Ok­tibbeha farmer wel­comes fam­ily cat­tle

Starkville Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LIE BEN­TON educ@starkvilledai­lynews.com

They're some of the best of their breed, and now they're mov­ing in just down the road.

Dud­ley Wal­drop and Pam Wal­drop took a de­liv­ery of 70 head of bran­gus cat­tle to their Ok­tibbeha County farm Fri­day. The herd ar­rived from the White Ranch in Floresville, Texas around noon on Fri­day. The White Ranch was op­er­ated by Pam Wal­drop's aunt Carolyn White and her late hus­band Eric White. Af­ter Eric's death in March, Dud­ley Wal­drop pur­chased the herd.

“They be­longed to my wife's un­cle and aunt,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said. “It's a herd of reg­is­tered bran­gus that they started and ex­panded and im­proved the ge­net­ics. They used to have sales where they would sell breed­ing bulls, and one of their bulls was over $75,000. Other bulls they col­lected se­men from, and the se­men was up to $100 a straw. The White Ranch is known all over Texas for their qual­ity bran­gus cat­tle.

Dud­ley Wal­drop said he had re­tired from farm­ing four years ago af­ter decades in the dairy and beef in­dus­tries. How­ever, when the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase the herd came along, he jumped at the chance.

“I've ad­mired these cat­tle since '02, as my wife and I vis­ited their farm,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said. “I never thought I would have the op­por­tu­nity to own such qual­ity cat­tle, but as (Carolyn and Eric White) got older, and Mr. White's health de­te­ri­o­rated, they re­duced the size of their herd. They chose the best of the best to keep, and we bought them. We were for­tu­nate enough to buy them.”

The Wal­drops plan to grow the herd over time.

“We'll keep all of our heifers, and we will sell bulls to farm­ers for breed­ing stock, and we plan to in­crease this herd every year,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said.

The Wal­drops will sell some bull calves, but keep the best ex­am­ples on their farm for use as breed­ing stock.

“The best of the best, we will keep and mar­ket to other farm­ers to im­prove their ge­net­ics,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said.

The herd ar­rived at the Wal­drop farm in two 18-wheel­ers af­ter an overnight jour­ney. At its new home, the herd will ini­tially be kept in 200 acres of pas­ture.

“We're go­ing to un­load them into this feed­lot, let them cool down, drink water, eat feed, and then grad­u­ally drift out onto the pas­ture,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said.

Bran­gus cat­tle are a cross be­tween In­dian brah­man cat­tle and American an­gus. The breed keeps the best traits of both, the qual­ity beef of an an­gus and the brah­man's abil­ity to thrive in hot weather.

Carolyn White dis­cussed her and her hus­band's in­volve­ment with the cat­tle, which they pur­chased in 1992. She said at its big­gest, the White Ranch was 1,500 acres, be­fore she and her hus­band be­gan down­siz­ing in the months prior to his death. Prior to the Whites' pur­chase of the ranch, the prop­erty was owned by Texas busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist Clay­ton Wil­liams, who launched an un­suc­cess­ful gu­ber­na­to­rial bid in 1990.

“It was for sale, and we had bought some cat­tle from (Wil­liams), so we went down there and looked at it and bought it cat­tle and all, and it was bran­gus,” Carolyn White said. “That's how we got into the bran­gus busi­ness.”

She said was glad the herd was staying in the fam­ily. She plans to come see the cat­tle at their new home later this year.

“I didn't want to just sell them to any­body, and I didn't want to send them to the mar­ket, be­cause that's some­thing you don't want to do with some­thing that's part of your heart,” Carolyn White said. “Like I said Pamela Sue (Wal­drop) was down here, and she spoke to Dud­ley, and that's how she ended up with the cat­tle.”

She said she knows Dud­ley Wal­drop will take good care of the herd.

“We're very ex­cited that we have the op­por­tu­nity to grow this herd, to have this herd com­ing to our farm,” Dud­ley Wal­drop said. “We're just thrilled.”

(Photo by Char­lie Ben­ton, SDN)

Dud­ley and Pam Wal­drop took de­liv­ery of 70 head of bran­gus cat­tle to their farm in Ok­tibbeha County. The cat­tle orig­i­nated from White Ranch in Texas, for­merly owned by Pam Wal­drop's aunt Carolyn White and late un­cle Eric White.

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