Be Ready

Be Ready

My sisters and I took a short trip to Charleston, SC recently. Why did we go? To have a sister trip . . . we've never done that before.  My older sisters were 11 and 7 when I was born.  I've always loved and respected my sisters, but now that we are all working moms and wives, I feel like the age gap has finally closed in.

Now, all three of us love beef but one of the things we were most excited about in Charleston was eating fresh seafood (and the beach, of coarse!)

Routine?

Routine?

Earlier this week, we had some visitors.  They were distant relatives, from Long Beach, California.  They were mind blown at the idea that raising cattle was our business.  They asked many questions, with genuine interest, but the question that stuck with me most was directed toward my dad. 

“So what is your daily routine?”  

So close, yet so far away . . .

If you are thinking that maybe I’m talking about Spring . . . you are correct! This cold weather has been brutal lately. Just this morning I was out doing my morning kiddo drop-offs and noticed the temperature was 10 degrees. About that time I got a text message from my sister who lives in Nebraska saying that it felt like -25 where she lives. Whoaaa! Suddenly my prospective changed to being grateful. Grateful for my seat heater and that it was not that cold here in Northwest Oklahoma! Isn’t it funny how a comment or photo can change our state of mind completely? I am ready for green grass, sunshine and warmer temperatures. Spring is so close, but right now, so SO far away.

Spring calving season is winding down. (We use that term a bit loosely since the first calves hit the ground at the end of January.) While calving season is an exciting and much anticipated time of year, we’ve arrived at the spot where we start counting down. We only have 6 first calf heifers left to calve! Now THAT is exciting for everyone . . . even for the people on the ranch that are not waking up at odd hours to check on those first-time mamas! While the first-calf heifer pen is the most time consuming , they represent only about 20 percent of the total number of mama cows that will calve here on the ranch by April 1.

Twins have been popular this year! At this point we have had 10 sets of twins and seven of those were first-calf heifers. Those odds still have us scratching our heads. Unfortunately there is always a little bit of loss during calving season as well, so those sets of twins will help recover for any losses at this time next year when those calves are sold as yearlings.

As most know, there really is not a ‘down time’ in the farming and ranching profession. Next week, between checking calving pastures, a portion of the yearling calves grazing on wheat will be loaded and hauled to the livestock auction. The day you load up your calf crop and safely unload them at the livestock auction is also a pretty exciting day. I have several memories of going as a family to the Woodward Livestock Auction and sitting on those long red cloth covered benches toward the top to watch our cattle sell. Sale day is obviously important from a financial aspect, but it is also exciting to see all those calves branded with a Bar R going through the ring and the bids rolling in. It reminds us that while those calves were bred, born and raised on our ranch, it takes many other individuals and segments of beef community to get our safe, nutritious and satisfying product - BEEF - to the consumer. Sale day brings things full circle and resets our mind-set after a long-COLD calving season that is so close to being finished, yet so far away.

This photo was taken about 3 years ago when my daughter was three and my son was one. It was one of the family first trips to the auction barn. Little guy was mesmerized by the auctioneer. Those are not our cattle in the ring, but I still love this photo.

This photo was taken about 3 years ago when my daughter was three and my son was one. It was one of the family first trips to the auction barn. Little guy was mesmerized by the auctioneer. Those are not our cattle in the ring, but I still love this photo.

New Leaders and Traditions: It's National FFA Week

On Sunday mornings, I teach the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade bible class. They are a fun little crew. This morning we talked about when God chose Joshua to replace Moses as the new leader of the Israelites and lead them into the promised land. Moses spent the last few months of his life encouraging the Isrealites and Joshua, reminding them of God’s laws and of all the good things God had done for them and the generations before them. He wanted Joshua to be successful. He was trying to help, teach and encourage while he was still around to do so.

After bible class, I gathered my things and on my way to the auditorium I was so excited to see a cluster of blue corduroy jackets. In case you hadn’t heard, it’s National FFA Week! In Waynoka, there has been a long-standing tradition that the FFA chapter attends church together on the Sunday of National FFA Week. I remember doing this as an FFA member and I remember my older sisters taking part in the same activity.

I guess you could say there’s a bit of a blue and gold tradition in my family. My dad and his brothers were active in the FFA, my mom was a chapter sweetheart. (Anyone remember the white jackets?) Both of my older sisters were very active in FFA and experienced success in public speaking, livestock judging and showing livestock and one of them served as a State FFA Officer. Because of my older sisters, I was able to experience State FFA and National FFA conventions at a young age. You see, I’m the ‘little sister’ by 11 years, so by the time I was finally old enough to wear one of those blue jackets, my sisters had graduated college and I had brother in-laws. One was a great speech coach and the other was one of the best when it came to fitting show cattle and picking out the good ones! I had a great support system and cheering section.

