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Beltie-Briefs Newsletter

February 14, 2021


Are you ready for spring? 

Here in Wisconsin we are deep in the throws of winter. There is about a foot of snow on the ground and I am already thinking about spring. It had been a warm winter so far here in Wisconsin and we are deep into hay feeding season. The recent  bitter cold of February has me dreaming of late spring days in tall grass. The stockpiled grasses have come to an end in our pastures with the January snows. I am already thinking about our pastures and the forage we will interplant  in the fields. We plant diverse grasses, legumes and broad leaved plants for forage in to  into the pastures in mid April and its time to get those seeds on order. Its also time to think about hay crops and stock piling that forage. My cows and I have become big fans of BMR Sorghum Sudan grass as of late. These grasses grow great in the warm season pastures. That comes with looking at last falls soil test and making sure I have the fields ready and am taking steps to plant and provide for what they need. I will be making a trip down to Tennessee in the coming weeks to pick up a load of Tennessee Brown Rock. This is a mineral deposit that is rich in phosphorus, something that shows as deficient in my soil reports from fall. I will then be planting many variety's of grasses and legumes back into the pasture. It's time to start thinking about spring now. What's on your to do list?


Clete Kirschbaum
Vice President  and Assistant E-Editor, GLBGA


Meet the Board

Dozier Hendershot
Dozier Hendershot recently joined the board as a a Director at large. Dozier and his farther farm in Sullivan, Ohio and the surrounding area. They work a herd of Belted Galloways on pasture using rotational grazing methods. The neighbors refer to the cattle as the Gypsy herd, because they are always on the move.

Dozier and his Father make hay on another 75 acres. Dozier and his family started raising beef cattle through 4H projects. They started exploring raising cattle on grass after growing a few beeves the conventional way. Seeking a more sustainable method, Dozier started exploring grazing. Dozier and his wife Charlee have five children and all are involved in the farming operation in one form or another. Please join us in welcoming Dozier and his family to the team!

John Hamm

John Hamm and his girlfriend Mary Allison live in rural Mauston, Wisconsin. They have 30 Belted Galloway cow calf pairs and raise a pen of Belted Galloway steers for market. each year. They also have four friendly dogs, cats, horses, goats and chickens for a fun family farm. They are assisted by their adult children and friends. John is co-owner of Wisconsin River Meats and has been involved in the processing and selling of meat for over 40 years with success in selling halves and quarters of beef. John is involved in many community service projects in Central Wisconsin and has a radio broadcasted local high school football and wresting show for many years. 

Meet Our Members

Shadow Wood Ranch
Shadow Wood Ranch is a 60 acre homestead located in Bruner, Missouri. Veronica and Daniel have lived there for 12 years now and have spent that time building the farm and raising their five children. They moved from the big city in Phoenix, AZ and have invested literal blood, sweat and tears into their new country lifestyle, but they wouldn’t trade it for anything. They started with a bare field, but after countless hours of labor, Daniel was able to build all of the fencing, barns and water systems himself, learning how to weld and many other skills along the way.
They have experimented with many different animals including sheep, hogs, and quail, but nothing really felt right. They first learned of the Belted Galloway from a Mother Earth News article that highlighted the benefits of heritage breed cows. They wanted hardy, sustainable animals that would also be less dangerous for their young children to be around. It was impossible not to fall in love with the Oreo cow. Since then, they have settled with a small but growing herd of the belties as well as chickens, honey bees, and a wood mill. They rotationally graze, and produce as many of their own resources as they can, in an effort to be sustainable.
Their goals for the future include improving the genetics of their herd, improving the land, 30 acres of which they are in the process of clearing and fencing, and this year will be the first that they hope to replace winter hay with grass pellets produced on the farm.
They are excited to be a part of Great Lakes community for mentorship as they continue to learn. As reformed city slickers starting from scratch, they still occasionally make mistakes regarding simple things that others would take for granted. Although they are new to the breed, and cattle in general, they are looking forward to continuing to learn and improve their operation, and contribute to improving the quality of the Belted Galloway breed in the future
Great Lakes Calendar of Events 2021

February 19-21     
2020 Hoosier Beef Congress      Indianapolis, IN 

June 11 – 13 (tentative)
GLBGA Spring Field Day     Columbia City, IN

June 10-12 (9th check-in)   
Regional Round Up Junior Activities & Show Columbia City, IN

June 13 (tentative)
Doug Abney Memorial Open Show     Columbia City, IN

June 26
Midwest Classic Show     Pecatonica, IL

July 20 - 22
Wisconsin Farm Tech Days    Eau Claire, WI

August 6 - 22
Indiana State Fair     Indianapolis, IN

August 12 – 22
Illinois State Fair    Springfield, IL

August 12 – 22
Iowa State Fair     Des Moines, IA

August 19 – 23 (19th move in; 21st show; 23rd release)
New York Show     Syracuse, NY

September 23 – 26
World Beef Expo      Milwaukee, WI

October 12 – 24 (tentative)
American Royal     Kansas City, MO

November 15 – 18 (tentative)
NAILE National Show     Louisville, KY

World Galloway Congress     Louisville, KY

December 2 – 5 (tentative)
Hoosier Beef Congress      Indianapolis, IN
Regional Roundup Update:
The show must go on! We are tentatively planning for our show schedule to get back on course this year. We look forward to seeing all of you. 

Herd this at the fence...

