Charolais with a Side of Angus
The greatest compliment a son can give his parents is to follow in their footsteps, especially regarding his choice of occupation. Mark Satterfield along with his wife, Nancy, must bring special warmth to the hearts of his parents, Loyd and Joanne.
Located on 1,000 acres just south of Norfork, Ark., is Satterfield Charolais Farms. The family runs around 250 head of registered Charolais.
Loyd, a native Arkansan, moved his family from Mountain Home, Ark., to their present location 31 years ago. Until that time, they had rented farmland. It was challenging to live in town and maintain and work their cattle in Norfork. They have never regretted the move to the country.
When they purchased the land, it was not a working farm. Joanne said timber and brush were so thick, “you could hardly walk through it.” Years of hard work and determination have turned it into awell-maintained, smooth running farm.
The Satterfield family originally had cross-breeds, Brahmas and Charolais, raised as commercial cattle. Fourteen years ago they made the decision to convert the herd to registered Charolais.
Quality control is an important ingredient to the Satterfields. They are in business to sell registered seed stock, and also sell semen. If any of their bulls don’t meet strict qualifications, they’re castrated and taken to the sale barn.
They breed by artificial insemination and embryo transplant, but the cows are also covered by the bulls. They are bred to calve in both spring and fall, but mostly in the spring. In the past, French Charolais weren’t known for calving ease, but over the last 20 years, the breed has been modified for better calving.
The Satterfields raise more than just Charolais. Mark said, “I have recently started a small Angus herd. We have a lot of our bull customers that are looking for both. They’re wanting a couple of Charolais bulls, but they’re also wanting an Angus for their heifers. That way we’re able to offer both registered Charolais and Angus bulls.”
Their prize bull, Infinite Justice, won the Denver stock show last year, and is also a grand champion bull of both Missouri and Arkansas. Other awards for both bulls and females cover the walls of their office. The family is understandably proud.
Although most of the herd is on Bermuda grass pasture all summer, Infinite Justice is hay fed year round. The Satterfields buy their hay, feeding both round and large square bales. They prefer square bales because they are more economical to transport and can be stacked and stored easier in the barn.
There’s a calving barn just across the pasture from Loyd and Joanne’s house. When it’s calving time, Joanne can keep an eye on things from her sunroom window.
Loyd founded Satterfield Propane, the family's main business, years ago when Mark and his sister, Carrie, were young. When Mark went off to college and Loyd was trenching, laying and welding pipe, Joanne did most of the farming. She said, “We do whatever it takes to get by. We each have to pull our weight for it to work.”
Joanne made this statement as she was heading out the door to pick up the grandkids, Taylor and Justin. Although both children have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, the family is convinced that living on the farm is a plus. The healthy lifestyle and constant monitoring by “Nurse Nancy” has allowed the children to lead a normal life. In fact, Taylor calls the farm “a piece of heaven.”
The Satterfields don’t have a lot of down time. Between owning a gas pipeline company, raising cattle, showing heifers and prize bulls and raising children, there’s not much time for a vacation. And did we mention that Mark is also the president of the Charolais Association of Arkansas?
Mark said, “If we can catch a week or two off, that’s when we repair fence and corrals.”
That’s the life of a busy cattle rancher—all part of life on a little piece of heaven.