BUHLER – No bull – livestock again will take over downtown Buhler.
More than 30 pens of the region’s prime bulls will line Main Street Feb. 18 in an effort to promote the state’s seedstock producers, as well as educate people about where their food comes from.
About 25 ranches are represented so far at the second Kansas Cattle Drive, said Darren Busick, Reno County Extension agriculture agent who is helping organize the event.
“We have ranches this year from all over the state – literally corner to corner,” said Busick. “We even had a ranch contact us from Missouri – they are wanting to bring cattle.”
The event started last year after area rancher Jeff Smith took an idea from his field man about a bull showcase in Valentine, Nebraska. “Heart City Bull Bash” always falls on a Saturday around Valentine’s Day, kicking off the town’s Valentine’s Day celebration. The town of 2,800 closes off the downtown area and sets up about 40 portable pens for livestock.
Smith thought such an event would be good for small seedstock producers like himself – who sometimes have difficultly getting noticed. He usually sells between 10 or 20 bulls a year.
Smith, who farms and ranches in southwest McPherson County, said he is still amazed at the success of the first cattle drive. This year he is bringing eight bulls.
“I got to reach a bunch of new people, and it led to some sales,” he said. “It turned out very good.”
“It’s amazing how well it turned out, and I will continue to be amazed,” he said, adding Busick “really has a passion for this.”
Education for producers and consumers
With livestock represented from across Kansas, it is a good place for ranchers looking for genetics. But the day is also meant to be an educational opportunity, said Busick.
Anyone can come view the livestock and partake in the food and activities, Busick said. Reno County FFA chapters will have an “agri-land” area for kids to play and learn.
Buhler businesses will be open.
Meanwhile, the trade show component at Buhler High School has doubled to nearly 70 vendors, and Busick said he expects that number to grow by Saturday.
Also, speakers are slated to give presentations – both indoors and outdoors – during the day.
Animal Health Commissioner Dr. Bill Brown will lead a discussion at 9 a.m. Other presentations include using prescribed burning to control sericea lespedeza, information on Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom and a branding demonstration.
Montana Stockman Curt Pate will give demonstrations on horseback about low-stress handling of livestock.
Oklahoma State’s Justin Talley will do a manure lab on pest control and cattle. Also, Flint Hills rancher Debbie Lyons-Blythe is teaming up with Chef Alli (Winter) – whose family farms and ranches near Mayetta – to give a cooking demonstration.
A growing event
Busick estimated nearly 700 people attended last year’s Kansas Cattle Drive. With this being the second year and with last year’s success, he expects that number to grow – especially with the nice weather forecast. Highs are predicted to be in the 60s Saturday.
Colby Harner, a farmer and rancher from Partridge who is president of the Reno County Cattlemen’s Association, which puts on the cattle drive, said his Sugar Creek Sales will be part of the trade show and is a sponsor. The company sells cattle equipment. His fiance, Amanda Troyer, also will be at the trade show with her leather products and other home decor items.
Harner hopes the event will get people out of Hutchinson and surrounding towns to learn more about the state’s cattle industry and where their food comes from.
“I think we are hitting home with quite a few people,” he said.
“It is already the fastest growing trade show in the state of Kansas, as far as these farm shows and stock shows go,” he also said, adding Busick has been the leader to help make that happen.
“He’s really established something that will be good for many years to come,” Harner said. “It gets people to central Kansas who might not have come otherwise. And it will continue to be good for Buhler.”
Kansas Agland Editor Amy Bickel has been covering Kansas agriculture for more than 15 years. Email her with news, photos and other information at email@example.com.