Dylan Kildow works closely with his family at 7K Farm, where they raise cattle and have a haying operation. Photo by Terry Ropp.
Dylan Kildow works closely with his family at 7K Farm, where they raise cattle and have a haying operation. Photo by Terry Ropp.

Dylan Kildow has a diverse background 

WEST FORK, ARK. – Dylan Kildow is 18 years old and a senior at West Fork (Ark.) High School. He is the eldest of five sons of Matt and Jeanie Kildow. The farm is named 7K after the number of people in the family and is home to a cattle and a substantial hay operation. 

Dylan is a strong, soft-spoken young man who has grown up surrounded by agriculture. He is a member of Hogeye 4-H led by Christy Weaver and West Fork FFA, with advisor Justin Hays. Dylan began showing pigs when he was 5 years old and fondly remembers a sow named Hamlet which he subsequently bred, showing her offspring. Two or three years later, Dylan switched to cattle because he was older and more able to handle larger animals. 

When he was 8 or 9, Dylan showed Thunderette, a registered Hereford. His cattle showing career is characterized by showing young heifers of different breeds such as Maine Anjou, Maintainer, Limousin and Brahman. 

Dylan was part of the FFA judging team, while also competing in tractor driving with a 90 hp Kubota tractor and a Veneer round baler. He won his first belt buckle when he was 10 for the 2014 Reserve High Point Maine Anjou Heifer at the Arkansas Junior Cattlemen’s Association show. This year, he won another buckle in a team competition with three of his brothers at the Arkansas Youth Expo sponsored by Eric Walker of Walker Ranch and Cattle Company. They were division champions in agricultural mechanics.

Though goats had been part of the farm all during Dylan’s life, Dylan didn’t begin showing Boer goats until he was 15. He was particularly fond of a pygmy cross named Pepper, so named because of her coloring. Because she delivered during a brutally cold night, they brought her in the house during birthing and later sheltered her in a lean-to. Goats have been bottle-fed in the house more than once with a child’s playpen as their temporary enclosure. Once Dylan and his father went to Walmart in the middle of a frigid night to find colostrum for two goats orphaned right after birth. Not finding any, they woke up dairyman Mike Weaver who gave them cow colostrum to use.

“I guess the most important thing I’ve learned about animals is that they take a lot of work and losing one is hard,” Dylan confided. “I lost Pepper about a year ago and that was tough.”

According to Matt, Dylan was an eager and enthusiastic child who wanted to learn everything. Matt worked with Dylan by his side, feeding and watering the animals as soon as the young child was able. Consequently, Dylan was driving a tractor hauling large round bales out of the fields and stacking them for his dad by the time he was 10. Dylan was and is an important part of Matt farming and trucking operations. 

“Though he is really busy at this point in his life, I can always depend on him if I really need something done,” Matt said. “All I have ever had to do was tell him what needed to be done and he did it including hooking up or unhooking any attachments as well as helping oiling, greasing and fixing equipment.”

Dylan Kildow is a senior at West Fork High School and a member of Hogeye 4-H Club and West Fork FFA. Photo by Terry Ropp.
Photo by Terry Ropp

“While I really don’t enjoy hauling square bales and cleaning pens even less, those things have to be done,” Dylan explained. “What I enjoy most is working with any equipment from a bulldozer to an excavator or a skid steer.”

Dylan has taken a number of ag classes in high school. He began with an intro course where he learned things his practical experience on the farm had not yet taught him. One of these was that breeding a horse and a donkey produced a mule who was always infertile due to a chromosomal issue. He also learned about the great differences in gestation periods among different species of livestock, with pigs gestating for only three months, three weeks and three days while a cow carries a calf for nine months, and a horse gestates for 11. Other classes include animal science and gas engines. 

The 7K Farm is a busy place. Matt has cattle in several locations and a Brahman bull he plans to crossbreed to black baldie heifers with the goal of raising good quality replacement heifers. Two years ago, he bought a herd of Angus from a local farmer who was selling out. Another upcoming project involves Corrientes, a very affordable and durable breed known for being good mothers and maxing out between 700 and 800 pounds, which means less feed needs than the Angus, which reach 1,200 or 1,300 pounds. The problem with Corrientes is that their mottled coloring is far from desirable marketing preferences. Matt plans on crossing them with a Charolais bull in order to produce a calf which will put on more weight while also providing a much more marketable solid, light golden colored calf.

The diversity in planning at 7K has inspired Dylan to want his own farm someday. Part of his plan is to attend auctioning school this summer, though he already does occasional benefit auctions to raise money for FFA. This year he also auctioned the Washington County Fair Junior Livestock Premium Auction. Dylan learned from his father how to plan and how to work hard. At this point Dylan believes auctioneering will be a sideline, though he has yet to decide what his main income will be until his pursuit of having his own farm is fulfilled.


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