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Straight Up | March 2024

A conversation with everyday Stockmen,

Featuring Robert and Gail Hamilton, Hamilton Farms of Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.

About the Stockman.

"Hamilton Farms has been raising registered Angus cattle for 43 years. Robert and Gail Hamilton built Hamilton Farms from ground zero (first generation), and now calve around 350 momma cows. Hamilton Farms land holdings include approximately 850 acres of hay, 1,800 acres of cropland, and 3,000 acres of native and tame pasture. We are a family-based operation and now manage the operation with our youngest son, Joel, and his wife, Taylor. We also have three to four full-time employees, plus extra seasonal help. In addition, our oldest son, Wyatt, and his wife, Stacey, help out with marketing, as well as busy times like harvest, bull sales, and haying. Our middle son, Wacey, and his wife, Carlye, live three hours away and are currently not involved with the day-to-day workings of the ranch."

What about the beef cattle industry excites you the most?

"Raising beef cattle is as challenging as you want to make it, and there is no right or wrong direction, as long as you are fulfilling your customers’ needs. Anticipating the production of a new sire, or looking forward to seeing calves out of old proven sires is always exciting for us."

What is your least favorite job on the ranch?

"Picturing sale bulls would be the all-time worst job of the year. Maybe that could also be the best day on the Ranch when we have finally pictured the last sale animal!!"

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

"LOL, I think that would get split between two tools which both happen to be John Deere! One is our 960 zero turn lawn mower which helps us keep Gail’s yard immaculate, and the other is our 835 Gator, which seems to log a lot of miles checking pastures. Both are around 5 years old!"

Describe your best day.

"The best day for me each and every year is when the last pairs are turned out on grass in the spring! Our winters are long, and our feeding period seems like it goes on forever! The smell of green grass and the sound of happy cows grazing is very fulfilling!"

What is your go-to sorting apparatus?

Our best sorting apparatus is a whip with flag. They are custom made with a Hamilton Farms logo on the flag. Many of our bull customers use these as well and they are very popular. I must also mention the other sorting apparatus used here at Hamilton Farms. All three of our boys played hockey at a very high level, and this resulted in an abundance of broken hockey sticks which always seem to be close at hand around the chute!"

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

"Gail and I have been avid water skiers for many years, and now our whole family looks forward to getting some ‘lake time’ every summer. Slalom waterskiing is a daily early morning ritual when we are at the lake."

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

"Don’t follow fads! Stay focused on our basic fundamental breeding goals. I feel that selecting genetics with curve bending numbers will often lead you down a road where you don’t want to be! Balanced traits seem to work best in our operation and eyeballing cattle will never get old!"

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

"The animal which has left the biggest impact at Hamilton Farms is an Angus bull which we raised, HF Tiger 5T. Tiger will probably be remembered by us as the best breeding bull we have ever used. Since Tiger daughters have been in production at Hamilton Farms, those daughters have been responsible for producing so many of our high-selling bulls each year."

Upcoming Sale:

29th Annual Bull & Select Female Sale

March 27, 2024 - Hamilton Farms Sale Facility

Photos courtesy Hamilton Farms

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