Getting the Feed He Needs

Today Keeling also owns and farms about 3,500 acres surrounding his yard. He uses the ground to help feed his 17,000 head. “Our water here in the Panhandle's not the best, so we don't irrigate much; most of it is dry land,” he says. He plants about 300 acres of corn, which he harvests for silage, and buys additionalsileage from neighboring farmers to fill his needs.

On the remaining acres, Keeling plants wheat and grazes them out in a good year. “If you're going to take it to grain, you'll need to be off of it in March,” he says. “We'll do some of that, and then we'll take some and make hay out of it. On a good year, we'll do all three things.We have very few good years like that, but one way or another, it ends up back in the feedlot.”