Brent is improving the safety and efficiency of his cattle farm by adding a handling system, including a covered and fenced separation area. This dedicated space allows Brent to better control cattle when providing routine and emergency medical care. He can also use the new area for calving, tagging and loading animals.
In addition, Brent can more safely castrate young bulls to produce steers. “At present this task is not only difficult but potentially dangerous to not only the animal but also myself,” Brent said. “The stocks secure the animals and ensure our safety, as well as limit the animal’s movement, ensuring a successful procedure.”
Only a few cattlemen in Brent’s area have this handling system. “This project can demonstrate to others a safe, secure and less stressing method of handling livestock,” he said.
Brent sells meat to individual consumers as well as animals to local farmers and at the Abingdon, Va. stockyard exchange. He anticipates expanding his customer base, whom he currently attracts via word-of-mouth, with the improvements to the farm. “We have seen an increase in the number of individuals seeking local farm-grown beef in our area,” Brent said. “That is a positive impact on our community.”
Brent’s farm originally belonged to his parents and now Brent and his wife and children all live and work on the farm. “It is rewarding to have our meals complete with our own meat and vegetables from our garden,” Brent said. “Another positive impact.”