Erskine Cash – Purebred Angus Breeder
Dr. Erskine Cash and his wife Wilhelmina, “Willie,” have farmed in Centre Hall, Centre County, since 1975, raising purebred Angus cattle on Wind Crest Farm. Erskine is Professor Emeritus, Animal Science, Penn State University and is a member of the PA Beef Council and Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Board of Directors. He also serves on the New Product Development and Culinary Initiatives Committee, for The Beef Checkoff.
“Becoming a cattleman was a life-long dream and many of my ancestors were farmers and livestock producers. We wanted our children to benefit from the life experiences of being raised on a livestock farm,” said Erskine. “Is there a better place to raise a family than the country?” Erskine thinks the most rewarding part of being a cattleman is working with God’s creation, seeing the results of breeding decisions, and developing life-long friendships.
Cows are run on an all-forage program and live in an outdoor environment with natural windbreaks. Performance measures, such as weights and reproductive traits, are recorded and evaluated annually to monitor production. A daily inspection of all animals, and multiple daily checks during calving and breeding seasons, identify potential problems and early solutions.
On Wind Crest Farm, the Cashes practice environmental stewardship by keeping a nutrient management plan; fencing in streams and ponds; utilizing intensive rotation grazing for their cattle; planting evergreen trees for natural windbreaks; providing nesting areas for birds and other wildlife; controlling weeds; testing their soil every three years and developing a winter sacrifice feeding area that’s also used during summer droughts to prevent damage to forages.
While challenges, such as rising input costs, competition for land from urban neighbors and animal activist propaganda, exist for cattle producers, Erskine also sees opportunity. “Cattle produce a nutrient dense human food from millions of acres of land not suitable for crop production that would otherwise be wasted,” he said. In Pennsylvania, he explains, farmers also have proximity to large population centers and can develop niche markets.
“We consider ourselves temporary stewards of the land and cattle. We implement cattle management practices such as those required by the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program to assure that we are producing the safest, highest quality beef, while conserving resources for future generations,” noted Erskine.
Outside of their agricultural groups, Erskine & Willie are members of the Grace United Methodist Church, Centre Hall, where Erskine is Chairman of the Missions Committee and member of the Leadership Team. Erskine also serves as president of the Center Hall/Potter Township Food Bank.
Listen to Erskine talk about the work of the New Product Development Committee.