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  • jalbers8

Gone to Georgia

A lesson in history, passion and family.

I want you to picture your cattle operation. Not the people that help it run smoothly or the quality livestock that graze its pastures. I want you to think about the details — the piece of cement where your childhood hands are ingrained forever, the rope swing where your children like to play, the patch of ground the old feed truck has called home since your father first parked it.

Everywhere I travel, I am blown away by the precious details Business Breed members reveal to me in their interviews. They’re often details that don’t fit in the article I come back to Saint Joseph, Mo., to write, but they’re pieces of the story I think hold the most meaning.

Last November, I had the pleasure of traveling to Georgia to interview Ian McClure and his family at Precise Cattle. After the interview, I spent the next day traveling with regional manager and director of field services, David Gazda, to gather pictures for the Angus Journal.

Our first stop of the day introduced me to James Vaughn and Vaughn Farms L.P. in Monroe County, Ga. Within the first few moments walking around the property where his office sat, I knew the day would be special.

Back in time

The ground we were exploring was the family home of generations past. While today my eyes were met with herds of black-hided cattle and horses, Vaughn’s vision stemmed well beyond present day, going back more than 60 years to when his father, T. “Captain Butler” Butler Vaughn first started the farm.

An old anvil with a soft covering of moss was labeled as the treasured tool of Captain Butler. Well-worn slabs of concrete were described as newly poured floors of a dairy barn, torn down long ago.

Everywhere we turned, memories collided with the present. Yet, it wasn’t the physical elements of the property that helped me see the landscape Vaughn was describing. It was the pride in his voice, the excitement as he shared every aspect of his home and his business.

That’s what I think is so beautiful about this job. After a single handshake, Angus members across the country welcome my team. They don’t hesitate to spend an hour or two with us, divulging treasured memories and cherished details.

To be entrusted with the finer details of a farm or ranch is a true blessing, and it’s a part of my job I take seriously. From the photos I take to the stories I write, I always hope the respect I have for the work these families do shines through.


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