Though I was born in Pennsylvania, I grew up in Ohio, of German-Scottish stock. I have a deep-seated fear of rotting in hell for calling too much attention to myself, a trait I acquired both genetically and culturally. It’s offset by Scott, who was also from the midwest, but he grew up in the southern part, of Irish stock. He’s the stereotypical Kentuckian. He’s boisterous and back-slapping and he knows everyone.
This is where I should say that I was the creative director of something and Scott was some sort of high power analyst and then we realized that our true calling was farming. Fact is, we each grew up farming. We each spent our toddler years on the tractor with our dads. And we each bailed out of agriculture as soon as we were old enough to leave home. In the eighties, it just seemed like the smart thing to do. We each went off to be Department of Defense contractors. And we each ended up working in Warrenton, Virginia.
We married in 1994, and bought our farm and our first cows shortly after that. Six kids and 20 some-odd years later, Scott is still works for DoD. I stay home with the kids and the cows.
We call ourselves beef producers. Lots of really smart people say that we should never call ourselves “producers”, but we do it because cow farmer sounds stupid. We’re in Virginia and we have farms here. We’re certainly not ranchers. We raise row crops. Ranchers don’t raise row crops. Plus ranchers know how to rope, and they wear cowboy hats. No man in Orange County (well, there’s one) would ever, ever wear a cowboy hat. It’s just not done. If a man were to wear a cowboy hat around here someone would mistake him for one of the Village People. Proper male head-wear comes from a seed dealer or an implement dealer.
Rope is never a verb in Orange County.
We used to sell a lot of grassfed beef at the local farmer’s market, but after about ten years of that, we’re back to just selling live cattle.
We run a spring herd, and a fall herd, on several farms, both owned and rented. And it’s pretty easy to pick out our cows. In a world of Black Angus cows, we run Red Angus, with a few Murray Greys thrown in for good measure.
And everything we do as a business revolves around one thing – well-bred, well-managed, well-handled cows.