Carrying on the family tradition in agriculture as the fourth generation on their Grady County farm, Steve and Donna Standridge work diligently to produce superior cattle that represent the Standridge name well.
“I want to be known for selling a quality product of cattle,” Steve said. “To me, your name is what you’ve got to sell at the end of the day. If they’re used to buying quality cattle off me over and over again, they’re going to be looking for my product at the sale barn. That’s important to me.”
The couple grows alfalfa, wheat, corn and forage sorghums to be used primarily in their stocker cattle operation and grow yard just outside of Chickasha.
“The grow yard is something my father instilled in me to offset and be able to counter what a lot of other producers do,” Steve said. “We don’t want to buy when everybody else is buying necessarily and sell when everybody else is selling.”
Each month, the family buys cattle at around 475 to 525 pounds to be placed in their grow yard alongside steers from their cow/calf herd, and later markets the cattle at around 775 to 825 pounds. The Standridges purchase and sell sets of cattle every month throughout the year to counter market fluctuations.
“We’re just trying to even out the highs and lows,” Steve said. “Our overall goal is to achieve profitability and to hit the niche times of the year when maybe not everybody’s marketing their cattle.”
Certified in the Beef Quality Assurance program, the family uses proven production and management practices to ensure their cattle meet the highest standards of quality. Cattle are sorted into lots to track each group’s progress and profitability and develop a plan for hedging. When it comes time to market the cattle, Steve sorts the cattle into uniform groups based on size and quality to help ensure a premium product at the sale barn.
“Steve is very particular about the kind of cattle he buys,” Donna said. “When he buys good cattle, we have a set way of bringing them in and then when he sells his cattle, they always look really good. They’re uniform, it’s just a good set of cattle.”
As they raise cattle on their Grady County farm to help feed the world, the Standridges cannot imagine spending their days doing anything else.
“What profession is more noble than an ag profession?” Donna said. “It is hard work, but it’s a wholesome life. I wouldn’t trade my life for the world.”
“Donna’s like, ‘You’re 66, you can retire,’” Steve said. “And it’s like, ‘And do what?’ I enjoy what I do every day. I get up every day and want to meet the new day with a new challenge.”
Perhaps most of all, the Standridges cherish the opportunity to share their way of life in agriculture with their children and grandchildren.
“I’m the fourth generation to be farming this farm in this area, so I feel like I’m carrying on the tradition,” Steve said. “I don’t know if my kids or my grandkids will ever farm, but I want them to have the opportunity to at some point if they want to.”