By Diane Alu

Neighboring, visiting, networking, call it whatever you like, one thing is for sure, time spent with other Miniature Hereford breeders is time well spent, and sure to be delightful. Even if you don’t agree on a whole lot of issues regarding breeding, raising, or showing, grass fed or grain, A.I. or keeping a bull, one thing you WILL find
you have in common is the love of the breed.

My youngest daughter and I recently took a day trip to visit one of the few Miniature Hereford breeders here in New York State, Tom Harrison of Little Pond Farm in Eagle Bridge, NY. This was strictly a business trip, as we were considering purchasing one of his young bulls he had for sale. While we have bought cattle from pictures online before, and not had any issues, we thought it may be nice to go meet Tom and see his operation and cattle in person. We had a wonderful visit, with Tom giving us the grand tour of his 5 acre operation, his barns and pastures. We were able to walk right up to his gorgeous little herd of polled mini’s, and my daughter had fun taking photos of a very curious month old heifer calf that followed her everywhere.

From just our couple hour visit, we got to hear all about his bloodlines, his breeding program, where his cattle came from, which ones worked and which ones were sent on their way. We toured his old barn with his new head lock set-up (have to get those!), and his new fabric hay storage barn that was just completed. We checked out his fencing, his pastures, his feeding set-up and his “little pond”. It is amazing what you can learn from a visit to another breeder’s farm or ranch; I am still thinking of ways to incorporate some of the things I saw that worked for Tom into our operation.

If at all possible, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, try and find some time to take a “mini” vacation; go visit a Miniature Hereford breeder close to you, or, if there are cattle shows where you are, attend, even if you are not showing an animal yourself.. Even for a couple hours, there is so much that can be gleaned from the sharing of ideas and information, not to mention making new friends as well! Although we would have liked to make it a longer trip and taken in some of the local sights, we were just thrilled we’d made the decision to take the day, drive out and say “hi there, neighbor!”

Oh, and by the way, we did buy ourselves a new herd bull. Thanks Tom!

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