His ranch situated in northern Illinois, James Milligan runs one of the largest Hereford breeding operations east of the Mississippi River. He’s well established there. His place is one of the oldest single ownership ranches in the country. He talks about its history back to 1836, including stories of the original homesteader who met his demise at the hands of roaming bandits.
From his ranch in Oregon, Bob Harrell manages to get genetics to most parts of cattle country – 14 states – as far east as Minnesota. He gets noticed. The Beef Improvement Federation saw fit to name Harrell their Seedstock Producer of the Year.
The friends I made on the Herefords, Heterosis and Headlines Tour impress me because they’re humble, but at the same time proud of their breed. It’s been decades since Herefords have been at the top of the cattle breed list, but American Hereford Association staff and board of directors make no apologies for what the white-faced animals bring to the table, figuratively and literally. They make a compelling argument for including purebred Hereford bulls in a breeding program. It makes for some gentle, excellent performing, low maintenance, and good tasting critters.
After spending a couple of days exploring feedlots and seedstock providers in the Sunflower State with people who raise and promote them, I’ve learned that Herefords, because they’re easy to get along with, are a “family breed.” It doesn’t take a big cow poke to handle one in the show ring and many a lasting friendship between families has been forged on the circuit.
The next time you’re in the market for beef, you might look for the label announcing that Certified Hereford Beef is in the package. It’s excellent meat, but it’s also likely that those responsible for getting it there are nice people who raise good cattle.