|By JANE HOUIN
BIDWELL, Ohio — Champion Hill cattle may be known for their dominance in the showring, but this year the farm’s slogan, Winning is only the beginning, has new meaning.
The Bidwell, Ohio cattle farm will be recognized as the Ohio Cattlemen’s Assoc. 2006 Seedstock Producer of the Year.
“Champion Hill is known nationwide as a seedstock producer and has one of the most aggressive embryo transfer programs in the country,” said Elizabeth Harsh, executive director of the Ohio Cattlemen’s Assoc. “Champion Hill is always extremely competitive in national shows and sells many competitive females to youth involved in junior shows, so it was an easy choice.”
Paul Hill, along with wife Lynn, operate Champion Hill in partnership with Marshall Reynolds of Huntington, W. Va., and in the past year alone, the heifers produced at their operation have won more than 40 shows on the local, state, and national levels.
“Where we stand out different than most is that we breed performance cattle,” Hill said.
“Our philosophy is that these animals spend most of their lives as productive cows. We try to breed cattle that are very functional. They need to be good production animals before they are show animals.”
Hill became interested in raising purebred cattle while a student at the American Herdsman Institute outside of Kansas City, Mo. Although the family farm he grew up on in Marianna, Fla., had commercial cattle, his interest in purebred Angus cattle was sparked when as a first year student at the institute he fed and groomed the bull that won the All American Futurity.
Since that time, Hill has managed some of the top Angus operations in the cattle business and worked his way into ownership in partnership with Reynolds, who has raised Angus cattle for 27 years under the Champion Farms name in West Virginia and Ohio. In 1990, Reynolds hired Hill with the intention to form a partnership.
That came to fruition in 1993 when Champion Hill, Inc. was formed with Hill as president.
In addition, Champion Hill benefits from their partnership with Schaff Angus Valley of St. Anthony, N.D. The two farms market bulls together each February in what has become one of the Angus breed’s top bull sales, and Hill contributes much of Champion Hill’s success to their partnership.
To Hill, one of Champion Hill’s biggest accomplishments is the number of bulls that they have leased to AI stud in recent years. Champion Hill currently has 11 bulls now leased as AI bulls to three different semen distributors: ABS, Accelerated Genetics, and Genex. But the major emphasis at Champion Hill is on producing top-quality, performance-ready females.
“We want the female to have quite a bit of presence about them, a high-quality udder, and have cattle that have some muscle but still some feminine angle and characteristics,” Hill said. “We are strict on quality and performance. A cow that can’t nurse or give enough milk is not much of a cow.”
Champion Hill boasts about 1,500 head of cattle, including cows, calves, and recipient cows on their 3,500-acre farm, and they lease an additional 750 acres.
Champion Hill relies heavily upon embryo transfer, with about 98 percent of their calves produced utilizing artificial insemination and embryo transfer. In fact. Hill has been using embryo transfer since the late 1970s when the farm he worked at became one of the first two Angus operations to make use of the practice.
In addition to their February bull sale in North Dakota, Champion Hill sells approximately 40 bulls each year in Ohio and holds two female sales each year in Gallia County as well, in late October and early April.
Hill is also active in Angus association events and activities, serving in his sixth year on the American Angus Assoc. Board of Directors where he serves as treasurer of the board. Additionally, he is currently serving his third consecutive year as chairman of the Angus Foundation Board of Directors.
Champion Hill received the Seedstock Producer of the Year award at the Ohio Cattlemen’s Assoc. banquet on Jan. 21 in Newark, Ohio. As the Ohio winner, they will also be entered in the Beef Improvement Federation’s national seedstock producer contest with the national winner being named at their annual meeting this April in Mississippi.
Published in the January 25, 2006 issue of Farm World.