With a lot of help, encouragement and some occasional pushing from one of Oklahoma’s best Agricultural Education instructors, I too experienced success in public speaking, exhibiting cattle and livestock judging. I also had the opportunity to serve as a State FFA Officer and yes . . . I still believe that FFA Alumni Camp is one of the greatest places on earth and I get excited if I have the opportunity to attend State FFA Convention. Needless to say the FFA left a mark on me.

Now let’s talk about my dad. When he was in FFA, it was a male only organization. In fact, he actually voted against letting girls in the FFA in 1969! (That still makes me giggle when you think about him having three daughters.) In all seriousness, the FFA helped my dad get started farming and ranching and provided him with some basic skills that allowed the operation to grow and support his family.

Like my dad, the FFA provided activities that helped me decide on a career path. To this day, I utilize skills I learned from participating in Career Development Events and attending leadership development workshops. My Supervised Agriculture Experience project taught me about customer service, prompt and tactful communication and accurate record keeping.

While all the skills listed above are used practically daily, one of the most treasured things that the FFA gave me are people. I rarely go to anything work related that I don’t see someone I met back in high school through the FFA. And it’s truly special to run into those adults that supported me, pushed me and maybe even reminded of the important things through my years in the FFA. I truly appreciate the time they took to teach me, help me and encouragement me just like Moses did to Joshua. At some point we all have to hand over the reigns to someone else and it’s important to help, teach and encourage while we can.

When I see a cluster of blue jackets, it obviously brings back fond memories, but the words pride, leadership, polished, future and bright come to mind. It was a treat to kick off this week with a couple dozen blue corduroy jackets lining the front pews during worship. I just realized the reason I still like going to FFA Convention . . . it’s encouraging, it’s fun and as an adult it’s refreshing to see how the FFA is preparing our youth for the future.

Beyond the Red Gates

Here’s a view from the feed truck office. Do you see that notebook and spreadsheet? Those are some of first things we would grab if there was a fire. READ on to find out why.  Always keep the baby between you and the Mama! Mama cows are no different that any other mama. . . some are more tolerant than others when it comes to mess’in with their baby.

Here’s a view from the feed truck office. Do you see that notebook and spreadsheet? Those are some of first things we would grab if there was a fire. READ on to find out why.

Always keep the baby between you and the Mama! Mama cows are no different that any other mama. . . some are more tolerant than others when it comes to mess’in with their baby.


Beyond the Red Gates is a view into what is going on at our Ranch by day or season AND most importantly the fact that we know the beef industry spans much further than the gates of our ranch.

My name is Chancey and I feel blessed beyond measure to be back home on the ranch that I grew up on. Redgate Cattle Company is made up of Max & Debra Redgate (my parents) along with my husband, John and our two kiddos, ages 4 and 6. My two older sisters and I grew up spending weekends and summers working along side my parents working cattle, building fence, servicing tractors and equipment and . . . yes we all three CAN drive a tractor, a stick shift and back a trailer.

I didn’t intend to start a blog today. In fact I sat down at my computer to edit some videos of bulls that we are selling private treaty here at the ranch. While waiting for the video to upload, I did some updates on the website and the next thing I knew I was typing the title to this blog. Sometimes things just happen . . .

Speaking of things that just happen, I should tell you that I always wanted to be back on the ranch, but didn’t want to come ‘home’ alone. My husband, John, was an answer to many prayers. Sometimes things just happen . . . God’s plans are always greater than our plans. (John is the one tagging the calf in the photo. Can you tell he wasn’t posing?)

Now, let’s talk about what’s happening right now on the ranch. February is synonymous for calving season around here. The first-calf heifers start calving at the end of January and the cows begin around February 1. Out of the first 10 heifers that calved, 4 of them gave birth to twins. Those odds are not normal or expected. Luckily the first-time mamas did great and were able to give enough milk to support both babies.

Calving season is intense around here because we artificially inseminate (AI) most of our females. So LOTS of babies are born in a short period of time. Timing is not the only reason we AI. The main benefit comes from being able to hand-pick a sire and dam combination to genetically enhance the offspring.

Record keeping is pretty intense when it comes to breeding and calving. The feed truck really does turn into an office! An ear tag is placed in each calf’s ear and we carry breeding records in the pick-up for reference as we ear tag. The ear tag includes the mama cow's number, the sire’s name and the calf’s birth date. All of this information is also documented right there in the feed truck office. Additionally, the birth weight and the sex of the calf is documented before driving away.

Information is essential in today’s world, but especially in the beef community. All this information assists us in marketing our cattle and making breeding choices next year. Consumers want to know as much about their food as they possibly can and that all starts with calving season at our family’s ranch!