My father told all of us at a young age, ‘Find something you enjoy, do it to the best of your ability, and you’ll make it. Do it better than anybody else and you will survive. With 69 years in the business, I guess we must be doing something right, or should I say surviving.
Great Grandpa Joe W. Hanies started the Hereford tradition with a purchase from Belake Herefords, Macon, Mo, in 1950, after clearing timber land on the homestead in Huntsville, Mo. In the 40’s that timber was converted to charcoal in a plant nestled on the backside of the property. By the third generation, when Floyd and Janet Reynolds took the reins, pork processing was also part of the picture. But it’s the Herefords that remains the common commodity, where these days my wife Barb and I raise registered horned and polled cattle.
Basically my Mom and Dad worked with my great grandfather in the meat business. When kids came along, we started showing cattle and expanded the program. My love for Hereford cattle has kept me on the farm.
Many things have remained the same at Reynolds Herefords over four generations: Love for the breed, determination, willingness to work and a whole lot of patients. It doesn’t happen over night. We’ve been very patient breeding our cattle not chasing a fad on a rope that never stops. We stay focused on our purpose. Also the lay of the land forces us to run cattle. The land is all pasture with a third still in timber. It’s very hilly and you can probably get ten acres in once place where you can do a little corn, wheat and alfalfa rotation. Six or seven miles in any direction and the land gets better. We’ve been forced to diversify and we depend on alfalfa bales as a cash crop. We custom round bale hay and have baled many square bales over the years. I prefer to feed corn silage and alfalfa hay and we try and keep ourselves out of the feed store. But the biggest thing we try and do is raise the type of cattle that adapt to our land. We raise cattle that are functional and survive on roughage and forage.
The precious piece of land could have been sold for a small fortune, one-five- acre tract at a time, back in the late 90’s since Reynolds Farm is right on the edge of town. But I adamantly contends that his great grandfather cleared it to run cows, not to build houses. To match the range and the climate, they moderated the cow size so they could take care of themselves.
The operation’s first silent auction was in 2002 and has continued each year. Last year, we had our largest crowd ever. We feel we provided a product that keeps buyers coming back. It’s a consumer driven program built by our repeat customers with the belief that you have to stay on top of the business and stay focused.
We had always had horned Herefords, but in 2000 we introduced polled genetics because I had two brothers come look at bulls, one wanted a horned bull, which we had. The other wanted a polled bull, which we did not have at the time. People looking for a Hereford will tell you up front if they want horned or polled. When we are a customer driven program, and we have a potential customer here wanting a particular product, why not try and create that product.
Like my dad who eventually removed the bone from the ham to accommodate customers demand in the meat packing business, I decided to design a new product. If I have to take horns off cattle for a few customers, that’s what I’m going to do. They’re all Herefords. A good Hereford is a good Hereford.
Just ask George Foreman, the former boxer who bought 10 bred heifers and 2 bulls, sight unseen from Reynolds farm. Or call Teddy Gentry of the legendary country music band Alabama. He owns a quarter interest in RH Standard Lad 9245- a Reynolds herd sire. If you prefer to talk to someone a little closer to home, it should be easy to locate a Reynolds Herefords customer. Over the past ten years alone, at least 800 females have been sold.
It started 69 years ago. It continues today because of commitment and hard work that for some reason seems more like pleasure to me. We welcome you to come visit us at our farm or stop in for our annual production sale in October each year!