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Straight Up | April 2023

A conversation with everyday Stockmen,

Steve Rogers - Rogers Cattle Co. and Lile Farms Red Angus of Strafford, Mo.

About the Stockman.

"I’ve raised cattle my whole life. My wife Jamie and I ranch with our kids Eli (13), Ethan (11), and Whitley (1) on Jamie’s family farm alongside her folks, Jim and Jan Lile. We will celebrate 20 years of raising Red Angus cattle this fall. I spent 20 years in agriculture education as a teacher and then as FFA state staff before we started ShowMe Genetics, a CSS custom bull collection facility in 2019. We homeschool our boys and they are active in 4H, church activities, and playing football."

What about the beef cattle industry excites you the most?

"Making genetic improvement to increase profitability is so exciting. We strive to make cattle that will work well for our customers and the decisions we make to influence that get me excited. Combining genomic data with real-world observation while putting additional performance pressure on our herd by how we manage them is rewarding. The beef industry is the one meat species where we still get to make our own genetic decisions. We want to make cattle that will be accepted in the industry as it evolves."

What is your least favorite job on the farm?

"I try to enjoy it all, but picturing sale cattle is sure not my favorite activity."

What is the most used tool on your farm? How old is it?

Our Kubota ATV. We’ve had it since 2017 and it is amazing how many hours and miles we put on that machine checking cattle, tagging calves, feeding, and fixing fence. I’m in it almost every day. It has been a good tool for teaching the kids to drive as well.”

What is your go-to sorting apparatus?

"When working cattle, we focus on going easy with them and use tub or budbox systems. I usually don’t even need a sorting stick with our herd as we focus on docility and conditioning the cattle to a positive working experience as best we can."

Describe your best day.

"Our best days on the ranch are when the whole family is able to help. Usually that is on cattle working days or during hay season. We try to take time on these days to enjoy a meal outdoors and play around a little to make memories with the kids."

Your favorite non-farm activity to do in your free time?

"We create free time around here or it just doesn’t happen. I love spending time with the kids, especially as the boys play football and show cattle."

The most important lesson you’ve learned in this business?

"The cattle business is more about people than cattle and it is impossible to please everyone. So, the two lessons I try to pass on to my kids are “Do what’s right, do your best, treat others as you want to be treated” and “shop people first, then shop cows."

Which animal (any species) has left the greatest impact on you?

"As a kid, I had a Hampshire boar that got injured due to poor structure. I remember crying pretty hard when I realized there was nothing I could do to help him recover. There were lots of lessons from that incident, especially that no matter how hard you try you have to accept life and death in the livestock business. I also learned that structural soundness is of the utmost importance in livestock."

Upcoming Sales:

Annual Production Sale held every March near Strafford, Mo.

Photos courtesy Steve Rogers

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