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All Around The Farm Idea of the Month: January 2010

Agriculture.com Staff 01/26/2010 @ 2:05pm

When the Leonards of Morgantown, Indiana, needed a new cattle-sorting facility, they didn't have much luck finding one.

"You can't buy anything reasonable to sort your own cattle. They don't make them," says Jim Leonard.

After 2 years of work, off and on, they now have a pen that holds 100 head.

"It was kind of expensive getting started, but it's paid off," says Leonard. He and his brother and sons used railroad track ties for fence posts, semitrailer interior panels that cattle can't see through welded onto pipe, and parts of an old grain bin for the rounded areas.

A series of swinging gates keep the cattle moving forward toward the loading area. The bottom of the loading chute is set at cattle trailer height, but it raises for loading semis.

  • Operation: 2,000 acres corn/soybeans, sometimes wheat, and 150 to 170 beef cattle per year.
  • Partners: Brother Wallace and sons Dean and Duane. "We all share equipment," says Jim, "and Wallace and I buy our feeder calves from my sons or a neighbor."
  • The rest of the family: Wife Eva, three daughters, and four grandchildren.
  • Hobby: Jim's been working on a Model T truck that he says is now drivable.
  • Other progress: "I've finally gotten him where he'll take a vacation once a year or so," laughs Eva.
  • Still running: The Leonards use 1972 and 1975 model grain trucks, among others.
  • Farm dogs: The family took in two Shih Tzus and a mutt left in a nearby field.

When the Leonards of Morgantown, Indiana, needed a new cattle-sorting facility, they didn't have much luck finding one.

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