“I will never forget the smiles that matched mine from the whole FCF crew when I came out of the ring and went back to the stalls” -Sierra Day.
For the past two and a half years I have had the privilege of working with the entire Four Corners Farms crew and their juniors that show for them. It did not take me long to see that their show cattle business was not just a business, but a “family deal”. We all know the livestock breeders who are in it for the money and will sell the animal to a customer and never see them again, that is where the FCF crew is different. From the day the cattle are sold, the McClure’s are constantly checking in with their customers and making sure the animal is at its highest potential and that the families are happy.
Interview with Eric McClure
“Be a step better, makes cows better, hair better, fit job better, and customer relations five steps ahead of where we think they should be” -Eric McClure
Eric McClure is the show barn manager of the Four Corners Farms operation and I asked him a couple questions regarding the kids and why he loves doing what he does. After hearing his answers, I truly see why customers continue to come back and purchase cattle with Four Corners Farms each year.
I have a couple memories that stick out in my mind. They aren’t winning the big shows or the highest seller in our sale. One memory that comes to mind in when Cody York had Champion Angus at the Gibson County Preview show. Though this is not the biggest show we go to in a year, seeing how happy Cody was, is what made it stand out to me. He had been working his butt off to get his heifer shown and it finally paid off.
Another memory that I will never forget was this year in Denver at the National Western Stock Show with one of my juniors Craig Allen Becker. He took his heifer by the halter and showed her who was in charge. His heifer named Boots is not the most friendly heifer on the FCF farm, and on this day Craig Allen showed her he was not scared of her. I was so proud to see him take all his nerves away and bond with her. I had been trying to show Craig Allen that he does not have to be scared of her, she just has to get used to him. Seeing how Craig Allen just went right up to her without being scared at all, really showed me that my work is paying off. These types of memories are so simple but mean the most to me.
-Best part of working for FCF-
The fact that I get to teach kids work ethic and the principles that made me successful. Growing up showing cattle is what I loved to do most. I learned from so many great mentors and now I get to do just that for the young kids showing for me. I want to see my juniors being just as successful as I was at their age.
-What do you believe keeps the customers coming back-
Bottom line taking care of the kids. I keep a good relationship with the parents and try to be a good role model for their kids. I want the parents to see I truly care about what their families are doing even outside the show ring. I like to know how their baseball or volleyball games went, or make sure to call them on their birthdays. Customer service goes way beyond making sure the animal they purchased looks right.
Interviewing the kids
-Sierra Day- Age 19
I asked Sierra what keeps her and her family coming back each year to buy show heifers from FCF.
“I truly believe that what makes FCF stand out from other breeders is that they aren’t just focusing on producing high-quality cattle, but they are also focusing on helping youth like myself grow into the next generation of industry leaders.” -Sierra Day
-Lauren Wolter- Age 12
I asked Lauren what her favorite memory was while being with the FCF crew. She talked about a time when she was being interviewed in the show ring.
I had gotten in the top half of my class at my first year of NJAA and was really excited. When I walked out I was beaming! The camera managed to catch the moment when Greg gave me a high five.” -Lauren Wolter
-Cody York- Age 12
I also asked Cody what his favorite memory was over the years of working with the FCF crew.
“Justin Lillesand and Eric McClure teaching me how to fit and get the heifers ready to show.”- Cody York
-Craig Allen Becker- Age 13
I asked Craig Allen what keeps him coming back each year to FCF.
“With each year comes a bigger bond. Sure each year brings stronger business partnership, but why do business with a family you don’t enjoy? It’s a blast seeing you guys and buying the amazing cattle that dominate in the show ring and keep getting better and better each year.” -Craig Allen Becker
It truly is a “family deal”
After talking with both the FCF crew and their juniors, it is not hard to see why they are so successful at what they do. Now that you have read what Eric and his juniors believe, I am going to tell you what I have learned over the past two and a half years.
1. Work comes first
Days are made up of feeding, washing, and clipping upon a list of other tedious tasks that need to be done. Tasks that can not be skipped for a week to go on vacation or to take a night off to go to the movies. Work always comes first to these guys. Without this dedication to the animals and the juniors that show for them, the Four Corners Farms crew would not be as successful as they are today. Don’t get me wrong, when the work is done these guys can have as much fun as the rest of them, but they will always be up the next morning at the barn making sure the cattle are fed and taken care of.
2. When the kids want to learn, they are ready and excited to teach them.
Many weekends are spent with the FCF crew juniors and families having showmanship practice, washing their calves, and spending time together. If a family wants to work with their animals, they will never hear the word no. The McClure’s will be there ready to give any helpful advice and teach the kids how to be successful in their show careers. These are my favorite times to be around. I get to see the kids get better and better each time they work with their animals. The next time they are around, I am able to see the improvements that have been made and I get to see the smiles on their faces knowing their work is paying off. I also grew up showing livestock and I know for a fact I would not have been successful without the guidance of many mentors I was lucky enough to have. Now that I have gotten too old to show as a junior, being able to be around the FCF crew and their juniors I am able to see how these kids look up to them as mentors just as I did when I was their age.
3. Last but not least “it’s a family deal”
Every single family that purchases a show calf from Four Corners Farms will be treated as family. If the junior that is showing the animal is willing to learn, I promise you they will learn from some of the best in the business. In the words of Eric McClure,
“The FCF crew and McClure family will always strive to make sure that nobody is just a “customer” the people who do business with the McClure’s are family.” -Eric McClure
Four Corners Farms is located in St. Francisville, Illinois. I have attached a link below that will take you directly to their personal website.
My name is Maisie Langholff and I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University majoring in Agriculture Science. I grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. I have been involved in the livestock industry for as long as I can remember. I grew up showing pigs and eventually started showing cattle with my family. I can not speak high enough of Western Illinois University and all the things it has done for me. I have met some great people while attending this university and learned a great deal about agriculture and the livestock industry. I will be graduating this May and hope to find a career within the agriculture field doing what I love to do. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.