OCA President Charlie Swanson on Cattle Industry Mood- Group Honors Lloyd Ely As Cattleman of the YearMon, 25 Jul 2016 06:04:58 CDT
Even with the July swoon in cattle prices, the mood among cattle producers was mostly upbeat, according to their President, Charlie Swanson of Roosevelt, Oklahoma. Swanson told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays that "I think our mood is really positive for the beef industry...the only negative affecting us immediately is the price has dropped out of bed in the last three to four weeks here." He says that producers at the Convention have asked him "Charlie, what can we do about the price?" and he admits, not much- but adds that are a lot of other things they are working on to that can benefit cattle producers in the state.
Swanson says two top priorities for the organization for the rest of 2016- the passage of State Question 777- and securing enough signatures to trigger a vote for a supplemental state level beef checkoff assessment of a dollar to bolster the efforts of the current beef checkoff program.
Swanson talked with Hays right after the Saturday morning business session at the 2016 Convention- and you can hear their conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
A highlight of the 2016 Convention was the announcement on Friday night of the 2016 Cattleman of the Year. The 2016 recipient of this award given by OCA was Lloyd Ely of Duncan.
From the convention script that describes the life of Lloyd Ely- he "knew at an early age that his calling in life was to care for the land God had provided. Lloyd was born and raised north of Velma on the same property that is part of Sugarloaf Ranch today. His father, A.V. “Doc” Ely, started out as a sharecropper on the land in 1929. He slowly acquired land until his death in 1999.
"Lloyd’s grandfather, Jim Ely, settled a homestead in the Cheyenne Valley of Major County during the Cherokee Strip land run of 1898. In 1912 he traded this land for a farm in Artesia, New Mexico, with a fine artesian well. Two years later, when the well went dry, Jim packed up his family and traveled back to Oklahoma in a covered wagon, settling down in the Velma area on the land that Doc would start farming a few years later. The Ely family survived the Great Depression by their faith in God and hard work.
"In February 1959, Lloyd married his high school sweetheart Sheila Doty. Two months later they purchased 1,010 acres four miles north of Velma. This was the birth of Sugarloaf Ranch. In January of 1960, they had another birth, this time a daughter named Sandy. Two other children, Melinda & Mark, followed over the next ten years.
"Lloyd and Sheila were able to grow their operation through buying and leasing land. A Hereford cow-calf herd was the foundation of the ranch. Lloyd harvested wheat and grew alfalfa for hay. Sheila has maintained meticulous operation records from the beginning. In 1991, Lloyd and Sheila were honored with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Farm Family of the Year award. Lloyd worked with OSU’s state extension specialists throughout the years, allowing them to run several research trials on the ranch. This formed a strong bond between Sugarloaf Ranch and faculty at OSU that still remains today.
"The ranch presently consists of four “divisions”. Lloyd & Sheila remain very active in helping everyone out while maintaining a fall calving herd. Mark & Renea Ely (and children Emily & Bryan), Kent & Sandy Pogue, and Zac & Adam Pogue are the other three branches of the ranch. Melinda Ely Gallagher, along with her husband Stuart and kids Jared, Matt, and Megan, live in Owasso and make frequent trips to visit.
"Currently, the operation runs 1200 Hereford x Angus cows. Approximately one third of the cows calve in September and October, then the calves are sold right off the cow in July. The remainder of the cowherd calves from February thru April. These calves are retained and pastured on wheat through the following spring. Replacements are selected from the top end of heifers, with a moderate framed black baldy being the ultimate goal. Most of the ranch is native tallgrass, with old world bluestems, Bermuda, and Jose wheat grass planted over the years in the less fertile farm ground."
Two other awards were a part of the celebration on Friday evening at the Convention. The OCA presented their 2016 Legislative Appreciation Award to State Representative Scott Biggs, who serves State House District 13 in and around the Chickasha area. Biggs has been one of the Legislative leaders in passing the underlying legislation for State Question 777, the Right to Farm Constitutional Amendment proposal.
The Organization also presented their 2016 Distinguished Service Award to Blayne Arthur for her years of work as the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. Arthur has recently made a career path change- moving from the ODAFF to the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, where she has taken on the job of Executive Director of the Foundation.
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