450 years of health, endurance, and productivity

Strong genetics from survival not manipulation
By Ellen Sims
A friend bought me breakfast the other day including pancakes and eggs from a fast food restaurant. I loved the thoughtfulness! We ate together and had a great chat. The pancakes were good, the scrambles eggs were uniformly yellow (if you know what I mean), and the butter and the syrup were in plastic. We put the extra syrup and butter in the fridge. Today, I was having a muffin and thought I would have syrup. I looked at the packages in the fridge and grabbed some. BREAKFAST SYRUP?  Maple Syrup, why the fancy name? Because it isn’t maple syrup but high fructose corn syrup. A ROSE BY ANY NAME…(Hot Cake Syrup and Syrup). I DON’T THINK SO! Why are things always being improved in a lab? Maple Syrup is delicious and natural, why imitate it? What does that lengthy intro have to do with Belties? Well, here we go!.

The Belted Galloway cattle have evolved from 450 plus years of great genetics based on survival and adaptation within their surroundings. Mother Nature’s way! They don’t fit the latest trend. No one will say the hottest breed for 2021. They are, who they are. Easy going, smart, funny, and lovable, but so much more! Healthy- I like my beef to come from healthy cattle. Able to endure varied weather conditions - based on their historic development in colder, wet climates. The Sahara Desert - get real!  They are very efficient at turning grass to beef development. Do they meet modern speed of development? No! Can they with all the additives feedlot animals get? I have been told by some breeders-Yes!  I like them the way they are!  Slower development with greater long term production - calves, meat, taste, non-additive vitamins and minerals, naturally lean, tender, and juicy.

Why not take the path less traveled? This world is amazing! We will pay for breakfast with fake maple syrup, fake eggs, and now fake burgers because they are fast! There was an article out yesterday about the problems scientists are having with the fake blood in fake burgers. Really? Sad to say yes! Why not educate people about Belted Galloway’s. Original, top quality genetics the way 450 years of survival of the fittest have produced them! I have been buying free range eggs from a local farmer. My friend from the first paragraph asked me why my eggs taste better than the ones she buys at the store. More people with home gardens are buying heritage seeds. Why are product labels stating NON-GMO? Why are we farmers turning to regenerative grazing? Cost effective? Healthier, Longer active production time at lower cost. No built in obsolesces.   No Laboratories! That is why I say Belted Galloway cattle produce beef the way it is meant to be!


An Exciting turn of Events...

An Exciting Turn of Events

Refreshing Belted Galloway Customer Change
By Ellen Sims

When selling cattle, the first question I was asked for the last two years was How Much? This was even before the sex, age, purpose of the cattle.  Other breeders sympathized by sharing their similar experiences. They explained that these weren’t cattle people.  Well, I am here to say that the tide is turning. It is a wonderful change! Many of my calls today want to talk about Belted Galloway cattle. They welcome questions about their acreage, goals, numbers of cattle, and are asking about quality, care, purpose, truth not myths. They want to learn and are doing their homework. I am so happy and proud of these customers!

Hey, but what about Price?  Price is important! Right now I would say that top Belties are under valued. The best genetics in the breed take time to find, nurture, breed, and perhaps show. Moreover, that doesn't include the study, feeding, care, and promotion that is involved. Not every Beltie is great! nor is a bull fabulous simply because he can breed cows.  Long term high quality bulls are few and far between in this breed. The cost of their semen, in my opinion, is very reasonable.  The best bulls are undervalued because it isn’t the hype in advertising or some show wins that make a great bull. The best bulls are made by their progeny.  Also remember that the best bulls may not be shown at all. These bulls live on farms and never see the show ring. The bulls I like are correct in most aspects and have no structural flaws. They walk correctly not just walk. Their feet and hips are balanced and in the right direction.

I saw a group of cattle from the back the other day and one stuck out from the rear. The steer had very lean flat hips and almost no butt except that wasn’t the real telling feature - his feet were almost more horizontal than forward. All the others were round, and their feet forward as they should be. Price?  What ever you paid would be too much to me! If those characteristics had been in a cow, calf, or bull - too high. Quote from a Beltie new potential customer - "I will buy this one cheap and breed flaws out of them over time".  Don’t count on that!  If it is in a bull, you are going to use for two to three years, the end result will not get you where you want to be!  I’ll buy cheap cows and semen from a good bull! Really? He might help some, but depending on the cows problems, he can’t do it all.

A bull, or semen from a bull, needs to be from a bull with a history. He may be a show bull that judges have selected many times, but sometimes there is weak competition and the bull selected is the best one there only.  You need to look at offspring. How good are they? Are there temperament issues? Structural issues? Health issues? There are many more things to think about. Know it can be compared to buying a used car from a dealer. Look under the hood; in the cattle case look beyond the belt!

I have people say "I don’t care about genetics, I’m just going to harvest them". Really? I would say fine if your goal is a steer. But if you are building a herd no way.  I have been raising a steer whose foot was hurt at some point after birth. He gets around with a  slight limp. He is half the size of the other 4 in with him in a 12 acre pasture. Why? I wanted to see how he would do. When it comes to feed or hay, he ends up with less. He is healthy and growing, but the herd sees him as the weak link. No, I am not cruel. There is an order within a group of cows or steers or bulls. Keeping him alone would be cruel. He has a big friend in the field who protects him and I even saw him licking his friend’s face the other day. He is happy, but for beef production weaknesses in your herd can lower your weights and profits. 

Good luck to all of the new potential Belted Galloway Buyers. Ask questions! There are no dumb questions.


If you are interested in learning more about grazing and grazing management, an excellent periodical is the Stockman Grass Farmer. Subscriptions for this are paid, but you can try an issue for free. 
Copyright © 2021 Great Lakes Belted Galloway Association, All rights reserved.

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