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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT – Kaiser Cattle Company

Kaiser Cattle Company
EDJE Client Since 2002
Mason, MI

Dr Lana Kaiser grew up in Buffalo NY, graduated from SUNY at Buffalo with a BA in English with plans to become a poet. A circuitous route led her from there to beef veterinarian and breeder of registered cattle in the middle of Michigan. Founded in 1995, Kaiser Cattle is a family owned farm that began with one Maine-Anjou cow, Apricot, a cow Kaiser cared for in veterinary school. Today thier cow base is  Maine Anjou and Red Angus with one “token” Shorthorn cow .

Kaiser Cattle‘s mission is to develop females that mature early, breed easily AI, calve annually without assistance, and rebreed without difficulty. They strive for consistently excellent temperament and high fertility, not consistent color or phenotype. They want cows that are structurally correct, pleasing to look at, long lived, with a great approach to life, and a pleasure to work. They expect cows to allow us to handle calves with a minimum fuss and expect cows to accept handling in the field. They put a premium on temperament, fertility, and health. They are Michigan’s only TB Accredited, Brucellosis Certified, Johne’s level 6 herd in – few herds in the US have reached this elite status. In addition all their cows test negative for the known lethal genetic defects in the breed – they believe that selling carrier cattle as breeding stock is the wrong thing to do.

All of their cows are bred AI and have had great success using Red Angus bulls on their Maine cows -the females are excellent mothers, easy going, fertile with beautiful udders. The bulls have performed well for their customers and the steer calves have been well received. Being “genetically greedy” They sell very few females, they are offered private treaty and at the Michigan Beef Expo. Some steer calves and an occasional heifer will be 4H project calves. Most bulls are sold private treaty off the farm.

They rotationally graze their cows, which allows them (Mother Nature and rain permitting) to graze 2 cow calf pairs per acre from mid April-May until late October. In essence they raise cattle but also raise pasture – they grow grass. They have developed a system of constant pasture improvement involving clipping, harrowing and spreading composted manure with a variety of grass and legume seed. They try to do this after each pasture has been eaten the first time (ie after the equivalent of “first cut hay”) and then depending on the weather throughout the season. They provide fresh pasture two or 3 times per day depending on the height of the grass and the condition of the cows.  They use low stress handling techniques and teach their cows to follow so moving cows either to the pasture or back to the barn is generally a fun and relaxing event. Cows and calves are trained with food to the chute and scale system they have, so most times most cow are eager to get in the chute, making routine vaccinations and blood draws low stress for the cows and the humans. Calves are weaned using either the fence line or 2-step method and calves are acclimated from birth to being handled, moved and talked to.

As a beef veterinarian and breeder of registered cattle Kaiser believes that community service and education are important parts of what we do. Kaiser is involved in issues of animal behavior and welfare at the county, state and national level and is a member of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association Animal Welfare and Food Animal Practice committees, as well as the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Animal Welfare committee. She also consults for several agricultural entities, works with 4H, and has written and reprinted extensively for various cattle and agriculture publications including the Michigan Cattleman’s Magazine, National Animal Interest Alliance, Maine Anjou Voice, Shorthorn Country, The Ring, and National Livestock Exhibitor.

They believe that the animals we raise for food should have a good life. Cattle should be treated with dignity, respect, compassion and empathy. For them, the Five Freedoms represent the usual (not the ideal) level of animal husbandry. (http://www.fawc.org.uk/freedoms.htm). They strive to provide optimum welfare. They believe that good animal welfare implies both the promotion and protection of Five Freedoms and must consider the nutritional, environmental, health, emotional, and behavioral needs of cattle as well as their mental state.

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