Ranching Feature: Walsh Ranch juggles cattle, hogs

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MEEKER I Tom and Lisa Walsh live on a ranch four miles east of Meeker. We co-manage a purebred cattle operation; have a small cattle herd of our own, and 20 commercial cross-bred sows. Both of us are lucky enough to work on the ranch. It is always a juggling act, but by day’s end, it seems to work out.
The purebred cattle take most our time since we are full-time employees, but we are able to fit our own cattle and hog operation into this schedule. Most of this is due to my very patient employer, my mother, Mary Strang.
New avenues are opening up for marketing our pigs. This fall we will be selling market hogs to a packer in Montrose. These pigs will be sold as antibiotic free animals. Our usual market has been the selling of show pigs, and antibiotics have been used on these. The market hogs will be sold at 250 pounds, where as the show pigs have been sold at 60 pounds. Raising an animal to a bigger weight will take more feed and time with a higher incidence for sickness. Here is where the challenge lies. If any pig is given an antibiotic, they cannot be sold in this program.
The show pig market has always been our main business and we plan on continuing this, but an opportunity for more pig markets is open to us. We are excited about our new venture, because if we can succeed we are able to stay in this business of helping to feed the world.
That is what agriculture is all about.
— Lisa Walsh