I sat down with third generation cattle producer, Jeff Dameron, to discuss his life raising Angus cattle. Although his daily tasks are very different than the average American’s, his family is not so different after all. He grew up on the family farm, and after a few years working office jobs he decided to go back to his roots and start a family.
KEEGAN CASSADY: What is your role on the farm?
JEFF DAMERON: I am part owner and part manager. I have been home on the family farm for about fourteen years, but I have been involved with the farm on a limited basis ever since I got out of college.
CASSADY: What do you do on a typical day?
DAMERON: I have three kids of my own, I usually get them ready in the morning and get them off to school. This time of year (spring), were doing a lot of calving (cows giving birth to a calf), so we’ll check on cows that have been in labor during the night or that morning. We want to make sure those calves get off to a good start. After that, I oversee the health of all the cattle on the farm and beginning feeding for the day. We run about 300 head of cattle, so it can take 3-5 hours in the morning to feed and check on all of the animals.
CASSADY: What is your favorite part about raising cattle?
DAMERON: The lifestyle. It was something that I was raised in on our family farm. It’s a lifestyle that once it gets in your blood it’s hard to get out of it. I like the flexibility and being able to set my own schedule as well. I also enjoy being able to answer to myself. I have always liked working with animals along with the challenge and enjoyment that brings me as well. In general, I like working outdoors.
CASSADY: What made you decide to come back to the farm?
DAMERON: It’s what I enjoy doing. Regardless of the career you’re in, it is important to get a career that you enjoy. I’ve been involved with a couple different jobs off the farm. I was a farm manager, and I was involved with agricultural supplies sales for several years. The plan was always to move back to the farm when my wife and I had the opportunity. I worked on the farm as a kid, and my goal was always to get back here at some point. Fortunately, I was able to come back because the opportunity does not exist for a lot of farm families. Financially, the next generation cannot always come back and farm, but I was fortunate that I was able to do that.
CASSADY: What has been the most challenging part about raising cattle?
DAMERON: I think the most challenging thing about raising cattle, and farming in general, is not getting a weekly paycheck like many other jobs do. Income and expenses vary throughout the year, so you have to do a lot of planning and organization financially to make it work. In general, the commodity pricing changes frequently. On a broader scale, in agriculture we face the challenge of feeding an ever growing population with limited resources that being land, livestock, and, in some cases, feedstuffs. It is also a public relations challenge with different groups that challenge the different technologies we utilize to help feed that world.
CASSADY: With that said, what do you want consumers to know about beef production?
DAMERON: I think the biggest thing is that us, here in the United States, take a lot of pride in the beef cattle that we raise. We try to raise cattle as humanely and efficiently as we possibly can, and they should feel really confident that the beef supply provided in the United States is the safest in the world. They should know it is a great source of a lot of different vitamins and proteins and should be included in a healthy diet.
Jeff’s passion for what he does was evident during our conversation. Working on the farm comes with it’s trials and tribulations, but the love of the land and lifestyle brought Jeff Dameron back home to what he loves.
Oklahoma State University