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Why buy the cow, when you can rent it

Grant Howell, owner of Magna Ag, will open Partners in Cream Dairy in the first quarter of 2023, offering raw dairy and undivided interest in his dairy herd.Magna Ag sells family milk cows, leases bulls and offers synchronized live cover and artificial insemination breeding. Synchronized live cover is a process whereby the estrus cycles of multiple cows are synchronized for breeding with the bull, which improves success rates and efficiency of breeding.The company also leases land and other services for the production of industrial hemp.Although Howellís formal education includes a masterís degree in political management, his family background led him to where he is today ó working with land and animals. ìI am finally back to doing what I should have been doing my whole life, and it feels great,î Howell said. He has worked with and bred animals for much of his life. Howellís uncle, Gordon B. Howell, bred award-winning quarter horses in the 1960s; one of the horses, Mr. San Peppy, was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 1999.In the mid 1980s, Howell worked for Linda Thompson Beavers Gordon, a championship halter horse breeder, on her ranch in Roanoke, Texas, where he learned how to artificially inseminate horses.Howellís grandfather, Vernon C. Howell, started in the oil business and eventually settled into cattle ranching. The family raised Black Angus cattle on a ranch in Marshall, Texas, where the younger Howell enjoyed rodeo work, riding bull and bareback until his late 20s.More recently, Howell farmed in Walsenburg, Colorado, until moving to Falcon three years ago with his wife of 22 years, Tina, and daughter, a graduate of Air Academy High School and now a junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He also owns farmland in Alamosa and Monte Vista.Caring for animals is a passion for Howell. He said when he was younger he wanted to raise cattle for beef but felt the business wasnít right for him. ìIím more about giving life and supporting life,î he said. ìWhen I started thinking about how precious life was, I couldnít pull the trigger.î He said in 2021 he rescued 21 nearly dead calves from their owner who could not care for them for a period of time. He nursed them back to health and returned them to the owner.Breeding cows is a significant part of Magna Ag. It leases bulls and provides artificial insemination services. Howell was recently recertified in artificial insemination at Schleining Genetics in Eaton, Colorado.Many of Magna Agís cows are sold to younger families moving to the area. ìI have been so excited to see more people choosing to homestead who understand the true value of living on acreage,î Howell said. ìThereís a lot of younger couples that are moving out to Peyton and growing their own vegetables and raising their own chickens, pigs and cows.îHowell said owning a cow is not as easy as it sounds; in order to milk a cow, one has to catch it first. At Magna Ag, ìWe get them, we halter break, train and get them to be friendly,î he said. Howell said he refuses about 50% to 60% of cow purchase requests. ìYou just get a bad feeling that theyíre not ready,î he said. ìThe buyer needs to demonstrate commitment.î Magna Ag offers classes to the buyer on how to care for the cow. ìIf you feed that cow and love on them, youíll get the best milk, cheese and yogurt. People have a tendency to not feed their cows and treat them poorly,î he said. Howell said his wife describes his cows as ìspa cows.îMagna Agís new venture, Partners in Cream Dairy, might be a natural transition for Howellís dairy herd and an answer for those who want raw dairy products but do not want to buy the cow. The company will offer an undivided herd share, meaning a customer can pay a fee to join, pay a monthly maintenance fee and receive milk, cheese, butter, yogurt or other dairy products as a dividend for their ownership of the cow. The upfront membership fee will be anywhere from $50 to $75; the monthly maintenance fee for feeding and upkeep of the cow is estimated to be about $50. There are no contracts or long-term commitments.The dairy is located at Falcon Highway and Blaney Road. Howell said he is looking for other pickup locations and would like to offer delivery service. He welcomes advance inquiries to gauge the needs and interests of the community.

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