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Jimmie Sheffield named Cattleman of the Year

By Cindy Jo Ayers
Jimmie Sheffield named Gilchrist County Cattleman of the Year
The Gilchrist County Cattlemen’s Association held their annual membership dinner on Tuesday, October 8, at Otter Springs.
Everyone enjoyed a dinner of locally raised Quincey Cattle Company beef burgers with all the trimmings. Chris Hardee of Hardee Farms and Toby Weeks sponsored the event.
The highlight of the evening was the naming of Gilchrist County native Jimmie Sheffield as Cattleman of the Year. Sheffield runs 40 to 50 head of brood cows on his 100 acre farm. Jimmie and his wife Faye live on the farm where he was born. His parents Chester and Clara (Langford) Sheffield acquired the property.
Sheffield raises hay, rye and millet for his cattle and occasionally he harvests grass seed.
These days Sheffield enjoys attending cattle sales at the Columbia Livestock Market. Sheffield said, “I enjoy that as good as anything.”
Although retired, he and his wife are very active on the farm.
One of the guest speakers for the evening was Robert Capote from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Animal Disease and Control. Supervisor Capote  explained the new tagging system will  have to be used on market cattle by the year 2023. According to the USDA RFID tags will be used in the future. RFID tags are radio frequency identification tags and can be read with a hand held scanner. These tags will greatly enhance animal health officers ability to locate specific animals quickly in case of an outbreak of disease. The tags cost about $2 each and can be purchased at local veterinary supply stores such as First Coast Vet Supply in Trenton. As of December 31, 2019 USDA will discontinue providing free metal tags. They can still be purchased until December 31, 2020 from venders. USDA will no longer approve vender production of metal ear tags as of January 1, 2021. As of January 1, 2023 RFID ear tags will be required for beef and dairy cattle and bison moving interstate. Feed cattle and animals moving directly to slaughter are not subject to RFID requirements according to the USDA.
Cattleman President Toby Weeks invited the Jackson County Extension Director Doug Mayo to speak to the cattlemen and their families about being prepared for a hurricane. Jackson County suffered great agriculture losses when category 5 hurricane Michael came ashore in the panhandle in October 2018. Mayo reported that over 90% of the over 40,000 acres of cotton was destroyed and 50% of the 32,000 acres of peanuts were destroyed by the storm. In the panhandle Mayo believes the total ag loss is 1.5 billion.
Mayo spoke about how to prepare a ranch for damage from a major hurricane. He said they expected at the most 100 mph winds in Marianna and got between 120 and 150 mph winds. Jackson County is located about 70 miles from the Gulf Coast and Gilchrist County is only 40 miles from the coast.
Ranchers need an emergency response plan for a major hurricane. Mayo said his plan should include tree and brush removal around the perimeter fences, emergency interior pasture large enough to hold entire herd, emergency water source such as generator, fence repair supplies, some type of tree and debris removal equipment, extra chain saw and supplies and a list of resource people to contact such as other ranchers who might be able to help after a storm. He said everyone should prepare for being without power for up to one month.
At the close of the event Earl Jones reminded everyone that the Cattleman’s Steak Dinner fundraiser will be held in February 2020.