Farmer, rancher, dairyman, family man, NCBA president — each of those terms describes Scott George, whose family runs a diversified agricultural operation near Cody, in northwestern Wyoming.
Scott George and his family milk 550 Holsteins and run an Angus-based cow herd, marketing Holstein and beef steers at 700 to 900 pounds. George’s parents homesteaded the property in 1947. Prior to the arrival of homesteaders, the federal government operated an internment camp in the area for Japanese-Americans during World War II. After the war ended and the detainees were released, the government offered the 20-by-120-foot barracks to local farmers and ranchers. George’s family moved two of the buildings to its land and used the materials to build the original house and barns.
George says his parents started with nothing but gradually built a successful farming operation and raised eight kids on the farm. Today, George and two younger brothers run the operation along with five of his nephews.
The family farms 2,500 acres of row crops and hay, manages a commercial Angus-based cow-calf herd and operates a dairy, milking 550 head of Holsteins twice every day. The Georges raise some dairy replacement heifers for sale and also some Holstein bulls, which they sell to area Hutterite farmers. The brothers also run an artificial insemination service, teaching classes and breeding several thousand dairy and beef cows each year.
The family raises its Holstein steer calves as beef animals, growing them on the farm to 700 to 900 pounds. George says demand for Holstein feeder steers in the local area is weak, so he periodically transports groups to an auction facility in northern Colorado, where dairy-steer prices run higher.
The family’s beef-cow herd traditionally has been primarily Angus but recently has shifted toward Angus-Simmental crossbred bulls. Calving season on the operation begins in February, and they use a rotational grazing system for their cows and calves. The Georges wean their calves on the ranch, background them through the fall and typically sell them the following December or January, when they weigh 700 to 900 pounds. They keep some of the best crossbred male calves to sell as bulls.
George says the crossbred calves perform well and produce a high-value carcass, with a good balance between marbling and muscle. Depending on the market, the family will sell its calves through an auction or to neighbors who finish cattle.
George says the farm typically produces plenty of forage, allowing the family to keep its beef and dairy steers longer and grow them to yearling weight. The high cost of gain in the feedyard makes those 700- to 900-pound animals increasingly desirable to buyers.