ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) – As cattle are essential to the Cattle Festival, News 10’s Rodricka Taylor took a look inside at what it takes to be a cattle farmer.
Calvin LeBouef, 76, of Abbeville is a cattle farmer who has been in the industry for 60 to 70 years.
He shared his passion for working with cattle with News 10.
“My dad gave me my first cow when I was 4 or 5 years old. I had a job, and before I went to school, I had to feed the calves, and every once in a while, if one were sick or something, if I could heal it and make it better,” said LeBouef. “Dad would give me the calf, and I started my herd that way, and I worked my way up.”
He said most of his daily routine is going around and checking if all the cattle are in the pasture and making sure there’s nothing ill or if a new calf is born. All the cows are tagged to help keep a record of them.
“It’s hard work, and you have to love it to stay in it because the money is there, but it’s no big money-making thing,” said LeBouef. “The calves go from a momma to a grass yard, and from there they go to a feed yard, then they go to a slaughterhouse plant, then it’s shipped back to all the stores. So the plant house couldn’t be killed because a lot of their people were out, so that could have affected the market some.”
He also said that Covid-19 made the cattle industry difficult to manage. For the last four to five years, the market was barely paying expenses. However, in the last month, things took a turn for the better, and helped his family who haven’t sold those calves yet. The most difficult part of farming LeBouef said is collecting hay for the cattle.
“We’re going from here to the intercostal city,” he said. “You gotta roll it, cut it, then you rake it, then you bell it, then you haul it to where the cattle are, and then you need the right weather.”
He said the most enjoyable thing about being a cattle farmer is pinning them up and working them. He enjoys F1 cattle because they’re a good form of production. The Brahmans are also a favorite because they make good calves.
“As age comes, it gets rough and rough, but it gives you a day’s work. Nobody doesn’t take it like it used to,” he said.