The 2010 Grassland Award winners are Bill and Kathy Hogue of Mission Valley Ranch. Bill and Kathy met at a new home construction marketing event. Their children, Bob, Dan, Julie and Jeff have grown to a family of 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
Bill grew up on his Grandparent’s farm outside of Eskridge in Wabaunsee County where he learned at an early age the benefits of hard work from his Grandpa who woke them up every morning at 5 AM to milk the cows and feed the livestock. His interest in farming and ranching just increased as he grew older living and working on the farm. After high school graduation Bill decided he wanted his own full-time cattle operation which would take money so he went to work for a local home builder to earn some working capital. Bill eventually learned the trade by hard earned experience and has been a homebuilder in the Topeka area for over 55 years. Bill prides himself in building a quality home for a reasonable price. He also enjoys reading, studying maps, researching the history of their land, attending KS City Chiefs games, ranching and being a steward of the native grassland they own in Wabaunsee and Shawnee Counties. Bill is an avid supporter of 4-H and FFA and has been the focus of several articles published in newspapers and newsletters for his success in both the home building and the livestock industry. He is known as “Builder by Trade.....Cattleman by Heart.”
Kathy grew up in Kansas as a child to “adventuresome” parents. Kathy says she spent her childhood days in a cabin on the river and spent hour’s rock hunting, fishing and exploring the woods. She enjoys reading, cooking, researching the history of old homes, writing, exploring with her Great Grand Kids and assisting Bill with the construction and ranching business. Kathy is a past Topeka Police Department officer and a retired real estate agent and was awarded the Topeka Board of Realtors Master Club Award.
Their land in Shawnee County was purchased in 1957 along with 25 head of registered Angus cows from a neighbor and Mission Valley Ranch was born. Over the years they increased their herd size and had a need for additional grazing land. Bill and Kathy purchased the 1,265 acres of grassland in Wabaunsee County in 2004 and have been working to improve the condition of it along with the cattle handling facilities to improve their beef product while improving the management of the grassland resource.
Their Wabaunsee County land consists of native rangeland, cropland, hayland and also has several historic stone structures on it that date back to the 1860’s that they worked very hard to restore and preserve. Bill and Kathy have shared the beauty and history of these historic structures with the public at different events throughout the years by providing tours of them.
Bill uses their cropland and hayland acres to raise all of the feed for their cattle. The cattle are rotational grazed during the growing season by way of cross fencing, ponds and a centrally located handling facility that serves as the hub of the rotation for moving livestock from one paddock to the other. The ponds and 11,327 feet of cross fencing were installed in 2007 as a part of an Environmental Quality Incentives Program contract with NRCS. They also installed some livestock watering tanks in 2009 and continue to maintain two others that were already in place. They also have constructed new and maintained the current rock fences that are on the ranch. Each spring Bill goes on a “mission” to rid the property of all unwanted weeds and brush by completing some broadcast spraying with a tractor and 50 gallon tank and then follows up with some spot spraying with a UTV to ensure weed and brush free pastures. Bill’s goal is to cut down every cedar and locust tree on the place and to aid him in this mission he purchased a skid loader and tree saw last year.
Bill is a strong supporter of history and origin. Each breeding animal’s past on the ranch can be traced back 30 years. Mission Valley Ranch keeps detailed records of its animal’s origin and performance. Bill and Kathy have produced high performing beef animals for many, many years. Livestock are marketed through the ranches own on-site sales and through packing houses.
The Hogue’s have worked hard to improve their grassland and to preserve the historic buildings on their Wabaunsee County property for future generations to enjoy.
Congratulations to Bill and Kathy Hogue on their accomplishments!