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Farmers for the Future: A tradition continues

Like a schoolboy running home to play in his backyard, Mike Orwig rushes home from his corporate day job to work his purebred Red Angus cattle herd.

"My corporate full-time job comes first, but I leave work each day anxious to get to my ranch and check cattle," Mike says. "When I get home, I take off my dress shoes and put on my boots. I live for the weekend."

Mike adds, "If I have some downtime on the ranch, I love to just stand and look at my herd awhile."

Mike, wife Lori, and their three children -- Allyson, 13, Schaefer, 11, and Jack, 8 -- have started Orwig Cattle Company on their FIVO Ranch in central Iowa.

The purebred stock that was used to start the Orwig Cattle Company came from Mike's father, Dave, who runs Outback Red Angus near Russell, Iowa.

After many years of raising cross-bred cattle, in 1989, Dave started his purebred Red Angus seedstock operation, selling bulls and replacement females.

The Orwigs chose Red Angus for the animals' excellent traits such as easy calving, good motherhood, heat tolerance, true breeding, and gentleness.

"I especially like their Expected Progeny Difference (EPDs). It's a measuring stick, and it's used as a good buying tool for my customers," Dave says. "The EPDs tell my customers the quality of the offspring they can expect from the bulls I sell them. Some people don't care what the EPDs are, but I like to educate them on it anyway."

Like a schoolboy running home to play in his backyard, Mike Orwig rushes home from his corporate day job to work his purebred Red Angus cattle herd.

In 2006, after hearing that his father wanted to sell some of his cows, Mike decided it was time he carry on the family tradition.

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