No Place Like Home
Marlene Robertson returned to her family’s Wright County, Mo., farm to build a cattle operation
As a single woman, raising cattle in the Ozarks, Marlene Robertson of rural Wright County, Mo., said it take a lot of hard work and patience.
“Because cows don’t always do what you want,” she said, with a smile. “But, I love it.”
Marlene started her cattle operation. with bottle calves.
“I started with bottle calves, with black and Red Angus calves, and now have those and some that are a Charolais cross. The most I had was 10 at a time. Then I started buying them already weaned. I just started in this for extra income but I love the animals and I love being back on the farm, where I grew up.”
The farm she calls home is 180 acres purchased by her parents, Doyle and Norma Robertson in April 1958.
“It’s kind of funny; they moved here in April and I was born in May,” Marlene said.
Her father passed away several years ago but her mother still owns the land.
“Dad had beef cattle and also did hay. The land nearby is still owned by my great-uncles and my cousin is here close by, too. My dad was raised near here and there are a few Robertsons still in this area,” she explained in reference to the name of the road she lives on, Robertson Road.
“My mom leases out much of the land now for cattle and haying and I have my little part. I had goats for a while that I kept for a friend. There were 21 nannies, but you need really good fences for them,” she said with a laugh.
While raising cattle isn’t always easy, Marlene said it has it’s benefits.
“I really enjoy this and as for other women doing it, if they like livestock, then I’d say they’d also enjoy it. You have to be willing to work hard and it does get aggravating and sometimes I think about quitting,” she said. “The weather can be difficult and when they get through the fence, that’s a problem. Still, I’ve been doing this since 2009 and it is nice to get that extra check from the sale barn. I have a couple of good farmer friends who help me out when needed, and I do the same thing for them.”
At this time, Marlene is running a small herd, consisting of about a dozen mature cows. She also has nine bred heifers that will calve this spring.
“I’ve always been able to get mine bred by bulls belonging to the ones who lease the land from us so that has worked out well for me,” Marlene said. “I just sold five bull calves and I’ve had over 20 at different times. For the future, I’m planning on building my stock back up.”
While her farm is in part of her heritage, Marlene, like many producers, has to work off the farm, but there is always the desire to be home.
“I lived in town, in Lebanon (Mo.) for 21 years. I worked as a tower guard jailer for the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department for 11 years, and now I do home health care, staying with an individual who needs assistance. I moved back here in 2002,” she said.
“The original little rock house my parents had was still here and I wanted to try to repair it but it was really past that, so for now I have my mobile home. I hope to build another house here sometime in the future.”
Marlene’s siblings were also raised on the Wright County, Mo., farm, but have opted not be involved in agriculture.
“My sister lives in St. Louis where she is a teacher and my brother is a retired teacher in Las Vegas,” Marlene explained. “They like it that I’m here and they can come home to visit but they aren’t farmers.”
While her siblings haven’t shown an interest in continuing the farming way of life, Marlene is hopeful for the upcoming generation of her family.
“My daughters, Hillary and Holly, live in the area, one works at a local restaurant and one lives on her own farm with her family. I have four grandkids, too, so maybe there is still hope that one of them will want to come back here one day.”
While some living on a farm in rural Grovespring, Mo., not be right for everyone, Marlene said there’s no place she would rather be.
“After I moved back here, some people asked, ‘why would you want to live way out there?’ But for me, this is home,” she said.http://www.ozarksfn.com/2018/02/14/no-place-like-home-2/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/MRobertson-1024x683.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/MRobertson-150x150.jpgMissouri NeighborsNeighborsBeef Cattle,black angus,bottle calves,Cattle,Charolais,Laura L. Valenti,Marlene Robertson,Missouri,Red Angus,Robertson,Wright CountyMarlene Robertson returned to her family’s Wright County, Mo., farm to build a cattle operation As a single woman, raising cattle in the Ozarks, Marlene Robertson of rural Wright County, Mo., said it take a lot of hard work and patience. “Because cows don’t always do what you want,” she said,...Laura L. ValentiLaura L. Valentilauravalenti@live.comAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper