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Demos show simple, safe way to handle cattle

Dr. Joe Jeffrey is back at Husker Harvest Days with cattle chute demonstrations.

Kevin Schulz, Editor

August 10, 2021

3 Min Read
Dr. Joe Jeffrey demonstrating the  cattle chute demos at Husker Harvest Days
MIC’D UP: Dr. Joe Jeffrey (left) has been the voice of the cattle chute demos at Husker Harvest Days for years. He not only knows about cattle handling, but also has a few stories to tell along the way.Photos by Mindy Ward

Husker Harvest Days may have skipped a year, but the cattle demonstrations for the 2021 show will not skip a beat as “Dr. Joe” Jeffrey is back to narrate and offer commentary on the demos, just as he has for every cattle demo in past shows.

The 2020 Husker Harvest Days was another victim of COVID-19. But Jeffery is ready to entertain this year at the cattle handling demos. It promises to be just as informative as in years past with side-by-side chute comparisons, and just as entertaining with his running commentary.

Life of the corral

“We tell a few stories and have some fun, too,” says Jeffrey, who uses humor to engage and inform the audiences. “It has been a lot of fun.”

He says his lengthy veterinary career has provided him plenty of fodder for stories. “I worked for seven veterinarians, and they would send me on the calls that they didn’t want to go on,” he says.

A cow exits the cattle chute during the Husker Harvest Days demonstration

Jeffrey enjoys teasing some of the chute operators, but he is quick to admit that the real stars of the show are the chute workers who make the demonstrations successful year after year, and the equipment itself.

“It is much more successful than I would have anticipated. The chutes have really improved over the years,” he says. “The greatest changes have been how strong the chutes are built today, and that they are much safer for the livestock and the handlers.”

Chute show at HHD

Since live cattle handling demonstrations and side-by-side chute comparisons began with the 1988 show, they have become an audience favorite as they look forward to seeing the latest chutes and technology demonstrated. It also helps that they are entertained by Jeffrey’s banter.

Just as COVID-19 threw a monkey wrench into last year’s show, all ranchers know that things don’t always go as planned when working with cattle. That’s the case for on the farm or even at the HHD demos, as calves have been known to sneak through a chute before getting caught in the headgate.

That’s just par for the course, according to Jeffrey. Bringing the equipment and cattle together at HHD is a good way for producers to compare chute features, while seeing them in action.

The demonstrations, located on Lot 860 in the Livestock Industry Building at the corner of Eighth Street and West Avenue, take place each day at Husker Harvest Days, Sept. 14-16, in Grand Island, Neb., at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m..

The demos are sponsored this year by ArrowQuip and Ramsey Ranch Supply in Bartlett, Neb. They are situated in a prime spot amid livestock exhibits, breed association displays, and beef- and livestock-related equipment and machinery.


About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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