HARDIN, Mont. – With spring just around the corner, the Herman ranch is busy raising project animals for show season.
Two of the Herman children are in the process of raising cattle for show season and had their animals “weigh in” late in February. Jolene is raising two futurity heifers and one market steer for 4-H, while Colton also has a steer he is raising. The animals all weighed in between 800-900 pounds, making good progress for the coming season.
With the kids working on their projects, Lamont Herman said he has his own animal project in the works.
“I have spoken for a Blue Heeler female pup that I need to help me keep cattle moving,” he said.
Lamont noted that the ranch doesn’t have any shortage of dogs (the last tally being nine), but not all of them are suited for cow work.
“Of those dogs, five belong to the hired help and four are ours,” he said. “We have two that basically keep the concrete weighted down, a wiener dog named Chico and Jolene has an Australian/Catahoula pup named Spur.”
While dogs can be a big help on the ranch, horses are also a necessity. Lamont said the ranch has 14 horses right now, all at different ages.
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“We have a two-year-old we are starting, two older horses, a bunch of good ranch horses and one that needs to go to town,” he said.
Lamont usually rides a red roan mare named Bell for his daily work. He noted when reviewing the number of horses and dogs on the ranch that “if anything accumulates, it’s horses and dogs.”
When not taking care of animals on the ranch, the Hermans are focused on bringing new options to their storefront at 524 Liberty Street in Billings, Mont., where they sell beef, pork, and lamb direct to customers under the label “Montana Prime Meats.” Big sellers at the store have included pre-made meat loaf, bacon wrapped meatballs, and ready-to-cook pot roast recipes.
Lamont is also considering how some changes to livestock medications will affect the ranch this coming summer.
A directive from USDA will require ranchers to get a prescription from their veterinarian in order to have access to common antibiotics like LA200. He said his ranch will likely be able to handle the change due to their later calving dates of May and June.
“This really is one more thing going against February calvers,” he said. “It’s likely going to cost more and won’t be as easy as being able to pick some up when you are already at the feed store. It’s also hard to know how vets will handle offering this service. If you come later in the day, will they charge you after hour fees?”
While Lamont has concerns, he also recognizes the change are due to a larger concern that the overuse of antibiotics can create bacterial strains that are resistant to any treatment.
“We do see this kind of resistance in other areas of farming and ranching where certain tools have been overused, like herbicides or pesticides. I know weevils that are resistant to certain pesticides are becoming an issue for alfalfa growers, so the concern is valid,” he said. “I just wonder how much it will affect the family ranch.”