Midwest Beef Cattle Consultants has been in business since 1988, but the foundation started in 1967 when my parents bought our first cows. We were swine producers and had just bought a new, larger farm in 1967. The farm had some "rough ground" so Dad decided that we needed some cattle to graze the land that was not suitable to be farmed. We went into a partnership with some friends that had about 60 Angus cows and they brought 20 cows to our farm that fall.
We knew almost nothing about cattle. We left the bull in all year long and subsequently got calves from January until December. The calves born in the dead of winter and the heat of summer did not do very well. When our veterinarian came out to process our calves, he did all the routine veterinary work, but he also gave advice on how to improve our herd. As the years went by he became our primary source of information for herd improvement.
While at the farm one day, I probed him for information on the cause, treatment and prevention of calf scours. He looked at me and said "what are you going to study in college?" I really wasn't sure. I knew I liked the cattle and I enjoyed math and science. He then said, "You always ask good questions. You'd make a good veterinarian. Call me so you can ride along for a while and see if you like it."
Well, as they say, the rest is history. I continued to improve our herd via advice from our veterinarian and other trusted sources, and I saw first hand what was possible. I'm sure our herd would have been rated a "D" herd when we started in 1967, but by 1982 when we sold out, it was an "A+" herd.
In 1983 I graduated from veterinary school at Purdue and joined a primarily food animal practice in DeWitt, Iowa. In 1988 I started the Total Beef Herd Health Program and Midwest Beef Cattle Consultants. I knew in 1974 that if I was going to become a veterinarian, I wanted to be on the "asset" side of the ledger of my producers by helping to prevent problems and improve herd production and profitability.
In 1998 I left a veterinary practice that I loved to come back to Purdue to teach. I take our fourth year veterinary students and our veterinary technician students out on farm calls and teach beef production medicine and herd health. It is a wonderful career with great rewards. I am also the state coordinator of the Indiana Beef Integrated Resource Management (IRM) program where we teach veterinary students about consulting and assist the owners in improving herd profitability.
I am married to Denise (33 years in 2013) and we have two sons. Matthew is 29 and Steven is 25. We now have four Purdue grads in the family. Denise from management school, Matthew with a nutrition science degree and Steven in engineering. I graduated in Animal Science and Veterinary School from Purdue.
Matthew is now Dr. Matthew Hilton as he graduated from AT Still University/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine with his D.O. degee in May of 2011. He is currently chief resident in Family Medicine at Metro Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Matthew married Laura DeLeon on June 1, 2013 and Laura is also a Purdue grad in engineering. She is an IT specialist at Herman Miller Furniture company.
Steven is a fourth year medical student at AT Still. Steven married Anna Heim on July 10, 2011. Anna graduated in art education from Moravian College in Pennsylvania where she was also Division III National Champion in pole vault. Anna is an art teacher at a Christian School in Lititz, PA where they live.
Our biggest news as a family is that Matthew and Laura are expecting a baby in July of 2014. Our first grandchild - we can hardly wait.