J.H. (Jim) Lents
My herd is the outgrowth of what began in March 1953 on my eighth birthday. The previous September one of my dad's cows, Donna Agnes 20th, delivered the third of three consecutive heifer calves. With a little attention and an old curry comb, little Donna Agnes 24th and I were soon fast friends. Because of of my apparent growing interest, she was my birthday gift. But to me she was more than a gift, she was my first business proposition, a way to become a Hereford breeder in my own right. My dad told me he'd furnish the grass and the bulls, I'd get her heifer calves, and that if I were inclined, she would be my savings account filling over time with flesh and blood. He explained that this was a way for me to build a cowherd of my own by the time I was grown. The trick worked, and the cattle ignited a passion in me that has never waned.
Of necessity my herd stayed small until college and military service were finished. Soon thereafter, having secured a lease on some local ranch land, my new wife Nancy and I expanded the herd with six young females purchased from my dad. Two months later our finances were sufficiently recharged that four more were added. From there the herd grew largely from within, but was augmented from time-to-time by the purchase of a few choice females from my dad's herd until our female base reached about 100 cows. In the early years of my herd I was privileged to have the use of my dad's herd bulls, and this continued for a time after Nancy and I were married. We planned and coordinated our mating's, then inter-sorted our cows into breeding groups with each of us trading out the appropriate acreage to balance out the pasturage as between the two of us. It was a good arrangement for a time, and certainly helped Nancy and I to get a foothold.
But we knew our herd and its operation needed to stand alone, and being young, were anxious for that day to arrive. Another factor was that I couldn't shake the memory of Mr. Imperial 25th from my mind. My dad raised him and sold him to a long-time commercial customer located about 30 miles across the county. In 1976 I drove by his place and spotted the bull standing next to the road fence. I stopped and looked him over closely. My overwhelming sense was that he needed to be back home in herd service. That evening l checked the calving records. He was past 8 years of age and I'd seen he was blemish free. He moved, looked and acted like a 4 year-old. I decided he was a safe bet for perhaps a couple more calf crops so I stopped back by to ask if the owner would sell him. He declined with the comment that Mr Imperial 25th was the best bull he'd ever gotten from my dad. So I rolled out Plan B and traded a 2 year-old bull for him, even up, and I'd pick up and deliver.
Anxiety 4th cows and their new spring babies headed to water
Back home Mr. Imperial 25th proved to be the strong and gifted breeder I'd expected him to be, and that his pedigree and commercial calves had forecast. He sired seven calf crops in our herd, far exceeding my initial expectations. Quality wise, he was a very balanced breeder as between the sexes; but gender wise, fully 75% of his calves sired in our herd were heifers of the exact kind and quality needed to build a cow herd. He accomplished all of my objectives for him when I brought him home, then at 16 years of age, and while pasture breeding a bunch of cows, Mr Imperial 25th's eyes turned blue and he was soon blind. In his 96th year my dad called the recovery and return of Mr. Imperial 25th for herd service, the best deal I'd ever made. I agreed! Master Imperial was the first of two sons of Mr. Imperial 25th used in herd service, but it was Peerless Lamplighter who proved to be his greatest son, and the bull who ultimately succeeded him.
In 1995, when my dad was 87 years old , Nancy and I purchased my parents land, cattle and equipment assets merged them with our own, and he retired. This transaction about doubled the size of our cowherd, with the incoming females carrying a preponderance of the blood of Zenith Mischief. He was a half brother to Mr. Imperial 25th, their sire being Mr. Imperial who we rank as the most outstanding son of 3 Imperial Lamplighter 49th. In anticipation of the herd merger, a few years prior We'd purchased The Imperial Lamplighter from my dad. We both considered him the top son of Zenith Mischief. My dad. had used him previously, but by the time our herds were merged, we were using that sire line under the Mischief Lamplighter name. The congeniality of the bull lines was already proven, if ever it was in doubt. It was simply a case of following the same tried and true methodologies long ago proven by Gudgell & Simpson with the half-brothers Beau Brummel and Lamplighter, and by Mousel Brothers with the half-brothers Advance Mischief and Advance Domino. Both cases cited are the stuff true legends are made of.
My dad lived over eight years following our purchase of his herd, and stayed in close touch with with our breeding operations, but never sought to interfere. In the last six months of his life he opined that I'd taken the Anxiety gene pool to the highest level he'd ever seen it. I agree with his assessment of the quality level of the gene pool, but not that I alone had done it, because I hadn't. That was the result of the collective efforts of Gudgell & Simpson, Mousel Brothers, some of their sons, my father and me.
This business of animal breeding is a long-term affair. Done right it requires the working lifetimes of two or more generations of independent thinking people connected end-to-end. In the case of the linebred Anxiety 4th Hereford gene pool, eight men from five generations have invested their lives for the betterment of Herefords and of humanity. Charles Gudgell gave 40 years, and his one generation older partner T.A. Simpson, the last 28 years of his life. Henry Mousel gave 50 years and his brother Bob 57 years. George Mousel and Robbie Mousel (Bob Jr), each gave at least 40 years of their adult lives, and Joe Lents gave 51 years as a breeder after spending two dozen years in study and preparation. As of now, discounting anything and everything I may have done prior to age 20, I've invested 54 years. That's a collective total of 360 years of experience, that because of overlapping time, spans the past 142 years. You're welcome to come see what these men's collective work has produced in genetically pure Hereford cattle. Contact us to arrange a date and time for your visit.
Anxiety 4th blood in its most pure form! Ask how you and your herd can benefit.