Wednesday, Jan. 8
A Warrenton farmer recently had the highest selling bull at the Virginia Beef and Cattle Improvement Association Bull Sale in Culpeper.
Dennis Pearson, owner and operator of Soldiers’ Hill Angus Farm and an agriculture teacher at Fauquier High School, sold the top-selling bull at the VBCIA sale for $5,400. Pearson’s bull sold for $800 more than the second highest selling bull. Another bull of Pearson’s tied for second highest selling at $4,600.
“We’re utilizing the best genetics that the Angus breed has to offer. That’s why we feel our cattle are popular and demand a good price,” said Pearson. “The pedigrees are stacked with multiple generations of the Angus breed’s best.”
Pearson had a total of six bulls for sale at the VBCIA sale. His bulls averaged $3,680, well over the total average of the sale’s 55 lots at $2,800. Pearson’s highest selling bull was ranked second in the sale index by the VBCIA prior to the sale, and yet it beat out the highest ranked for first at the actual sale.
“He was second in the rank, but the highest selling. So yeah, that’s a good feeling,” said Pearson.
According to Pearson, the bull was purchased in a partnership between two men in Newport, Va. One farmer will use the bull for spring breeding and one will use the bull for fall breeding.
Pearson has participated in the VBCIA sale for over 20 years and won the highest seller once before in the early 90s. He has had the top breeder group (the average of the whole consignment group) a total of four times.
Pearson founded Soldiers’ Hill Angus farm in 1990. The farm runs about 120 heads of cattle for the winter and mostly operates on private treaty sales. Pearson sells bulls for breeding stock, replacement heifers, Angus carcass beef for consumption, firewood and hay. Pearson runs his breeding program with artificial insemination, breeding in the fall and the spring.
“It’s not a hobby, it’s a second income. It takes all the evenings and weekends that I have, but we enjoy it,” said Pearson.
Pearson worked for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nearly 30 years before he retired and establish Soldiers’ Hill. He now runs the farm on weekends and evenings with the help of his daughter, Rebecca Pearson.
Rebecca Pearson was involved with 4H clubs and showed cattle when through out her childhood. She is currently a student at Virginia Tech and is the Soldiers’ Hill social media manager. She updates the farm’s popular Facebook page with sale updates, photos, and fun tidbits about the family and the farm.
Rebecca Pearson said that one way in which the farm gains recognition is from its unique brands on its cattle.
“As far as recognition of the farm, the bulls that we sell all have branded cannons on them,” said Rebecca Pearson. “You can identify that specific animal with our farm, because of that brand.”
The Pearsons now use a freeze branding technique that kills the color pigment of the animal’s hair follicles, causing the hair to grow back white. This creates a bright, white cannon shape on the Angus cattles’ black bodies that is unique and stands out quite a bit.
Pearson plans on continuing his successful breeding program in the same direction. He will enter next year’s VBCIA’s bull sale and hopes for more of the same success he experienced this year.
Dennis Pearson with his cattle. Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger