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Small Herd Keeps Part-time Cattleman Busy

Part-time cattle farmer Andy Grass will tell you quick that he does not have any wild animals on his farm. His statement was proven by his momma cows, which competed for sugar cubes at arm’s length. – Photos by David Howell

As a sidebar to his cattle farm, Andy Grass acquired several donkeys. These animals are known to keep canines away from cattle, but Grasses’ two jennies have become family pets.

By David Howell

For every big-time farmer in the county, there are numerous small, part-time farmers scattered across the hills and hollows. Some may have a small truck-patch garden, while others have a few head of cows in the pasture, out back.

    Last week, during a recent agriculture outing, MSU Extension Agent Steve Cummings and the Herald visited with Andy Grass. Most folks know Grass is retired military and also a former rural mail carrier. Grass stays busy in his retirement, and one of his hobbies is taking care of 17 sleek, fat momma cows.

    With his cows are nine newborn calves and he is anticipating eight more.

    “I put the bull in with them on New Year’s Day,” Grass says about his farming strategy. The timing for Grass likes for all of the calving to occur in September and October.

    “The calves will all come within 60 to 90 days,” Grass explains. This allows him to sell his calves, all at the same time, in June.

    “That is what they teach at Mississippi State,” Grass explains.

    Like their mothers, the calves are also healthy, and the bulk are solid black, with a white face – an ideal cross between Angus and Hereford.

    Grass is quick to offer an explanation for the quality of his calves.

    “That is a Danny Ingram bull,” he said, pointing to a healthy, Angus bull that sired each of the calves. “I am tickled to death with him,” Grass explains.

    Before the calves are taken to the sale, Grass tells us that he likes to put the cows up in a lot for five to six weeks.

    “It gives them that glow,” he explains. “The buyers know.”

    As far as striking it rich with his herd, Grass said his operation is too small.

    “It does keep your place from growing up,” he adds.

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