The farm, which has 350 acres of pasture and hay fields, plus another 100 acres of trees, now has 270 Black Angus — 85 of them bulls and 185 females — that are sold at about one year old as breeding stock to others who raise cattle. The farm’s focus is selling genetics that will help others improve their herds and be more profitable.
The farm transports its animals without a delivery charge across the country.
Cindy Meyer, an Ohio State University Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources educator who helped organize the weekends event, said 40 percent of Butler County land is used for agriculture, which she said remains not only the biggest industry in the state, but also in the county, “with almost 900 farms.”
The family farm started in the 1800s with short-horn cattle, and later went to Hereford cattle before the father of Bill Roe’s wife, Bev, switched to Angus in 1928, because, “he thought that was going to be the breed of the future,” Bill Roe said.
The animals are raised on pasture and hay. No chemicals are applied to the lush green fields to reduce weeds. Instead, bush hogs are used to cut seed-heads from the weeds so they don’t reproduce.
Most cattle spend most of their lives eating grass, because they’re born eating grass, and keep eating grass until they’re six months old. Many later switch to a mixture of corn to provide pencil-line marbling that leaves a buttery taste in steaks.
“We do a lot of testing on our animals,” Roe said. “For example, when they’re a year old, we ultrasound them to see what their steaks look like, and that goes on their database, so we can tell, while they’re alive, if they’re prime steaks, so people who come to buy our genetics, they’ll say, ‘We’re looking for genetics that have prime steaks,’ so we can sell them those.”
“We also do DNA work on all our animals, for parent verification,” he said. “We can pre-determine the birth-weight of the calves. It’s through natural genetic selection. That’s all it is.”
People who visited the farm were very appreciative for the opportunity to take their children and grandchildren to pet the cattle, many for the first time.
Erin Herman and her daughters Hannah and Caroline were some of about 600 visitors who visited. They are part of an Oxford 4H group called the City Slickers.
“We don’t live on a farm,” Erin Herman said, noting the tour was a chance to “experience a day in the life of a farm.”
Ann Everett and her son, Seth, from Oxford, visited because Seth’s uncle works on the farm. Seth most enjoyed petting the cattle.
“The one thing that we’ve tried to do with our farm tour here is to let our friends in agriculture and friends that are not in agriculture come and take a look at what a real farm is like,” Roe said, “and be able to ask some of those questions that I think are important for the consumer to ask, like, ‘Tell me why our food supply is safe. What is GMO (genetically modified organism)? How do antibiotics affect them? What’s the difference between grass-fed cattle and non-grass-fed? Those are things I think our discussion needs to be about.”
“The food that we produce here is the same food that we eat,” Roe said. “So we’re very concerned about the quality of the product.”