Va. Cattlemen Collect Buyer Feedback During Annual Pa. Visit
LANCASTER, Pa. — Two groups of Virginia cattle producers, traveling independently of one another, came to Pennsylvania recently to visit some of the people who buy their feeder calves and to see the animals they raised on feed.
Several members of the Central Virginia Cattlemen’s Association and the Buckingham County Cattlemen’s Association made the trip. Both groups said they were very pleased with what they saw.
Steve Hopkins, the Extension agent accompanying the Central Virginia Cattlemen’s group, said it was a “real good trip.”
Hopkins’ nine-member delegation visited 12 farms and was disappointed that they had to leave before visiting more. The farms had purchased 18 loads of cattle from association members, mostly last August, he said.
“The cattle got along well,” Hopkins said. “We were very pleased with them.”
Most of the animals are scheduled for harvest in April, he said. They were sold from the livestock market at Radiant, Va., and were BQA-, source- and age-verified. They have been finished on corn silage and grain and now weigh in the 1,200- to 1,300-pound range, he said.
Hopkins said the group has been making such visits since 1998, and they have gotten to know the cattlemen and learn the type of animals that they need.
“The more you talk to folks in other areas, the more you learn they are facing the same issues we are,” he said.
Jennifer Ligon, Buckingham County Extension agent, said her group was able to visit with a handful of the farmers that bought cattle at their August feeder calf sale, which is held the first Monday night of August each year.
“The Buckingham Cattlemen’s Association (BCA) works hard to use a superior health and genetics program for cattle production,” she wrote in an email. “They have been visiting their calves in Pennsylvania for the past 15 years, discussing with feedlot farmers the good points and potential areas of improvement for their calves.
“What they have experienced with the Pennsylvania farmers has been positive feedback on cattle that are extremely uniform, grow efficiently and at a rapid pace, rarely have to be treated and have a disposition that makes feeding and working with these calves very enjoyable,” Ligon wrote. “The BCA was very happy to hear of their cattle’s success in the Pennsylvania feedlots, but still inquired on how they can make their sale better for the buyers, questioning sale timing and multiple-day pickup.
“The BCA enjoys working with the Pennsylvania buyers and strives to make buying Buckingham Cattlemen’s Association’s cattle a great experience.”
Hopkins said the Pennsylvania cattle producers are always great hosts and enjoy having the Virginians visit them. He said the groups have gotten more value (for their animals) by building relationships with their customers. They enjoy seeing their cattle and talking with the people who finish them.
Butch Foster, fieldman for the Virginia Cattlemen’s Association, traveled to Pennsylvania with the Buckingham group and then joined the Central Virginia delegation.
Foster is enthusiastic about the annual trips, saying they help both buyer and seller. He pointed out that the cattle are sold by tel-o-auction, so the buyers do not see the sellers during the sale. The trips give the buyers a chance to put a face to the name they see on the cattle they buy.
Foster said the trip gives the cattlemen from both states an opportunity to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the cattle and gives the Virginia producers a chance to improve their cattle to meet the buyers’ needs. He was happy to report there was no negative feedback this year.<\c> Photos by Margaret Gates
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A delegation from the Central Virginia Cattlemen’s Association recently visited 12 Pennsylvania farms that purchased cattle from association members. Shown at the Raymond Hoover Farm in Lebanon County, Pa., are, front row from left, Henry Maxey, Roger Scott, Butch Foster, Steve Hopkins and John Goodwin; and back row, from left, Lee Durrer, David Norford, James Kean and Jay Calhoun.
Lebanon County, Pa., farmer Raymond Hoover, left, discusses the cattle he purchased with Virginia cattlemen Jay Calhoun, center, and Butch Foster.