Baker Hereford Farm wins with Candy Crush
Candy Crush's coat shined in the sunlight as Spencer Baker combed the Hereford's fluffy red hair. The heifer, officially known as BHF 143 Candy Crush 43B, was named the Grand Champion Hereford heifer at the Minnesota Beef Expo
SIMPSON — Candy Crush's coat shined in the sunlight as Spencer Baker combed its fluffy red coat.
The heifer, officially known as BHF 143 Candy Crush 43B, was named the Grand Champion Hereford heifer at the Minnesota Beef Expo, held Oct. 16-19 on the Minnesota state fairgrounds.
"She's my little pet," Baker said, stroking the heifer, who is the daughter of other champion cattle.
Spencer, 21, and his brothers, Logan, 19, and Kyle, 17, were introduced to the industry by their uncle, Jim, and their aunt, Marilyn. Marilyn bought Spencer and his brothers each a heifer when they were in sixth grade.
He has watched and learned from others in the beef industry, including his older brother, Jake, Byron Hereford breeder Jerry Gottschalk, and the Hoffmans of Hoffman Ranch in Thedford, Neb., where he has purchased cattle.
He enjoys working with cattle and showing them. He has attended Minnesota Beef Expo for seven years. This year, he and his brothers all showed cattle.
For the past five years, he has been managing his Hereford operation, which has grown to 10 Hereford cows and four Angus heifers to use as recipient cows. He has 20 Herefords total.
"I do everything with it. I make every decision that needs to be made," Baker said.
He analyzes cattle catalogs and cattle information.
"I study this more than I ever did homework," he said.
"Me and my brothers were the only people in school who were farmers," says the Rochester Mayo High School graduate.
They live on their parents dairy farm near Simpson. Their father, Bob, runs the dairy and their mother, Pat, operates a salon spa on the farm.
Baker is studying beef science at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa. He needs two classes to finish his degree, which he hopes to do this spring.
Winning the Grand Champion Hereford title at the Minnesota Beef Expo is a step toward Baker's goal of growing his purebred Hereford herd to 150 to 200 cows and having his own sale.
"It really helps your reputation," he said. "It really opens eyes from cattlemen."
Having winners may mean a sale in the future. He'll also get a free jacket from Umbarger Show Feed, where he purchases his show feed.
For now, Baker is focused on building a solid herd. The bulls are chosen to correct the deficiencies of the dam.
Baker looks at Candy Crush and says he hasn't selected the Hereford bull he'll breed her to yet.
"There's not much to correct on this one, I'll be honest," he said.