Shelby Lager: POWER of Beef

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Shelby Lager has farmed all his life in newly designated #Agri-Ready Nodaway County near Maryville. He is excited to share his love of agriculture with his wife, Tannah, and his son Hesston who may grow up to be the fourth generation of the family to farm in Nodaway County. Alongside his family, Shelby farms row crops and is passionate about growing his registered Hereford beef herd. His commitment to the Nodaway County Cattlemen’s Association is helping to bring the POWER of Beef to the communities of Nodaway County.

Photo Credit: Tannah Terry Photography

Shelby Lager’s grandfather bought the family farm in Nodaway County in 1957. Shelby grew up farming that same land with his dad, Robert. Today, Shelby is developing a registered Hereford beef herd and his dad has a commercial beef herd. They each grow soybean and corn row crop rotations. Their farming operations are separate, but they cooperate to support each other in getting the work done. Farming is a family affair for the Lagers, as Shelby’s mom, brother, sister, and uncle also help with the operations regularly.

Family guided Shelby’s perspective and values about agriculture growing up on the farm. “One thing dad has taught me since I was old enough to remember is the importance of conserving our soil. We can farm whatever we want out of our ground for this year and maybe the next. But if we don’t conserve our soil, it won’t be there to support the next generation,” Shelby said, reflecting on advice that is even more poignant to him since his son Hesston was born earlier this fall. “We are utilizing no-till practices, cover crops, and terraces to conserve the ground for my son’s generation and generations to come after him. We have already seen positive results using these conservation methods.” 

It is no surprise that Shelby is interested in raising cattle as part of his operation since he and his siblings grew up showing livestock as 4-H and FFA members. He enjoys caring for his cattle and watching them grow between planting and harvest seasons. Shelby hopes that the registered Hereford herd that he and Tannah are striving to build, will serve as a springboard opportunity for Hesston to show cattle when he gets older. To lay a foundation for that goal, Shelby is living out more family farm guidance, “Mom and dad have always shown an example of being heavily involved in our community, so I am glad to serve on the board of our Nodaway County Cattlemen’s Association (NCCA),” Shelby said.

Photo Credit: Tannah Terry Photography

Shelby has an integral role in the planning and execution of the annual banquet hosted by the NCCA each February. Thousands of dollars are raised in a single night that the NCCA returns to the communities of Nodaway County in many ways including scholarships for college-bound youth. The group uses the funds to purchase and donate ground beef and all beef hot dogs to school concession stands across the county. They are leading partners with the Mo Beef Kids program which aims to get more beef into school lunches in Nodaway County. They also donate beef to serve at many civic, youth, and philanthropic events throughout the year. For these programs, the NCCA purchases beef from local suppliers, making sure that beef is what’s for lunch and dinner while supporting the local economy. “Our goal is to help beef be on the menu for as many local events as possible and that it is served in our schools as often as possible,” Shelby said. “We believe that we should give back with beef visibly in our community to honor the support that the community provides to our group at the annual banquet.” For more details about other unique outreach projects that the Nodaway County Cattlemen’s Association does, click here.

Shelby and Tannah are members of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and the American Hereford Association. The Nodaway County Cattlemen’s Association is an affiliate of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, a partner of Missouri Farmers Care.