What is in this article?:
- Phillip DeSalvo: Sunbelt Expo Farmer of the Year for Arkansas
- Severe drought
- 97 percent conception rate
- Teaching way of life
• As a result of his success as a beef producer, Phillip DeSalvo has been selected as the Arkansas state winner of the 2013 Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.
97 percent conception rate
He has achieved a 97 percent conception rate, but that fell a bit in the wake of last year’s drought. Weaning weights are about 600 pounds for steers and bulls, and about 25 pounds less for heifers.
Pregnancy checking and strict cow culling contribute to herd efficiency. “Poor fertility, bad feet and legs, poor udders and disposition are all reasons for culling,” he says. “The cows must also wean a calf whose adjusted weaning weight is 50 percent of the mama’s body weight. We have a few 1,500-pound cows on the place, but it is easy to get a 500-pound weaned calf from a 1,000-pound cow.”
Accurate records also contribute to top beef production. He collects information on animal weights and other data that his wife Beth enters into their CattleMax computer software.
Prior to working full-time on the farm, DeSalvo worked as a welder and drove a truck. “I was making money for my employers, and I decided to come back to the farm to make money for myself,” he recalls.
In the years ahead, DeSalvo anticipates increasing cattle numbers to better supply a growing demand for bulls and commercial heifers. He also intends to start a production sale at the ranch. “Our bull customers will then be able to market their calves at our sale,” adds DeSalvo.
DeSalvo serves as vice-president of the Conway County Cattlemen’s Association. He is a member of the Conway County Farm Bureau and sponsors Center Ridge baseball and softball teams. He also chairs committees for the Conway County Fair Association.
He is a member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and participated in the Young Arkansas Cattlemen’s Leadership Class. He is also a member of the International Brangus Breeders Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
His wife Beth is also active in the Conway County Fair Association, St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Nemo Vista School Parent Teacher Association. She occasionally works as a substitute teacher at Nemo Vista School. She is also a member of Arkansas Women in Agriculture.
His father, Tony DeSalvo, is a source of help and guidance. Tony instilled in Phillip a passion for cattle. Phillip, Tony and Beth work together as a team to make sure the cattle operation runs efficiently.
Phillip and Beth have two children, a son Ben, 9, and a daughter Isabella, 7. Both children are active in 4-H and in exhibiting livestock. As a child, Phillip helped Tony on the ranch just as Ben and Isabella help out today. Phillip says,