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Producers enjoy raising Scottish Highland cattle

Producers enjoy raising Scottish Highland cattle

STOUTLAND, Mo. — For Bill and Kathy Bolch, Scottish Highland cattle are a great fit for their ranch in Laclede County, Missouri.

“They’re a wonderful breed,” Kathy Bolch says. “They’re very calm.”

They sell beef at farmers markets with the name Highway H Highland Cattle Ranch, raising their cattle as all grass-fed and finished, with no added hormones.

The cattle are distinctive looking, with long shaggy coats and horns, and Bolch says this helps keep the cattle warm in the winter without as much fat, meaning the meat is naturally leaner.

She says there are several things they like about the Scottish Highland cattle.

“The quality of their meat, their disposition,” Bolch says. “They’re easy keepers.”

She says the cattle also are good foragers that make the most out of acreage.

The Scottish Highland is an old breed, with one of the oldest herd books in the world. They’ve been raised for centuries in Scotland.

The farmers markets remain the Bolches top way of selling meat and connecting with consumers.

“That’s still our main thing,” Bolch says.

The coronavirus pandemic did have some impact on the farmers markets, she says.

“People, I think, were a little bit more cautious than they have been at other times because of (COVID),” Bolch says.

Still, she says there has continued to be interest in their product. People were interested in buying local even before the pandemic, and that hasn’t changed.

“Local food is very important to people,” Bolch says. “It is important for people to deal locally.”

She also enjoys the chance to connect with people at the markets and talk about what they do. That opportunity to interact, along with the cattle themselves, are what Bolch enjoys most about what she and Bill do for a living.

“I like the disposition of the cows and being with the cows, and the ability to meet with other people,” she says. “Just the social aspect of it, and the personality of the cows.”

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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