Beefmasters: Red to Black
James Skelton of Springdale, Ark., has been in the cattle business for almost 41 years. “My dad and his brothers have always been in agriculture,” James stated.
James started his herd once he graduated high school; he bought a couple of heifers and cows. “Then I married my wife, Mary Ann, and I got in a partnership with her dad and we’ve had cattle ever since,” James said.
James considers himself, “Not what you call a full time farmer.”
James retired from the Springdale, Ark., fire department after 27 years. James has been in the registered Beefmaster cattle industry for approximately nine years.
James raises Beefmaster cattle, because he said they are good mothers, they have good disposition and they have longevity.
One improvement James would make about his farming operation is to have one central location. James keeps most of his registered cattle close to his house, but also has commercial cattle in two other locations.
James has a spring and fall breeding schedule. “But I have calves all year long,” James added. James also named the breeding schedule as his greatest challenge in his operation. He is trying “to organize the breeding so they will become more synchronized; better than what I have now.”
James is keeping accurate records in order to improve the bloodlines of his Beefmasters. “I am trying to improve on the genetics by mixing the old blood lines with the new blood lines, and trying to come up with a consistent conformation that everyone would want,” James said.
The beefmaster breed has made a shift in the past five years from the traditional red coloring to black. “I am partial to the red, but I have to have the black to compete in today’s market,” James stated.