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“Can Do” Attitude Moves Third Generation Farm Family Toward Success

The White Family

Lori and Benji White were married on a Tuesday, just three days after deciding to make the life-long commitment. 

“We make a decision and stick to it,” Lori said.

More than 10 years later the Whites are continuing to make important decisions everyday on their B and L Registered Red Angus ranch near Putnam, Okla.

Lori and Benji were mild school acquaintances, four years apart, in Mutual, where both were raised in families with strong work ethics. It was only later, in early adulthood, the two would see each other in a different light.

Both were raised around cattle and oilfields-Lori’s dad, Pete Persall, was an early pioneer in the cattle genetics field, Benji cut his teeth working in the hard scrabble oilfield service industry.

With headquarters near Putnam, the Whites far-flung business stretches from just southwest of Sharon to south of Custer City. The diversified operation includes 150 registered Red Angus cows and 300 commercial cross bred Angus cows.  They also grow wheat, grain sorghum and forage hay.

“Our goal is to have half of our cattle registered and half commercial,” Benji said.  

The registered cattle are more profitable as the Whites have sold a bull for $80,000, another for $38,000.

The Whites are quick to add they also paid $25,000 for a heifer, and big bucks for other cows with top genetic DNA.

“The registered cattle require more work, keeping track of genetics records and all the inputs that go into a top notch herd,” Lori said, “but hopefully the profits will be there.”

“We jumped into the registered business with both feet,” Benji said, “because when we decide to do something, we’re in 100 percent.”

“This (registered cattle) is a way we can add value to our product,” Lori said.

The Whites also employ beef marketing as a way to add value to their cattle. They sell non hormone treated cattle (NHTC) through Cattlemen’s Choice Feedyard in Gage, Okla.

“We have found superior genetics can give us the same quality product, just as fast as using hormone implants,” Lori said. “We receive a premium by marketing our cattle as NHTC or natural beef.”

Audits by a third party entity assure consumers the White’s cattle are indeed all natural beef.

Like other aspects of their business, the Whites jumped into the natural beef market with a commitment to themselves and to consumers.

“We want to provide a quality, nutrient-dense beef product,” Lori said.

Soon a third generation will be part of that “can do” approach. The Whites have two children, Blane, six years, and Lauren, six months.

“One of the most amazing things is to have our children with us, in the pastures and fields, to see a baby calf, there just is nothing better,” Benji said.

We want to give our kids the opportunity to farm and ranch.

Lori White, B and L Red Angus Ranch

Standing in the way are a couple of major obstacles: government regulations and land availability.

Benji points to issues like the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) proposal and EPA’s emissions standards as examples of government overreach.

“They don’t give farmers and ranchers credit for knowing what’s best for our cattle and our land,” Benji said.

“If we don’t take care of the land and cattle, they won’t take care of us,” Lori said.  

The Whites see farm organizations, like AFR, as a partner to help them communicate with consumers and legislators.

“We expect AFR to tell our story and advocate for agriculture, as this is one of the key functions that can help us the most out here in rural Oklahoma,” Lori said.

Part of advocating includes gathering support for State Question 777, Right to Farm, which is on the general election ballot in November. The issue would constitutionally protect family farmers and ranchers from unreasonable government interference and attacks by out of state special interests.

“We support it 100 percent,” Benji said.  “We need this protection, especially for our kids.  SQ777 will secure food production for the future.”

The western Oklahoma farm family believes the future is bright for agriculture.

“The future is strong, as the world needs us to feed a growing population,” Benji said. 

A combination of hard work and new technology will help the Whites and other agricultural producers meet the demands of feeding a hungry world.

Hard work is no stranger on the B and L ranch.

“Birthdays, holidays, weekends, middle of the night…it’s all the same to us as we need to take care of the cattle,” Lori said.

“The second year we were here, we spent Christmas Day gathering cattle scattered by a blizzard with snow drifted over roads and fences,” Benji said. “It was 10 degrees and blowing snow, but we had to be out there.”

Which brings us back to that “c” word: commitment. It takes a ton of faith and courage, every day, to make the sacrifices necessary to operate a successful farm and ranch.

“We don’t really consider it a sacrifice, it’s just what we want to do,” Lori said.

View the full issue of AFR Today

Spring 2016

Karl Jett: Dedicated Conservationist, Convention Wrap-Up, Changing the Face of our Co-ops, more