East Bench Cattle
Written by: Cassidy Brunner
In today’s economy building a family ranch and farm isn’t always the easiest and as some say it can’t be done because working with family just doesn’t work! I, Cassidy Brunner, have been working with my dad on the farm and ranch since growing up and wouldn’t change it for the world! Dad (Tim Brunner) would always have my sisters and I out there flipping straw bales, fixing fence, helping brand, and just doing the daily chores to keep things running steadily. Never did I realize at a young age that I would want to stay on the ranch and make that my living. Now I have been given the opportunity to work side by side with my dad everyday building a business we both enjoy doing. After going to college and playing a little basketball I decided home was where I wanted to be. I worked a few jobs in town, and still work at Western Livestock Auction on sale days, but I knew sitting behind a desk was not going to make this girl happy! Dad had been building his herd year by year and I had bought a few head of Red Angus cows right out of college so we knew we could work something out to where Dad could be down working at Western Livestock full time and I could be home taking care of the cattle during the day and work at night waitressing in town a few days a week.
Tim Brunner started building his farm/ranch out on the Fairfield Bench after he had gone to college and got drafted into the Army in 1972. After spending a few years down south in the Army dad knew he wanted to come back to Power and help his father on the family ranch. Tim knew it wasn’t going to be an easy life but he was up for the challenge and now 41 years later he is still here out on the Fairfield Bench teaching his daughter the ropes to keep things going that he worked so hard at. Dad started with a few acres and just a hand full of share cattle later turning those few acres into hundreds and that hand full of cattle into almost 300 head of mother cows. Tim had always taken care of the farming and the cattle by himself with help from us girls when we were home, but in order for him to be able to work full time and keep his herd numbers up he was going to have to either give up on a few head of cattle, not work so much at Western, or raising barley was going to have to stop. So, dad quit raising grain and turned all his farm ground into either pasture or alfalfa hay. By doing so he knew he could add a few more cows to the herd, which always makes him happy! 13 years ago Tim decided to take on a new adventure, calving out heifers every year breeding them back and selling them as 3 year old cows. Some years were great and others not so good but still to this day we calve out 125 or so heifers every year with a smile on our faces when they are all calved out! Dad decided if he was going to keep calving this many head out he need to build something to get the cattle out of the cold weather. He built a calving shed right south of his place that gets used quite often during calving season. Not too many of our cows or heifers get to be on their own while calving! We bring the heifers up close to the shed every night before dark and check them every 2 hours during the night. We have 12 pens plus a maternity pen set up in the shed and most cold nights it is full! Our older cows stay right behind the house at nights and when we are close to being down calving out the heifers the cows get to come close by the shed. Dad also started himself a Pure Bred Black Angus herd and they will definitely let you know when they are ready to calve waiting patiently at the shed door to be let in every night! Dad started this herd to be able to sell a few registered bulls every year and keep the heifers to build his herd with sires that he liked the best, Yellowstone and Danny Boy sires are his favorite! During the day when dad heads to work I tag and turn out all the new babies and clean the shed out to get ready for the night. Even with all the sleepless nights and the long days during calving season dad and I enjoy working with each other and I know I wouldn’t want any other job!
Besides farming in the summer and taking care of cattle all year long dad stays busy being the yard-foreman down at Western Livestock and is the president of the board at Greenfields Irrigation District and I guess you could say, I’m really following in his footsteps, as I work down at Western Livestock Auction being the clerk on sale days!
Together dad and I have built East Bench Cattle that will stay on the Fairfield Bench for years. He has built an opportunity for me most kids these days will never get the chance to have. As everyone knows ranching isn’t the easiest life, it is something you have to love and I realize without the help of him I wouldn’t be able to have the cattle and farm ground that I do. I know I will raise my children just like dad raised us with good work ethics and responsibility!