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Arizona’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Are Innovators! June 21, 2013

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

2013 marks a Farm Bureau year that I’ve been all over the state. That’s sort of typical but more so this year than previous years. My Communication, Education and Marketing team and I established a goal to be out and about even more than typical as we wanted to really connect with our Arizona farmers and ranchers, and certainly some of our young farmers and ranchers.

Arizona Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee has long held a commitment to celebrate its up-and-coming farmers and ranchers. As a result, I want my department to do the same.

And, in revealing what they are up to one discovers a group of innovating farmers and ranchers. Let me give you just one example here: Wes Kerr.

This spring I met with Wes Kerr on his dairy and learned more about his dairy operation and his efforts with dairy cow genetics.

In his late 20s, Wes is a 4th-generation Arizona dairy farmer milking (and not by hand)1,000 cattle in Buckeye, Arizona. His wife, Lauren, is also a 4th-generation Arizona dairy farmer.

On Arizona Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer & Rancher Committee, Wes is also a member of UDA’s Young Cooperators and a member of Arizona Beef Council.

As a very young boy, Wes became fascinated with dairy cattle genetics. Years later and now in his adulthood, he’s pioneering the way for polled (no horns) Holsteins (currently common in beef cattle but not dairy). In five years, Wes plans to have 90% of his herd polled. If cattle are born without horns, you can avoid the time-consuming and labor intensive duty of “dehorning” your dairy cattle. Additionally, eliminating this task is also better for the cow.

Wes is just one example of what our younger set of farmers and ranchers are doing to pave the way for a bright future in Arizona agriculture.




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