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Terry Oft Shares History and Breeding Goals

The February issue of AGRITIMES NW traditionally features a local cattleman as many are preparing for their individual cattle production sales in the coming weeks. This year we are highlighting Terry Oft, Oft Angus Ranch, and his journey to becoming a successful Angus cattle breeder. Oft spent his young years growing up near Fruitland, ID where his family grew watermelons and sweet corn. As truck gardeners they marketed crops locally. Terry purchased a Hereford heifer while attending high school in Nyssa, OR and began expanding his herd. He attended Treasure Valley Community College before transferring to Oregon State in 1968. He played football with the Beavers when they beat Dan Fouts and Amad Rashad 24-9 in 1970. After graduating from OSU with an Animal Science Degree and minors in music and forestry, he began his career with Hormel Foods selling processed meat products in the Seattle and Yakima areas for several years. In 1974 Oft returned to the family farm. He promptly began coaching basketball which eventually led to a 40 year coaching career at Frutland School District. Asked how he got involved with Angus cattle he shared that in 1978 the high school had won the District basketball game and many of the fans were gathered afterwards at a restaurant, to celebrate the victory. The high school Ag teacher approached Terry and told him about a farmer selling his Angus cows. Terry drove by the cows that night and purchased the 5 head the next day. He relied on breeding cows by AI and never owned a bull for the next 12 years. Oft continued purchasing cows and retaining heifers. His dad did not like cattle and said , “If we ever have to pull calves the cows are going to the sale.” Calving ease then became top priority trait in his breeding program. Oft's headquarters is now located on a 300 acre farm, growing hay, corn and cattle between Ontario and Nyssa. Oft runs a 250 head cowherd on deeded and leased pastures in the local area. The bulls are backgrounded at W3 Feedlot in Adrian, OR. He strives to implement a balanced breeding program with cattle as fertility and reproductive success are directly linked to the economics of cow– calf production operations. He breeds cattle that grow rapidly and maintains good milking females in the herd. His breeding goals are: (1) calving ease – no problems cowherd cattlemen need a live calf to be in the business; (2) femininity traits in the females -female fertility is the foundation of the cow–calf industry; (3) docile cattle are important to his operation. He recalled a time when they were working cattle prior to his sale and observed a great looking potential herd bull prospect. The bull went crazy among workers and became  aggressive in the alley and chute. He promptly loaded the bull into the trailer and took him to the cattle sale; (4) carcass quality- Oft retains ownership of his heifers and several years ago his pen of heifers graded 92% Prime. You can make money feeding cattle with a history of quality grading cattle genetics. Oft shared insight about the Malheur County Cattlemen’s Association (MCCA) Replacement Heifer Program for youth and has been involved since 2008. The program helps young adults establish a beef business and youth who participate will gain knowledge and experience in selection, feeding, breeding, exhibiting and marketing livestock. Youth apply and select a heifer from a participating cattleman. Kids show the heifer at the county fair the first year, then breed the heifer and bring back the cow/calf pair to show the next year. The youth owns the female after showing the second year. “It has been a rewarding program to be involved in and I enjoy seeing the success in the youth caring for and showing the cattle,” said Oft. Terry Oft's wife, Colleen, helps out on all the odds and ends of the ranch and is a cornerstone on this family ranch operation. Oft Angus bull production sale, marketing 2 year old and long yearling Angus bulls, is March 21, in Vale,OR.

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