September 13, 2011
Truxton cattle farmer shows off his herd
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Carl Hinkle, owner of New Penn Farm on Cheningo Road in Truxton, watches his herd of Angus cattle enter the barn on Monday.
TRUXTON — After a lifetime of raising and selling Angus beef cattle, local beef producer Carl Hinkle was forced to sell all but two of his cattle from New Penn Farm in 2007 to deal with health problems.
Hinkle, 75, regained his health and got back into the business in 2009. He built a new facility on his old farm in Truxton and now has 68 Angus beef cattle roaming his 438-acre farm.
The pride and joy of the new barn is a herding system that guides individual cattle through a series of chutes and gates into a small holding pen. Once inside the pen, the animal can be examined or vaccinated by Hinkle or a veterinarian, or artificially inseminated.
The machinery that guides the cattle into the pen cuts down on the rough physical labor of pushing and dragging a half-ton cow into place.
“It just makes things easier, especially when they start to kick,” Hinkle said. “It’s also safer for me and for them.”
On Monday, New Penn Farm hosted the second stop of a week-long bus tour by Alabama beef producers, showing off Hinkle’s herd and giving a tour of the barn.
The tour throughout the Finger Lakes region gives the Alabama producers a chance to compare notes and see how beef farming is done in New York, said Rich Brown, the former president of the New York State Beef Producers Association.
“They get to look at the facility and to see how beef cattle are treated humanely and safely here in New York,” he said.
Joe Potter, of Russellville, Ala., was one of the 44 members of the tour. Potter sold his herd in 2007 and became the Franklin County agent of the Alabama Cooperative Extension before retiring last year.
The tour has been an eye-opening experience for him, he said.
“Parts of the country where I come from have been in a terrible drought, and to come up here and see all this green farmland, it’s real beautiful,” he said.
The tour group members were part of the Alabama Farm Federation. Their herds range from a few dozen beef cattle to over 400, said the director of the Alabama Beef Farmers Division, Nate Jaeger.
The differences between Alabama beef cattle and the ones raised in New York are small, said Jaeger. The real contrast is in the numbers of dairy cattle and beef cattle.
“In Alabama, about 85 percent of the cattle raised are beef cattle, while in New York, about 85 percent are dairy cattle,” said Jaeger.
Despite his past health problems, Hinkle plans to expand the New Penn Farm herd if he can. His goal is to eventually have 80 to 85 beef cattle.
“That’s an ideal number,” he said. “From a business standpoint, if I had any more I’d have to hire on help and that’d be more expenses.”
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