Name: Troy and Stacy Hadrick
Location: Faulkton, South Dakota
Segment: Cow/calf, Stocker, Feeder
Facts About Beef: What makes your operation unique – geographical, environmental, type of cattle, etc.?
Troy Hadrick (TH): We raise Angus cattle on the prairies of north central South Dakota. Our average yearly precipitation is around 19 inches, but a significant portion of that will come as snow. We experience a very wide range in temperatures during the year. Winter low temps can drop down to -30 with -60 wind chills, but our summer high temperatures can climb up to 110 degrees or more. These challenging environmental conditions can be tough so it’s important to have the kind of cattle that can thrive in this type of environment.
FAB: What is the importance of family ties, past and present, to your operation?
TH: I’ve been fortunate to work with family my entire life. I grew up on this ranch working with my grandfather, father, uncle and cousins. Now my cousins and I have taken over ownership of the business and are the 4th generation in our family to farm and ranch at this location, 5th in the United States. So when it comes to making good decisions about how we care for the land and cattle, we have generations of knowledge and experience to fall back on. Even though technology continues to change and our cattle don’t look like the ones grandpa raised, however the principals of good stewardship never change. Every fall we move cattle past a little spot where there are a handful of trees growing out in a pasture. That’s the spot where my great-great grandparents settled when they moved to South Dakota a century ago. I’m proud to continue that tradition and even more proud to be raising the next generation of our family on our ranch.
FAB: What are some of the biggest challenges for managing your ranch?
TH: Managing our feed sources is something that has to be constantly monitored. With our harsh winters it imperative that we have plenty of feed to survive until green grass grows again. Another challenge I have to that we spread our cattle out over several different pastures for the summer. Being spread out like that requires us to be “mobile.” We have to be able to set up in a pasture with portable equipment to do the necessary work to the cattle. Some of the work that needs to be done to the cattle include things vaccinations, fly spraying or pregnancy checking.
FAB: What is a “typical” day like for you?
TH: A typical day for me involves changes with our distinct seasons. During the winter months I spend my time feeding cattle and making sure fresh water is consistently available and does not freeze over. Come spring we will start calving, which involves round-the-clock care. The summers are a nice break since the cattle are out on green grass but I still have to monitor them for any health issues that may require attention as well as making sure they have a fresh supply of water and are supplemented with salt and mineral. During the fall we will be preparing for weaning and the upcoming winter. So a typical day for me always involves cattle but what I’m doing with them varies a lot throughout the year. Another thing that a typical day involves for me is agriculture advocacy. Whether it’s in person or online, we realize the importance of reaching out to consumers to share our way of life and let them see for themselves what a typical day entails. Helping other farmers and ranchers learn how to share their own stories is another passion of ours.
FAB: How do you use technology on your ranch?
TH: Technology has played a very important role for us. We use computer-balanced rations for our cattle during those times of year when we are feeding to be sure we are meeting all of their nutrient requirements. I pay especially close attention to the genetics of our cattle. I want to produce the highest quality beef product that I can while also maintaining functional cattle at the ranch level. In order to accomplish this we use artificial insemination. It allows us to use the best bulls in the world. Every cow on the place will be bred this way. In the fall I will use an ultrasound machine for pregnancy checking the cows, allowing us to actually see the fetus to insure it’s healthy and also determine an expected due date. Knowing the age of the fetus in every cow lets me manage them accordingly.
Technology also allows me to monitor and trade in the markets or share a picture of a newborn calf on social media. Like many other professions, smartphones have become an important tool for ranchers.
FAB: How do you play a role in raising safe beef?
TH: I’m the first step in the beef safety chain. My responsibility is to keep them healthy by working closely with our veterinarian, follow all labeling requirements and Beef Quality Assurance guidelines. At the end of the day I know that a family is going to be enjoying the beef that originated from my ranch and I want to do everything I can to be sure it’s safe and delicious.
FAB: How do you prepare your favorite cut of beef?
TH: My favorite cut of beef is a ribeye steak. I especially enjoy a cowboy cut ribeye steak. I typically like to let the steaks thaw in the refrigerator for several days. This allows for some additional aging. After that I will grill them on a low heat until it’s medium rare to medium. I like to put just a dash of seasoned salt on them and that’s it.
FAB: If interested parties want to follow your ranch activities on social media, where can they find you?