The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Farmer Q&A: Beef Cattle

Farmer Q&A: Beef Cattle

From the Farmer's Tractor

May 27, 2013


Leanne Cope, 33, raises beef cattle with her husband Glen and his family on approximately 2,000 acres in Southwest Missouri. Leanne has been farming for over 11 years, while Glen has been raising cattle all his life.

How did you get into farming? 

Glen was raised on his family's farm, Cope Farms. I began as we started dating and got married.

How have your farming practices changed over the last 10 years?

We have started doing a lot more artificial insemination. This allows us to select the characteristics or traits we want in our calves and cattle. Traits we look at include size of the calves at birth, how easy they are to deliver, fat distribution and muscling. We also do a lot more seed drilling to reduce the amount of soil erosion while planting our grasses.

How will farming evolve in the next five years?

Farming has become much more technologically advance. I think you'll see technologies that we can use to help us monitor and manage the health of our herd and increase the qualities of our forages. 

What is your greatest challenge as a farmer?

Reassuring people that America has the safest and best food supply out there. People want to know their food is safe for their families, and it is.  

How does a farmer know what a retailer will want a year from now?

You have to look at what the market is trending towards and listen to what the customer says. 

What steps are you taking toward conservation on the farm?

Some of the things we do include no-tilling our seeds and crops to reduce erosion, feed high quality feeds for better energy conversion, and we rotate our herd from pasture to pasture to prevent over-grazing.

Do you sell any of your products locally, and if so, what is the process?

Our cattle go to feed lots in Kansas and Iowa so they can finish the growing process before harvesting.

What kinds of reactions do you get from consumers when they meet you in person?

People seem to be genuinely interested in what we do and how we do it. They want to know about how their food is raised and taken care of.