading, going to sales and exploring the breed.

“We saw something we really liked,” Jim said. “Our Beefmasters are gentle and the mommas haven’t had any trouble calving.”

“I originally liked Beefmaster cattle when we went to see them at a ranch. They were all different colors,” Chris explained. “I thought they were so beautiful. They had red, white and black Beefmasters. We started out with colored cows, then the market changed and people didn’t want them, so we began adding red cattle to our herd.” 

Jim and Chris’ herd is comprised of red and black cows. Beefmasters come in black, dun and paint; a true spectrum of colors. Their cattle stay fat on grass and mineral supplements.

“Our cattle are grass fed exclusively,”Chris noted.

One of Jim and Chris Cathey's beefmaster bulls. Photo by Jaynie Kinnie-Hout.
Photo by Jaynie Kinnie-Hout

In 2018, the price of cattle was rising and Jim and Chris thought it might be nice not to have a lot of work to do, so they advertised. 

“A couple came up from Arkansas to look at our cows. Initially, they couldn’t understand why they didn’t run away. That’s just the way our cows are. They took all 40, including one of our bulls. We retained 12 of our best and youngest cows. After a couple of years though, we really missed our cattle,” Jim said. 

Today, the couple is in the process of rebuilding their herd. Son, Darrel Cathey lives next door and does a large portion of the farm work. 

 The family enjoys attending shows and sales. One of their favorite sales is held by Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan at his 18,000- acre ranch near Three Rivers, Texas. 

“Most of the Beefmaster breed is in Texas, New Mexico and Florida,” Chris added. “There are Beefmaster breeders in 34 states and in Mexico. Missouri is home to 118 registered Beefmaster breeders. 

Beefmasters are known for their heat tolerance. 

“You won’t see Beefmasters standing in a pond. They drink and go back out into the pasture. They eat more, they gain more,” Jim said with a smile. “That’s what it’s all about.” 

Both Jim and Chris worked full-time jobs while running the farm. Chris, a registered nurse, worked for 38-years at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo. Jim was a chaplain. He retired after 25-years, also from Mercy. 

They are gentle, intelligent cattle that respond to the treatment they receive from their owners. 

 Jim feeds the cows a few range cubes to keep them used to people. The calves are given Stocker Grower for the first three weeks to facilitate the weaning process. They prefer spring breeding rather than having calves hit the ground in the harsh winter months. They also grow and sell hay. 

The veterinarian comes out twice a year. Calves and cows are vaccinated per health protocol. He dehorns as needed. Pelvic measurements are taken as an added measure in preventing calving problems. Beefmasters are known for having smaller calves. The couple has only pulled two calves in 40 years, one of the calves was from another ranch.

Due to Jim’s issues with mobility, vocational rehabilitation provided him with a gator and installed electric gate openers. This has been a huge help in keeping him out with the cattle he loves.

The couple are members of the Beefmaster Breeders United Association, based in Texas. It is the fifth- largest breed registry in the United States. 

They market their cattle through BBU and the marketplace. They also sell through private treaty and word of mouth.


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