Virginia Beef Corporation’s Charlie Gore and his young helper Justin Price, check heifers in harvested corn fields on a November morning in 2001 between Delaplane and Marshall Virginia. Virginia Beef rents farmland in Northern Virginia and at this time managed nearly 40000 acres making it one of the biggest cattle operations on the east coast. To stock all this land with cattle, Virginia Beef was buying thousands of yearling feeder calf heifers. These young females were shipped by truck to Delaplane, Virginia and some of the cattle got sick with “shipping fever”. The men use western techniques, riding out and observing the cattle, and roping the sick heifers to give antibiotics. These techniques require great physical skill, and are seldom used in other Virginia cattle operations where typically the cattle would be herded into a pen or paddock and the sick ones sorted out and doctored in a cattle chute.
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