A New Adventure
Tucked amongst the dense clusters of trees and rolling hills in southeast Oklahoma’s Coal County, Jaclyn and LC Darling stand atop a hill surveying their land and thinking of all that is to come for their new adventure together, both in life and on the ranch.
For the Darlings – third-generation cattle producers – ensuring both the land and their livestock are viable for generations to come is at the forefront of this young couples’ mind, continually influencing each of their day-to-day decisions.
The couple recently started their own herd of cow/calf pairs, in addition to being actively involved in her family’s third generation 2,500 acre cattle and hay operation spanning across portions of Coal and Atoka Counties.
To ensure they have a strong understanding of all facets of the ever-changing cattle industry, Jaclyn and LC currently are participating in the Oklahoma State University Master Cattleman course through the Coal County Extension office.
“We’ve always done things a certain way at our ranch, but never understood the why behind it all,” said Jaclyn. “Through the class, we have been learning more about the science within the cattle industry and been able to interact with other area producers.”
For LC, he was raised in rural Oklahoma, but was not actively involved in the cattle industry. Starting with the basics, he decided to dive head-first into learning as much as he can about the industry, even with his full-time job as a seeding and fertilizing operator.
“Bull selection seemed to be you just went and looked at all the bulls and chose the one that looks better on the outside,” LC said. “With the numbers and the EPD’s, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can to improve the genetics side of our cattle operation.”
Through all of their hard work, it is their hope to one day see the fourth and fifth generations raised on the same land they have worked so hard to preserve through routine maintenance of their pastures.
“As a family we truly believe that if we take care of the land, the land will take care of us,” Jaclyn said. “We firmly believe in weed spraying and brush hogging when we can to not only be beneficial to the land, but to our cattle as well.”
While maintaining their pastures are vital, ensuring the welfare of their cattle is a key component to the success of their operation, striving to reduce stress on their herds. In order to limit the amount of stress on their cattle, the Darlings continue to work their cattle on horseback.
“We’ve always worked on horseback, and when I was little, I never understood why,” Jaclyn said. “As I got older, I realized that the cattle remain calmer and their stress levels stay low, making it easier to work with them.”
To the Darlings, Coal County is where they call home, and forever will be.
“It’s so cool to be able to work alongside my family,” Jaclyn said. “You don’t always see that in agriculture as some of the kids have moved away, but we’ve all moved back here and adapted to the ranching way of life.”