“We make a decision and stick to it,” Lori says.
More than 10 years later, the Whites continue to make important decisions every day on their B and L Registered Red Angus ranch near Putnam.
Both were raised around cattle and oil fields. Lori’s dad, Pete Persall, was an early pioneer in the cattle genetics field; Benji cut his teeth working in the hardscrabble oil field service industry.
A Farm of their Own
With headquarters near Putnam, the Whites’ far-flung business stretches from just southwest of Sharon to south of Custer City. The diversified operation includes 150 registered Red Angus cows and 300 commercial crossbred Angus cows. They also grow wheat, grain sorghum and forage hay.
“Our goal is to have half of our cattle registered and half commercial,” Benji says.
The registered cattle are more profitable, as the Whites have sold a bull for $80,000 and another for $38,000.
The Whites are quick to add they also paid $25,000 for a heifer and big bucks for other cows with top genetic DNA.
“The registered cattle require more work, keeping track of genetics records and all the inputs that go into a top-notch herd,” Lori says. “But hopefully the profits will be there.”
“We jumped into the registered business with both feet,” Benji says, “because when we decide to do something, we’re in 100 percent.”
“This [registered cattle] is a way we can add value to our product,” Lori says.
The Right to Farm
Just like other aspects of their business, the Whites jumped into the natural beef market with a commitment to themselves and to consumers.
“We want to provide a quality, nutrient-dense beef product,” Lori says.
Soon, a third generation will be part of that “can do” approach. The Whites have two very young children, Blane and Lauren.
“One of the most amazing things is to have our children with us, in the pastures and fields, to see a baby calf; there just is nothing better,” Benji says.
“We want to give our kids the opportunity to farm and ranch,” Lori says. “If we don’t take care of the land and cattle, they won’t take care of us.”
The Whites see farm organizations, such as American Farmers & Ranchers (AFR), as a partner to help them communicate with consumers and legislators.
“We expect AFR to tell our story and advocate for agriculture, as this is one of the key functions that can help us the most out here in rural Oklahoma,” Lori says.
Looking Toward the Future
The western Oklahoma farm family believes the future is bright for agriculture.
“The future is strong, as the world needs us to feed a growing population,” Benji says.
A combination of hard work and new technology will help the Whites and other agricultural producers meet the demands of feeding a hungry world.
Hard work is no stranger on the B and L ranch. “Birthdays, holidays, weekends, middle of the night… it’s all the same to us as we need to take care of the cattle,” Lori says.
“The second year we were here, we spent Christmas Day gathering cattle scattered by a blizzard with snow drifted over roads and fences,” Benji says. “It was 10 degrees and blowing snow, but we had to be out there.”
He says it’s all about commitment.
“It takes a ton of faith and courage, every day, to operate a successful farm and ranch,” Lori adds. “We don’t really consider it a sacrifice; it’s just what we want to do.”