COLUMBIA — “A 4-H project that went berserk” is one way that Howell Wheaton has described how he got into the business of raising Angus cattle.
Wheaton, who has been involved in agriculture all his life, has been raising Angus in Boone County since 1973 after his daughter Susan wanted a black heifer for a 4-H project. Wheaton Angus is a partnership between Howell and his daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Doug Chambers. The farm runs a herd of about 70 Angus.
Spring is a busy time: pastures need to be re-seeded for hay and the spring calving season is about to start. About a quarter of the herd will start calving at the end of March and into April, Wheaton said.
According to the Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri has the second largest population of beef cattle in the United States; only Texas has a larger population. Missouri’s farms are home to 2.16 million head of beef cattle. Boone County is home to 18 farms that raise Angus cattle.
Wheaton sells the young bulls he raises to commercial operations around Boone and surrounding counties. Most of the sales that are made now are to customers in the extreme northern or extreme southern part of the county, Wheaton said.