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Black is Only a Color

By   /  May 7, 2018  /  3 Comments

In a market that seems to tell us that we can only make money selling black cattle, Don Ashford has a different story to tell.

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I really appreciate Mr. Don Keener’s comments on my piece “Breeds For A  Changing Climate.&
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About the author

My name is Don Ashford and my wife is Betty and we live in Ethel, LA. It would be impossible for me to write a bio about myself without including Betty in it. We have been together since high school. I was in the senior class of 1955 and she was in the class of 1957. Do the math. We have raised cattle since 1959 except for a little time that I spent with Uncle Sam. We have grazed stockers, owned several cow- calf herds and custom grazed cattle for other folks. I worked as a pipefitter for more than 25 years. Until we went into the dairy business in 1977 we were as most people down here part-timers or week-end ranchers. Later after we had learned enough about MIG to talk about it so that it would be understood by others we put together a pasture-walk group to introduce it to our friends and neighbors. We belong to more farm groups then we probably should but we get great joy working with other people. What makes us most proud are our son and daughter, our 5 grandkids and our 7 great-grand kids. It has been a hell of a trip so far, but we are not done yet.


  1. Diann Mabus says:

    Excellent article.

  2. John Marble says:

    Thanks for this timely reminder, Don. My old friend Duane told me many years ago that you “buy” your profit when you buy the animal. He meant that if you are paying attention, you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of margin that calf will be bringing you a month or 6 months from now. He also taught me about “upgrading” cattle. If they are sick, you can treat them. If they’re skinny, you can feed ’em. If they are singles, you can sort them and group them. But if you are starting with nice, fluffy, straight black #1s, there ain’t much upgrading to do. And likely, very little margin. Consequently, I buy a lot of unusual, off-color cattle, and they do just fine for me. Plus, they make people laugh: spots, stripes, horns, laughing all the way to the bank.

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