Hinman pursues dream of cattle ranching
By the time she was a senior in high school, one Wheatland, Wyo., youth couldn’t imagine a life doing anything other than riding her horse through the pasture checking on her herd of cow/calf pairs.
Kellie Hinman pursued her dream. After graduating from high school, she attended the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis where she took classes in animal science, beef production, carcass evaluation and beef artificial insemination. “I went to college for two years at NCTA and graduated with an associate’s degree in applied sciences, which is mainly livestock management,” Hinman explained.
After college, Hinman started her own cattle business. “I am trying to raise my own show cattle and commercial cattle,” she explained. “I showed cattle pretty much all my life, and I really enjoy it. My dad grew up doing this type of stuff. Showing cattle was a good way to get some money together in a college account. My dad got us started in this, and I just decided to continue with it, so I kept going.”
Hinman said in the two years since she has went out on her own, she has learned a lot. “Cattle take a lot of work and time, especially during calving season,” she explained. “The hardest part of all was waiting for them to make a profit. It takes awhile.”
Hinman is developing a cow herd of Maine and Maine-Angus cows. She said there is a few in her herd with three-way breeding, too. Her cows are artificially inseminated to popular show cattle sires like Sun Seeker, Who Made Who, Dr Who, Dirty Hairy, and Beer For My Horses. “My goal is to raise good quality cattle, and try to raise what people are looking for in show cattle,” she said. “I have selected cows with good bone … and a lot of hair,” she said, laughing. “I also want cows with all-around soundness and a calm disposition. Most of my heifers are pretty good. If you start working with the calves early enough, they usually calm down. Once in a while, though, I will have one that doesn’t.”
Hinman said she also tries to select cattle with good muscling and marbling. “I want to raise cattle that are still useful even if they don’t make show cattle. I think my calves are still above average for market,” she said. Her commercial calves are marketed to a feedlot. “My dad has cattle, too. His cattle are just commercial, but if he has any calves that are of show quality, he lets me trade with him.”
Most of the cows in Hinman’s herd are moderate in frame and average about 1,100 pounds. “I have a few that are bigger than that,” she said. “The calves usually finish out between 1,200 to 1,300 pounds.”
Hinman markets her cattle in a number of ways. “Most of my show cattle are marketed on the Internet,” she said. Hinman has her own website: lazy2klivestock.com. She also sells a few of her prospects through the Sidwell’s Club Calf Sale in Gill, Colo. “I bought some of my cows from them,” she explained, “so, they let me sell some of my prospects there.”
Two years ago, Hinman also started taking a pen of three calves to the National Western Stock Show. “I think it is pretty good advertising,” she said. “Last year, there were a lot more people looking at the cattle. It didn’t seem like there were as many people this year, and prices were down some, but we still did pretty well.”
Hinman said she also hopes to take some calves to the open prospect calf show at the Wyoming State Fair in August. “I am hoping that by competing in this show, more people will see my cattle,” she said.
Hinman encourages young people interested in becoming ranchers to check into the Beginning Farmer and Rancher programs offered by the government. “I would encourage young people to try and buy some land to get started, or if they have a place to run some cattle, obtain a loan to buy some cattle,” she said.
Hinman feels fortunate her parents were there to support her when she decided to ranch. “My dad lets me run my cattle on his place,” she said. “That has been very helpful to me. I have purchased a lot of my own equipment, but there are some things I share with him.”
Hinman’s father, David, also operates a very successful hay operation and Kellie helps with that as needed. “My dad raises a little bit of everything,” she explained. “He has mostly alfalfa, but also a little grass-alfalfa mix. He sells it to dairies, horse owners, and he just started selling some to goat owners.”
Recently, Kellie’s involvement in the family haying operation earned her first-place honors in the alfalfa hay category of the first-ever World Ag Expo Forage Challenge in Tulare, Calif. Thirty-nine producers from seven western states entered the contest. Hinman said she split the $2,000 she received in prize money with her father. “My dad has entered hay contests like this for several years. He has competed in the hay show at the Wyoming State Fair and the Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. He likes to enter these contests to see how our hay compares to everyone else,” she said.
For more information please contact Hinman at (307) 331-8776.