More Than Just For the Sale
Eddie Kinzer’s career in the Hereford business started in 1961 when he sold a pony that kept throwing him and bought his first Hereford heifer from Clint Waldon, a longtime Hereford breeder in northwest Arkansas.
Five years later, he had increased his herd to 12 head when he moved with his parents and sisters to Hogeye. The family lived in a house Eddie helped his grandfather and father build. Eddie and his wife, Lorraine, married in 1971 and raised their two daughters in a home just down the road. Eddie’s father, Jim, passed away in 1992, and Eddie moved his family back to his childhood home in 1998.
The Kinzers now raise nearly 75 Hereford cattle on the family’s land. They produce their own hay and have started custom baling for area producers.
Eddie’s youngest daughter, Jennifer (Emerson), began showing cattle when she was nine, but her interest in agriculture began far earlier than that.
“Not long after she was born, I stuck Jennifer in a five gallon bucket and took her to the barn,” Eddie said. “I told her mother ‘this one’s mine,’ and she has been helping me ever since.”
Eddie said the family traveled all around the state and across the country showing Herefords. Most years, they were attending seven to eight shows a year and taking four to seven head to each show.
“Although Jennifer and I did the showing, we stayed organized because of Lorraine. She kept up with registration papers, entered us in the shows and ran back and forth from the barn to the show ring making sure we were on time to the right class with the right animal,” he said.
Although his other daughter, Karol (Elkins), was not as interested in the cattle business, Eddie said she still went to most of the shows with the family.
“Stock shows became our family vacations,” he said. “We never took a vacation without pulling a trailer behind us.”
Since showing his first animal in 1963, watching his daughter show Herefords for most of her life and serving on the Arkansas Hereford Association board of directors for nearly 10 years, Eddie has seen a lot of changes in the industry over the past 45 years.
“The cattle we started with were short and stocky, and then we went to the other extreme of very large-framed animals that required a lot of feed,” he said. “The Hereford breed is leveling out. We are now producing thicker, meatier animals.”
Today, the Kinzers continue to increase the quality of their cattle. They artificially inseminate cows to bring different bloodlines to the herd and recently had their first success with embryo transplants.
“It’s smart to spend money on a good bull,” Eddie said. “We strive to use good bulls to improve the herd’s longevity and production.”
Eddie said his father established a base for bulls in the area and created many repeat customers, but the Kinzers sell cattle to many different people.
“We sell cattle at a few Arkansas Hereford Association sales and in private treaty sales to producers and 4-H and FFA members,” he said. “Herefords make great projects because of their mild temperament.”
The Kinzers even held their own production sales at their home in the mid and late '70s. Eddie said his granddad and father built the sale arena and most of his other family members would all have cattle to sell.
“It was a family thing, and it still is,” he said. “My youngest sister and her husband still raise cattle, my oldest sister’s husband helps with all of the equipment repair. Karol and her husband, Craig, are always willing to help, and Jennifer and her husband, Ryan, are a big part of what we do around here.”
Eddie said he is proud of his daughter and her interest in agriculture and the family’s business. He said Jennifer’s love for raising and showing Herefords runs strong. In fact, she and her dad still compete in four or five open shows around the state, and Jennifer and Ryan will take over the family’s operation in the future.
Until then, all of the family members continue to work side-by-side raising, showing and selling Hereford cattle.
While his introduction to the cattle business may have come after getting thrown from his pony one too many times, Eddie has created a legacy and looks forward to watching his granddaughters, Jill Emerson and Emma Elkins, show Hereford cattle one day.
“Cattle are definitely better than a pony,” he said with a laugh.