Town & Country
Name: Roy Downs
In Town: Roy has spent almost his entire adult life in the excavation and construction business. (Except for a short, 15-year stint when he and his brother owned Downs Brothers Service Station in Springfield, Mo.) From running a crew and digging basements for residential projects, to large commercial projects in and around Greene County, Roy said he is willing to work as much and as long as needed, if the work is available. “Now that the residential work is slowing down, I’m catering more to farmers or whoever calls,” he said. With his 953 C track loader caterpillar, he can do all kinds of dirt work, from pushing out fence rows to cleaning out ponds to tearing down old buildings.
In the Country: Roy grew up in rural Greene County. “There were nine of us in a four-bedroom house. We had two cows and chickens, and that’s how we survived,” Roy recalled. Roy remembers the day he knew he wanted to farm for the rest of his life. “I went over to our neighbors, who had a dairy farm at that time, and rode around on his tractor, and it just stuck,” he said.
So when Roy got back from two years in Vietnam, he bought some cows, and things have just grown from there. Today Roy has a 120 cow-calf operation and puts up 400 acres of hay. He said he rents most of the ground he uses.
How would you improve your farm if you could?
“I would do rotational grazing. Most of my ground is rented. You never know if you’re going to have it from one year to the next. Then you can get into renting ground too far away to be profitable,” Roy said. Roy had a 2615 BushHog mower stolen from him at the end of July. "You don't miss something until you go to get it," he noted. But Roy really misses the equipment now. "You just can't go buy another one." Roy is offering a $2,000 reward for the return of his mower.
What breed influences your herd?
"Angus and Limousin. I try to stay with something that brings a good price at the market. Seems like the Angus are running good. And I think my Angus cows are a little more hardy than my Limousin cows.”