You Have to Start Somewhere

In my job as a Livestock Extension Agent, I work with new and beginning farmers quite often.  They all have dreams and an idea of what they would like to do.  Part of my process is helping them understand an end result and what kind of goals they need to set in order to be successful.  It is very rewarding to see people get off the ground with their ideas and raise livestock.

As a little girl, I knew one day I would have animals, especially horses.  All I wanted to do was barrel race and have my own horse.  My dream came true when I was about 6 years old and I got my first horse, an Appaloosa named Spotty.  It wouldn’t be until I was a sophomore in high school that I would start barrel racing with the NC High School Rodeo Association.

buddy

Me and my barrel horse, Buddy.

In the middle of all my horse activities were always cows.  I started raising bottle calves when I was ten years old and showed dairy cows through my local 4-H club.  I then went on to judge dairy cattle and livestock in FFA in high school.  I almost always had a few dairy steer calves around that I “practiced” my showmanship with since we could only show dairy heifers and cows at the shows I went to.  Showing dairy cows definitely peaked my interest in cows as a young girl and I think that is where the dreams of 3B Cattle Company started.

dairy

There will always be a special place in my heart for dairy cattle, especially cute Jersey calves.

I knew that owning a dairy wouldn’t be feasible so I switched my interest to beef cows.  We bought out first beef steer, an Angus we named Sam when I was in high school.  We then started buying heifers and cows to begin our base herd.  It wouldn’t be until the fall of 2010 that our first calf crop would arrive out of first registered Black Angus bull.

Dollar

Our first herd bull, Midlands Maximum Dollar as a yearling.

Do you think that our first set of heifers and cows were the nicest set?  Absolutely not, everyone has to start somewhere.  We bought cattle that we could afford and later culled them once we improved the genetics or were able to buy better replacements.  I look back on the cattle we started with and the cattle we have now and I am amazed, six calf crops later we have greatly improved.  Don’t be afraid to dream and start on your own level.  You will eventually get where you want to go.  Set goals and achieve them.  I remember telling dad I wanted pretty “fun” cows like Longhorns and Brahmans, and what did he do?  He bought me a few for fun…did they really make us any money, not really, but some did.  We eventually starting setting goals to have Hereford and Black Angus cattle along with establishing our breeding and marketing strategies.  You have to decide what you want to do and determine where you want to go in this business.  Here are a few photos from the past:

802

My Brahman heifer, Grace greeting a newborn calf (2010).   We still have this calf and she is one of the most fertile and productive commercial Black Angus females in our herd.

Brahmans

My “fun” cattle, Brahmans!

weddingcalf

This little bull calf was born on my wedding day in 2011.

cattle

Some of the herd back in 2010.

What you see now as 3B Cattle Company took years of hard work, careful planning, and patience.  We have a long ways to go and are very excited about our future.  We plan on a herd expansion here soon once we finish developing new pastures.  Calf crop 2016 is also very close!  We will start calving next month so stay tuned!

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About Lauren Langley

Co-manager at 3B Cattle Company, Livestock Extension Agent at NCSU/Alamance County, NCSU Alumni
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