Jason Snyder -- Juniata County Cow/Calf Producer
Jason Snyder, Juniata County, is working to grow his cow/calf herd located in Spruce Hill, PA. Four years ago, after marrying wife Renee, Jason began to run cattle on his father-in-law’s land. The old dairy farm where Renee grew up milking cows with her parents, currently is home to 19 cow/calf pairs with close to 30 replacement heifers to build the herd. The farm encompasses roughly 70 acres between pastures and crop ground, as well as some CREP ground on the property. Aside from raising cattle, Jason also grows corn and makes hay on the land.
Jason, along with Renee and her two daughters, ages 14 and 11, enjoy spending weekends on the farm. Jason comments he likes to “work with his family and be outside. I enjoy watching the calves and corn grow.” Jason had always imagined himself owning a farm operation and had the passion to raise beef cattle. Renting the land from his father-in-law, Fred Shoop, gives him the ideal opportunity to start his herd and continue to grow it from there.
Each and every day Jason rides through his pasture ground to ensure his cattle are healthy and productive. He also checks to make sure they have adequate feed and water. When necessary, he is sure to supplement the pasture with hay and grain. To keep his pastures productive throughout the year, Jason rotates his cattle to allow for healthy regrowth of the grasses. As a BQA certified producer, Jason also relies heavily on the BQA guidelines to help assist him in the running of his operation. Following along those same lines, to be a good steward of the land, Jason adheres to a strict manure management plan.
Looking into the future, Jason acknowledges some challenges he sees for the industry, primarily on the financial side. With crop and grain prices constantly shifting, he is aware of changes that must be made to stay economically successful in the business. For his operation though, Jason is looking forward to growing his cow/calf herd to possibly supply other operators with feeder calves. Currently, all bull calves on the farm become steers and are sold at auction. In the future, Jason hopes to obtain more land to finish steers on the farm and direct market them to consumers.
With these plans for the future, Jason wants consumers to know that although his operation may be small, he takes pride in the productive and healthy calves he grows. From this dedication to growing healthy calves, he wouldn’t sell cattle to anyone he wouldn’t want to consume himself.
Aside from working on his cattle farm, Jason and his family are active members of the Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Spruce Hill. Jason and Renee are glad to see the girls grow up on the farm and the life skills that come along with raising cattle.