Warren Soergel -- Sixth Generation Farmer
Warren Soergel is a sixth generation farmer in Wexford, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Penn State University, Warren, his wife Gracie and father Richard, started Soergel Family Cattle back in 2011. For a while, Soergel Family Cattle produced beef products and prepackaged cuts for his family’s larger enterprise, Soergel Orchards, which has been in Warren’s family since it began operation in 1850. The Orchard and farm market sell fruits, vegetables and occasionally holds agri-entertainment festivals and educational events. Soergel Family Cattle now operates as a cow/calf farm where Warren markets his calves appropriately each fall or retains heifers for herd growth.
Warren grew up in this farming community and chose to farm after graduation because he knew it was a job and lifestyle he could build a family around. Warren mentions, “There are many life lessons that I have experienced, and hope to pass on to my kids in the future.” He appreciates seeing the hard work put into the herd pay off and acknowledges his good breeding program as doing just that. “It is very rewarding to watch a nice group of calves grow and flourish in your operation,” he comments.
Some of the most important things Warren does each and every day to ensure his cattle are healthy and productive is to be observant and keep good health records. Keeping a close eye on cattle behavior and looking for ways to reduce their stress is key. The small things add up to keeping cows healthy such as having a clean pen available at all times, correct coral set up or access to feed and forages. Maintaining good records on vaccinations, breeding and performance data also keep Warren observant of his cattle’s needs and how to best care for them.
Soergel Family Cattle not only does their best to manage cattle but also are environmental stewards and consider their neighbors when making farming decisions. The farm, pastures and cattle are located relatively close to neighboring farms and homes, so being a considerate neighbor is a key aspect to their management practices. With the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the family established a rotational grazing program to manage pasture ground to minimize environmental impact. To ensure fertilizer is not over applied to the land, Soergel Family Cattle keeps their manure management plan well documented and their soil tested regularly.
Looking into the future, Warren knows there will always be challenges in agriculture such as finding favorable market conditions, but looks forward to working through those situations. Soergel Family Cattle acknowledges the larger issue of future government involvement in farm operation or the lack of resources needed by farmers, such as the extension program. Yet, Warren attributes his farm’s success to the quality of offspring his cattle produce and sees great opportunity for advancements there. He knows to raise those quality cattle, his family must stay well educated on humane and responsible husbandry practices. He predicts that the Beef Quality Assurance Program (BQA) will continue to give him the opportunity to correct consumer misconceptions that are prevalent today noting, “The BQA program alone has helped us to assure our customers that we produce cattle with great care and responsibility, and go about raising them in the most humane means possible.”
In addition to working to produce high quality calves to enter the beef supply, Warren is involved in many community organizations such as Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Pennsylvania Cattlemen’s Assocation, Northwest Cattlemen’s, American Angus Association and Pennsylvania Angus Association. Warren also serves on the Butler County Extension board.