About 100 producers attending last week’s KLA/Kansas State University Ranch Management Field Day near Medicine Lodge heard a discussion on succession planning for family ranches and saw a live demonstration of effective cattle-handling techniques.

The event was hosted by the Gant-Larson Ranch, a seventh-generation operation, featuring a cow-calf herd, foundation quarter horses and an agritourism business.

The Larsons partner in the cattleoperation with Pat and Anita Bedwell of Lake City.

During a panel discussion on succession planning, Bob Larson told producers he sought a partnership with the Bedwells in order to continue in the cattle business.

He said the operation was not profitable enough to fully support two families and, after building a cowherd for several decades, he needed to make some progressive changes.

“There were some things, like artificial insemination, I wanted to do with my cowherd to continue to beprogressive,” said Larson. “However, I knew I wasn’t physically able to accomplish certain aspects, so I asked Pat if he would be interested in a partnership.”

The two families have been partnering on the cowherd since 1996.

Bedwell said this provided him a great opportunity to grow his cowherd at a faster pace.

Larson provides the Angus and Red Angus bulls that are used on the females.

The calf crop is shared between the two, with each receiving 1/3 of the calves and the remaining 1/3 being sold.

According to Frontier Farm Credit Senior Vice President of Business Services Dennis Roddy, also on the panel, the key to a good succession plan is to carefully assess the situation and determine what needs to be accomplished.

He said the lack of communication among family members and partners typically is what causes a plan to fail.

Cattle-handling clinician Buster McLaury gave field day attendees a first hand look at how cattle should be worked horseback to maximize profits.

He said minimizing stress through quiet handling techniques would help maintain good quality calves.

McLaury suggested introducing cattle to the horse early on so the animals become comfortable with it in the pen or pasture.

He said producers must have patience when working cattle and should not pressure the animals through gates and alleyways.

Additional educational topics discussed during the field day included eradicating feral hogs in Kansas and the “Locate in 48” program.

USDA Wildlife Biologist Chad Richardson provided suggestions on how producers can help eradicate feral hogs in their area.

Landowners and their employees or tenants currently are allowed to kill hogs found on their land.

Richardson did encourage produces to contact the Kansas Animal Health Department (KAHD) when hogs are spotted so KAHD and USDA know where to increase their eradication efforts.

KLA Executive Director of Feedlot Services Clayton Huseman and KLA Stockgrowers Council Executive Committee member Roger Giles, Bucklin, told those in attendance that premises registration is key in helping the industry prepare for an emergency disease outbreak.

Giles said he registered his premises to help aid animal health officials in conducting efficient disease tracebacks.

He said the ability to quickly find the source of a disease would be beneficial to all beef producers.

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