Buckhorn Cattle Company and Timber has been a part of the same family for four generations. Contributed Photo.
Contributed Photo

Buckhorn Cattle Company and Timber has been a part of the same family for four generations

DEER, ARK. – Nestled on a tiny blip on the map, the Martin family tends to their cherished Buckhorn Cattle and Timber Farm. 

The land has been in their family since the 1930s. It is a beautiful continuation of the farming lifestyle of Newton County, Ark. With the property spanning 418 acres, this multi-generational operation is a testament to tradition, dedication and a love for the land.

Ryan and Cristan Martin, along with their daughters Rylea and Oakley, are the owners and operators of Buckhorn. For the Martins, farming is more than a livelihood; it’s a way of life passed down through generations. Ryan’s great-grandfather, Virgil Martin, first purchased the land, laying the foundation for a thriving farm.

At Buckhorn, the Martins raise a herd of black Balancer cattle, a cross between Angus and Gelbveih known for their robust growth rates and gentle disposition. With 33 head of cattle grazing on the pastures, the Martins employ rotational grazing methods supplemented with mineral tubs, sweet feed as needed and hay during winter.

“We like a Balancer calf because of their heavier weaning rates. They grow quickly,” Ryan explained. “We like their moderate frame and quiet disposition. They are great mamas and produce plenty of milk for their calves. They also breed back well.”

That quiet disposition is excellent for making safety come first. “Our girls are very involved in helping with our cattle, and we don’t want them getting hurt. If one has a bad temperament, we sell it,” Christian explains. It is simple.

 The Martins cull females that do not breed back on time or produce enough milk for their calves. They keep a Gelbveih bull and search for coveted traits such as low birth weight and high weaning weight.

The Martins’ commitment to more sustainability extends to their cattle management practices. They worm their cattle twice yearly, rotate pastures diligently, and vaccinate only when necessary. Breeding is done thoughtfully, with heifers bred at 18 months for easier calving.

“We just let our bulls do their job,” Ryan explains, pointing to the family’s commitment to natural breeding practices. “We believe it is easier for the heifer and calf to be more mature. We have less calving problems that way.” In addition to a more natural approach, the Martins strive to calve in early spring, when the grass grows, and there is plenty for their cattle to eat. 

As for the marketing side of things, the family markets their calves at around 7 months old. These calves weigh 500 to 700 pounds. Some are sold at local sale barns, while others find their way to direct meat sales, a growing side of their business.

Cattle is not the only specialty of Buckhorn Farm. 

“When we are not cutting hay, we are cutting timber,” Christan said. 

The Martins manage 300 acres of timberland alongside their cattle operation, working in partnership with Marwood Inc., another family-owned business. Ryan’s father and uncles, Jack and Rick Martin, are part owners of Marwood Inc. 

They market their saw logs through local sawmills, and specialty logs are sawn by Marwood Inc. Their high-grade white oak is sent to the America Stave Company.

Ryan and his grandfather, Dwain, are the primary heavy equipment operators for Buckhorn farm. They clear land for pasture, create new logging roads, and make new ponds.

Everyone plays a vital role in Buckhorn Farm’s daily operations. Jack Martin, Ryan’s father, operates the skidder for Marwood Inc., while Rick Martin, Ryan’s uncle, is a skilled timber cutter. Dwain Martin, Ryan’s grandfather, brings decades of expertise as a heavy equipment operator.

The father-son duo has been working on clearing more land to make more fields for rotational grazing. 

“We believe that rotational grazing will improve our soil health and, in turn, produce more grass for our cattle to eat. We’re always looking for new ways to make farming more efficient,” Cristan said with a smile. “We’ve even started producing biodiesel from used cooking oil to offset diesel prices.”

Family involvement is at the core of Buckhorn’s success. 

“Currently, four generations are involved in the family farm. Everyone plays a role in making our farm work.” 

From cutting hay to sorting timber, the Martins do it all with dedication and joy for the land they call home. 

As the Martin family continues to cultivate their legacy at Buckhorn, their story reminds us of the deep connections between land, family, and a love for the agricultural way of life. In Fallsville, Ark., Buckhorn Cattle and Timber Farm stands as a beacon of tradition, hard work, and cherishing the tradition of farming in the Ozarks.


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