Ruth Hambleton>ISM Interviews A-L>ISM Interviews A-L, Segment 12


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Currently use the natural breeding process with a new bull every 2 or 3 years. Bulls purchased from SIU Beef Performance Sale. Used to utilize AI (artificial insemination) but had some problems. Says cows are meant to graze and bulls are meant to service, so best practice is to let nature take its course.
Currently have a large round baler and a square baler along with "family heirloom" tractors such as a John Deere 720, Oliver 88, and Allis Chalmers. All the tractors are functional.
Markets do not affect their operation as much as grain farms which deal in commodities. They raise beef cattle feeder calves for sale. In addition, last year, 13 steers were finished out. She has appreciation for larger cattle finishing operations that must deal with smell, large food supply, etc. Feeder cattle and hogs being finished for market are having problems at the current time due to high prices associated with grain, which serves as the livestock's primary food, coupled with low market prices for cattle and hogs. She feels that the current situation will "rock" Illinois livestock operations if not corrected soon. Her dream is that markets will work and get back to normal. Gives example of using corn last year for feed to augment poor hay crop, but due to high price of corn this year, could not continue this practice. Therefore, had to come up with an innovative way to maintain nutrition levels of the livestock feed. Mentions cycle of market will eliminate inefficient producers and reward efficient operations. The current situation will not be continued forever. Situation will bring in new innovations.
The University of Illinois Extension Service provides the public outreach portion of the U of I's mission as a land grant university. She has been an Extension Advisor for nearly 30 years, and during the last 18 years, she has been in charge of Farm Management of the Marketing area. Her job is to work with the adult education program. Taking new findings and bring to farmers. Motto is putting knowledge to work.