Being in the cattle business is an immersive thing. Grow up in it, it seeps into your pores. It shapes who you are, creates an attitude about life and tends to define you as a person. Could that be why so many members of the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) are at least second or third generation ranchers?
Kent Bamford's great-grandparents migrated from Sweden to homestead in the northeastern corner of Colorado over a century ago. He's now the fourth generation to work that growing plot of land. "My father, brother and I incorporated in the late 1960s," he said. "I graduated from Colorado State in 1974. My brother and I bought them out in 1976." A few years later, Kent and his brother separated and each pursued his own passion.
The family manages a lot more than a pasture filled with cattle, though. They own acreage devoted to irrigated and dry land farming, a feedyard that can handle up to 15,000 head and Inco Digestive, which is a feed company. To help move everything around, they also own a trucking business.
Helping him are his wife, Naida, and his sons, fifth generation ranchers Chad and Cody, making it a well-honed family business. Naida manages the office, Chad runs the farm and Cody takes care of the feed business. With four young grandsons and a granddaughter waiting in the wings, there's a strong chance that a sixth generation of Bamfords might step forward in a few years.
Asked what he grew on his farming business, Bamford rattled off "Corn, beans and wheat where we use pivot irrigation; wheat, corn, millet and milo on our dry land." A lot of the crops, he said, are used in their cattle feeding business.
Wet distillers grains are another large part of the cattle feed. "We're in the middle of a lot of grain production with several ethanol plants close by and there are three big packers within 150 miles of here," he said. It gives him easy, low-cost access to large quantities of that byproduct and he says his cattle take to it easily.
Like other CBB members, he's given a significant amount of time to volunteer work with a variety of trade organizations. "I've always had a passion for cattle and this business has been very good to me and my family. I wanted to give back, and the friendships I've developed with that work have been terrific."
Bamford has been president and has served on the board of directors for the Colorado Livestock Association and is a past president of CattleFax. He was a member of the Colorado Beef Council for 12 years. He is currently on the board of directors of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association where he serves as Ag policy committee chair.
"All of us work hard to produce a great, wholesome product that consumers want," he said when he was talking about his commitment to CBB where he'll begin his term as a member of the safety committee. "This is my first year and my first meeting was in Denver last week.
Enthusiastic about the chance to work with the CBB, he said, "There are so many great things going on in the cattle business today, it will be exciting to be involved. It's going to be fun. We're going to have to work hard to stretch our limited resources to do what we need to do, but we'll get it done."
Click here to watch to him talk about "The Legacy of Cattle in Colorado" in a YouTube video produced by Angus TV.