Beginning the Polled Miniatures

By John & Betty Johnson

Our quest for a smaller better beef animal began in mid 1993. When looking for some use for our small acreage, we found an ad for Point of Rocks Ranch in a cattle trade magazine.

Our daughters, Jayme and Jeanna had both shown Polled Herefords in 4-H and we had put together a small registered cow herd in Straitside’s name.

At this time Jayme was finishing her junior college and going off to Rawhide Tech in California for an Agri-Equine Education. Jeanna was soon to be out of the nest and though still showing Herefords, was developing an interest in raising pigs from her own sows. Betty and I began to be concerned with the amount of labor required of us and asked ourselves: What did we want to do with our land and our time, considering my upcoming retirement? We agreed that we’d like a small, agricultural, profitable endeavor which we could mostly handle ourselves.

At one time Betty suggested we look into ostriches! This sent me on an all out search for anything but ostriches! At this time I found Largent’s Ad for Miniature Herefords.
After several conversations with Roy Largent, we agreed on an arrangement that would establish Straitside Ranch as the beginning of development of Polled Miniature Herefords using our Registered Polled Herefords and Largent’s Horned sires. This arrangement was to last some 12 plus years and was always an agreeable/workable situation. We’ve felt much gratitude to the Largents for their integrity throughout those years.

In the fall of 1993 Roy and family brought us Nugget 28, the first of 4 horned sires we used on our polled cattle. Nugget 28 and Semen from Nugget 13 gave us 9 calves
in the spring of 1995. We were in the Miniature Hereford business and the next 15 years of calf crops have been dedicated to removing horns and downsizing. Through selective breeding we’ve built a line of short, stocky, beefy polled miniatures.

Also, we’ve seen and participated in the establishment of local Miniature Hereford shows at our county fair and county fairs in the closest two other counties. We were there at the very first competitive national show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1997; the first State Fair in Oregon in 1999; San Antonio in 2000 and 2001; and Austin in 2005.

In the fall of 1999, we were greatly blessed with the birth of “Tracer.” This bull was the first frame 0, fully polled, bull with abundant thickness throughout . He would prove
to be the foundation for our herd for years. Tracer removed horns and improved conformation to such a degree that he helped us jump ahead 10 years in development.
Tracer’s offspring have taken numerous top spots in major national shows.

Straitside is continuing to improve the Polled Miniature Hereford and 2009’s
calf crop is meeting our expectations.
Recently the establishment of Capeside Farm, Fayetteville, N.C. by our kids Ben and Jayme Williams provides another venue for viewing our bloodlines.

This fall we will have a few select cattle for sale as well as semen. Consider a polled sire to begin removing horns from your herd.

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