| Jan 16, 2020
Overtime, you will hear people having the discussion "Is the Longhorn industry here to stay?” We're here to let you know, these animals are in it for the long haul. Get it? But seriously, Longhorns have been around since 1493 with the first registry forming in 1963 and we think 2020 and beyond will mark great years for these extraordinary cattle and their breeders.
If you're in the Longhorn industry today, you know that the community welcomes new comers open-armed, ready to lend a hand and talk to anyone interested in joining. Most conversations start with “I only planned on having a few but, man, they’re addicting!” Seasoned buyers may have to downsize their herds as they get older, but there are always new breeders coming in to eventually take their place. We love Longhorns and believe that if you're interested in the breed, there's no better time than the present to make your first purchase!
1. Horn growth is more impressive than ever and if you're interested in being involved in breeding for the longest TTT (tip-to-tip) or biggest TH (total horn) ever, now is the time to get involved. You can find many magazine articles, Facebook forums, reports and input on earmarks for competitive horn growth. There are even measurement competitions awarding bronzes and prizes to breeders whose animals have the widest span or most twist!
2. More and more people are purchasing registered Longhorns from across the country due to ease of purchasing and hauling. Hired Hand Live makes it able for someone on the East Coast to buy a West Coast Longhorn from their couch, schedule hauling with someone at the sale, and get their cow delivered safely to their ranch within the week. Websites are also making it easier for folks to purchase private treaty animals than in the past. If you’re thinking of getting involved and wish to sell your animals in the future, be sure to look at fellow breeders websites and plan ahead for getting started with your own site.
3. Longhorns make a great ag exemption for breeders located in Texas and states with similar tax rules. Property taxes on your dream property may be a nightmare. That’s where having Longhorns roam your acreage can help! Some types of land can qualify for special methods of valuation that constitute tax reductions. We think that qualifying for ag exemptions by raising Longhorns is a smart choice. Longhorns are by far the easiest (and prettiest) cattle to have on your land in terms of keep, calving and more. No, we’re no legal or tax experts, so here’s a helpful article to check the facts.
4. As the popularity of the Texas Longhorn breed grows, so does the knowledge of how to keep these animals happy and healthy. The vast wealth of knowledge and education available about the breed makes it easy to adjust your breeding program to get the result you want for your Longhorn herd. Education about Longhorn breeding and medicine has never been more prevalent which makes buying your first cow or bull and growing your herd in a healthy manner much easier than in years past.
5. Longhorns started as a herding animal, became lawn ornaments, joined the show circuit, and now serve all those purposes and then some. Where will they evolve to next? You can own them purely as pets, a tax deduction, lawn mowers, to feed your family, to sell beef, to breed for horn, to breed for twist, sell skulls as art, the options are endless.
6. Longhorns are an intelligent breed. Texas Longhorns are known for being able to resist many of the common cattle diseases. Although research hasn’t proven this conclusively, it’s speculated that Longhorns have an innate or perhaps genetic resistance to some parasites and bacteria. This characteristic also makes Longhorns a smart choice for crossbreeding programs.
7. Longhorns adapt well to colder climates. So, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or cold, Longhorns will be easy keepers for you, while other beef breeds may not. The Longhorns ability to thrive in snow carries over to also being able to thrive on poor pasture land. Longhorns tend to still put on meat rapidly, because they’re able to graze on things that other cattle may not. While Longhorns won’t reach the same hanging weight as other beef breeds, their meat is an excellent quality with very little fat.
8. The people involved in the Longhorn Industry are some of the best around. From CEO’s of multi-million dollar companies raising Longhorns on their ranches as weekend getaways to de-stress and leave the city life behind, to 4th generation ranchers who work the land and cattle daily and couldn’t dream of doing anything else. Longhorn breeders are passionate about their herds, loyal to friends or associations who helped them get started in the breed, love to travel and know how to have fun! If you’ve been visiting with any of them about how you can get started, you probably already know this. :)
9. Trends in breeding may come and go but Longhorns are forever. This year it's horn growth, in five years it may be hip height, meat marbling or even a focus on the steer business. Maybe the trait you love now isn’t the biggest seller, but odds are, if you breed for what you love, there’s someone else out there that loves that trait as well. And who knows, maybe in ten years when you’ve established your unique herd, your favorite trait will become the next big goal to chase in the Longhorn industry!
10. Lastly, because they're stinkin' adorable, obviously!
Photo taken by Lindsey Monk, Big Sky Livestock