Q&A with Bruce Lawrence
One of the most recognizable names in the Limousin breed started over 30 years ago with a scramble heifer project. In 1988, Bruce and Paula Lawrence’s son, Paul, caught at the Fort Worth and Houston livestock shows. Today, Lawrence Family Limousin run their 150-head registered Limousin cow herd in Anton, Texas where three generations work hard to keep the ranch running.
Why did the Lawrence family choose to raise Limousin cattle?
After Paul caught the scrabble heifer, we were involved but had no intention of becoming breeders. After we got involved though, the people were one of the main things that kept us there. As we continued to move forward in our junior projects, we started to realize what Limousin cattle brought to the industry. We really like to use Limousin genetics because of the efficiency they provide the commercial cattleman.
How has your operation, and the breed, changed in the over 30 years you’ve been involved?
Limousin has always been considered the carcass breed and since we became involved, it’s always had a lot to offer the industry. But, as the market has moved towards Choice grade beef, there’s been a need for us to work on eliminating cattle that grade Standard. Last year, the difference between Choice and Select was about $17 per ctw.
For our herd, we mainly started out trying to raise the kid’s show heifers. But, when we decided to become more involved and be Limousin breeders in the way we are now, I decided we needed to focus on raising bulls because that’s what would ultimately sustain our operation well past when we’re gone. We really worked on getting all of our data turned in and focused not only on birth weight and growth but also our carcasses, by ultra-sounding them. As genomic testing has become available, we have embraced that and try to genomically enhance our EPDs as well as parent-verify all of our cattle through DNA testing.
How has it felt watching your grandchildren work in and out of the show ring?
It’s a little different when you’re sitting on the sidelines as a grandparent because you want them to do well but you want them to learn how to be successful too. It’s really been a lot of fun to watch Tucker and Colt mature and make friends just as Amber and Lee Roy did. I think the relationships those kids build with friends across the nation in this breed will be beneficial to them throughout their entire life. It’s just really fun to sit back and not have to concentrate on them having the best show heifers, let their mom and dad think about that, but to think about trying to grow them and mature them and watch them as they have fun.
How was 2020 different from years past for your operation?
2020 has brought a lot of challenges. But, I think one thing that we’ve learned is that a lot of things that have really affected the general public have not affected the agriculture industry as much because we are used to trials and tribulations. We just have to roll with the punches and figure out how to make it work.
Technology has afforded us a lot of things too. There have been challenges serving on the NALF board and trying to figure out how to keep the members involved, having board meetings and all of the things like that. We need to be mindful of COVID but at the same time the world is still turning and we have to figure out ways to be innovative in order to produce the world's food supply.
I guess one of the biggest things that has affected us more so than COVID this year has been the drought.
Looking forward to 2021, what can buyers expect from LFL and what do we have to look forward to?
Well I hope that the buyers can look forward to purchasing cattle that have increased performance in growth and also in carcass abilities. For our cattle, we hope to make them better and better each year.
We also look forward to being able to see more people and participate in different consignment sales across the country. We’ll start off consigning at the national sale in Oklahoma City, then we’ll have bulls in the Cody Hills Ranch Bull Sale in both March and May, as well as the TLA Sale in April. We will also have two different Lawrence Family Limouins online sales, a steer and heifer sale, in April.