‘Balanced approach’ has McCalls standing tall
GREENVILLE, Va. —The Virginia Cattlemen’s Association has named the McCall family’s MC Livestock its 2021 Seedstock Producer of the Year.
Tom and his wife Sarah are the owners, raising purebred Angus cattle in the Shenandoah Valley.
The farm includes three generations of the family working together and filling different roles.
Sarah is the public relations and marketing member of the team.
“We are a 150-cow purebred Angus seedstock operation located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the heart ‘Virginia’s cow country,’” she states on the farm’s homepage. “We offer breed-leading Angus genetics to commercial bull customers, as well as purebred producers.”
Three generations of McCalls are involved in the day-to-day operations. Along with Tom and Sarah are their sons Jake and Zach, and Tom’s parents, Hank and Jane.
The family sells about 50 bulls and 15-20 females each year through production sales held on the first Saturday in April and November.
They also consign a selection of purebred females to the Ohio Beef Expo and the Virginia Beef Expo.
Tom’s parents operate a farm in Woodstock, Va., while he and Sarah have established their farm in Greenville after working in the seedstock industry for 10 years.
Both are graduates of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
In addition, Sarah is a graduate of the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
Sarah said their mission is to produce quality bulls and females with balanced EPDs, structural soundness and excellent phenotype while always keeping their customers profit in mind.
“Our vision is to have a balanced approach between performance, phenotype and end product merit,” she states. “We feel it is important not to select for one or two traits but to have a balanced approach.
Fleshing ability, structural soundness, especially good feet and legs, and maternal traits are essential. AI and embryo transfer, DNA testing and carcass ultrasound are all utilized to advance our program.”
Tom added in a telephone interview that their the family’s breeding philosophy is using balanced traits in making bulls and females that last a long time.
He said he wants his cows to have good utters and he is very particular about good feet.
He feels that longevity is important for his customers profitability.
Sarah describes her sons as an essential part of the operation.
“It is through their hard work and dedication that the cow herd has grown to what it is today,” she said. “Tom’s parents are also an integral part of the MC Livestock program. Hank is the ‘cow whisperer’ and maintains the recipient herd at his Woodstock location. He is always available to lend a helping hand and is the head mechanic.”
Tom is active in the AI Industry marketing semen for Genex, providing genetic consulting and helping producers with breeding and synchronization programs.
Tom’s mom gets to contribute her skills on marketing day.
“Jane, is always on hand on sale day to prepare and serve food,” Sarah said. “Her chili and BBQ keep the bull customers coming back!”