LF20191012-DevonCouple1.jpg

From left are: James Himelright, Gazelle, Stacylyn Himelright and Sharon Snyder. Gazelle and her summer calf, Gable won All Other Breeds Cow/Calf pair at Keystone International Exposition.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A new breed of redheads debuted at this year’s Keystone International Livestock Exposition.

Red Devon USA held its national show at the Harrisburg event for the first time last week.

“This is our premiere,” said Stacylyn Himelright, a breeder from Germantown, New York.

Himelright, husband James and sister Sharon brought four of their 28 Red Devons to the show.

Though Red Devons are new to KILE, the breed has been around since ancient times and was brought to America as early as 1623, according to Oklahoma State University.

The rare breed is noted for its carcass value, maternal instincts, gentle disposition and ability to finish well on grass.

“The saying is they get fat on air,” Himelright said.

The Himelrights’ farm is two hours from New York City, where the market for grass-fed beef is hot.

So as they have transitioned from Angus to Devons over the past few years, the couple have also transitioned to grass-based production.

The Himelrights’ herd grazes rotationally on two farms that have been in James’s family for six generations.

In the winter, the herd is fed balage in round bales. The Himelrights sell beef in individual cuts, halves and quarters at their farm store and at their local farmers market.

As direct marketers, Himelright spends plenty of time with the general public, but the national show was an opportunity to spend time with other breeders.

“I like it better than the fair because of the livestock focus,” she said. “I like being around the other cattle.”

Special Sections Editor

Courtney Love is Special Sections Editor at Lancaster Farming. She can be reached at 717-721-4426 or clove@lancasterfarming.com