MBCC History with
W. Mark Hilton, DVM
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 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. We 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 took the fourth year veterinary students and our veterinary technician students out on farm calls and taught beef production medicine and herd health. It was a wonderful job with great rewards. I was also the state coordinator of the Indiana Beef Integrated Resource Management (IRM) program where we taught veterinary students about consulting and assisting the owners in improving herd health and profitability.
In 2016 I started a new career as a technical services veterinarian with Elanco Animal Health. In this role I get to work with veterinarians and beef producers across the US in helping them reach their goals with herd health.
Denise and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary this past August and we have two married sons, three grandsons and four granddaughters. If you want to see pictures of the grandchildren, please let me know. I have plenty!
W. Mark Hilton, DVM