|Harold and Judy Harper & Mike and Maryann Harper, Harper Feedlot LLC, Eaton, Colo.
(June 1, 2009) Harold and Judy Harper, as well as Mike and Mary Ann Harper, own and operate Harper Feedlot LLC in Eaton, Colo. They currently have a one-time capacity of approximately 65,000 lambs and 3,000 cattle. In a year’s time, they handle upwards of 200,000 head total. The Harpers have been feeding livestock in northern Colorado since the early 1970s to present. Northern Colorado typically has a very mild, dry climate, which makes feeding livestock much easier. This area is centrally located in the West, allowing them to bring lambs in from all around. They are within 70 miles of Denver (Superior Farms) and nine miles from Greeley (JBS Swift). There is ample feed grown around them to provide access to feed all year long.
Why are you an ASI Guard Dog member?
“Being an American Sheep Industry Association Guard Dog member gives us a presence through the capable hands of quality staff. Being in a physical and time-consuming business, it is hard to find the time to address the important issues that confront our industry on a daily basis. Legislatively, we must maintain a focused and unified front to better combat the negative forces that jeopardize our business. I believe our membership reinforces our commitment to the industry and the future of that industry.”
How has the industry benefited from the Guard Dog funds?
“One of the most recent benefits that the Guard Dog fund has provided to the industry is the monies used to support some Idaho producers in their battle to stay on their forest allotments. Thanks to the Guard Dog program, we are bringing to light the fact that the anti-livestock groups are using bighorn sheep as a tool to shut down domestic grazing, as well as the grazing that takes place on the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho. If these groups find success in achieving their goals in Idaho, then our interests could be a future target. To date, the fund has provided over $75,000 in legal services to sheep producers and state sheep associations already in bighorn battles.”
What do you think are the industry’s biggest needs for the future?
“I believe the industry’s biggest need is to educate the public about the benefits of livestock grazing as well as the versatility of sheep and their many attributes. I never imagined that the general public could be so far removed from agriculture that we would find ourselves needing to educate them from the ground up, but that is what we must do to be a long-term viable industry. By doing so, maybe we could stimulate some profitability, as well as more interest from a younger generation, to thrive and carry on the torch. I probably don’t need to mention it, but I will. Predation must be managed; we need more tools. We are fewer in numbers and feeding more of them all the time. If it’s not the two-legged kind it’s definitely the four-legged! I think at times, our chances are better with the four-legged type.”
Established in 2001, the Guard Dog Program utilizes the recommendations and donations of dedicated industry individuals to address a variety of issues. We hope you enjoy learning about these individuals, their businesses and their foresight for the U.S. sheep industry. If you would like to become a member of the Guard Dog Program, contact the American Sheep Industry Association.