Neither of us ever dreamed this was possible, but did we ever have a great show out at the National Western this year. See more at our Denver Show and Sale Page.
LEA-White Farms is located on 300+ rolling acres in Charlotte Michigan. We have had registered Highland cattle since 1983. Except for the few exceptional cattle that we bring in from other breeders, our stock are born and raised on our farm. We produce our own feed, so we know exactly what and when our cows have been fed. We raise our animals humanely and believe we have an obligation to take good care of our charges. While we expect our cattle to work for us, we also expect to provide the very best care for them that we physically and economically can. For their part, our cows have taken good care of us, providing us with food on the table, an income, and the pleasure of meeting so many new friends with an interest in this historic breed.
We have a lot of different and exciting things on this website. There is an extensive collection of cattle health related articles, most of them previously printed in the quarterly magazine of the American Highland Cattle Association, and written by Pat White, DVM, the "White" in LEA-White Farms.
We have a large herd, and offer some truly outstanding animals for sale. We also have semen available from 7 outstanding Highland bulls from totally different bloodlines.
We also offer for sale custom built hay feeders that are heavy duty and work for horned cattle
The farm photographs are all original and taken by Pat, unless otherwise noted. Show and sale photos are either taken by friends, official photographers or unofficial photographers, and used with permission.
The "us" in LEA-White Farms is Larry E. Alber (thus the "LEA" ) and Patricia A. White. We have lived on our farm in Charlotte, Michigan, since 1977, with our first Highland cattle purchased in 1983. We started out with 2 heifer calves, and it doesn't seem like we have looked back since. Larry's love has always been in farming, although not necessarily in raising stock. The addition of livestock to the farm was basically Pat's doing. We started first with a collection of horses that rarely got ridden, and decided to replace most of those with something that we considered a tad more practical. Highland cattle were a natural addition. They added beauty, practicality, and were so unusual that they attracted a great deal of attention. These assets hold true today.
What sets us apart from others selling Highland cattle?
29 years of experience raising cattle is a good start, but we have 29 years of experience raising registered Highland cattle. We joined the American Highland Cattle Association when we bought our first 2 heifers in 1983, and have been active members ever since. Pat and Larry have both served as members of the Board of Directors, and Pat writes articles for the quarterly magazine, The Bagpipe, virtually every issue; usually related to Highland cattle health, but occasionally opinion pieces as well. We have been members of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy since about the same time, (we joined when it was called The American Minor Breeds Conservancy) and we (or should I say, one of our animals) participated in the first Rare Breed displays hosted by The ALBC at the St. Joseph County Grange Fair about 1987 or 1988. We are also members of the Canadian Highland Cattle Society and participate in as many of their activities as our schedule allows, which means we might get to the AGM every other year or so.
While Larry has been retired from his “day” job since 1997, he went from being a full-time employed worker with a farm to being a full time farmer. We have always worked the farm ourselves; the only help being occasional students to help with haying or when I need help showing the cattle. We grow our hay, we cut and bale our hay, and we feed our hay. We are both intimately involved with the day to day care of the cattle. Pat’s love is the cattle, which is understandable with her veterinary background, and Larry’s love is the land, as a retired environmental liaison for the Michigan Department of Transportation.
With that kind of history, we are pretty good library of information on farming and husbandry of Highland cattle. We both do everything in our power to educate buyers about necessary care for the cattle, and the farming techniques to aid in that goal. We are also true “breeders” of cattle. The definition of “breeder” is paramount, and Wikipedia summed it up this way “ a breeder is a person who practices the vocation of mating carefully selected specimens of the same breed to reproduce specific, consistently replicable qualities and characteristics. This might be as a farmer or a hobbyist, and can be practiced on a large or small scale, for food, fun, or profit.” This is where LEA-White Farms differs from many keepers and sellers of Highland cattle. We are certainly in this as a business, and we do profit from the sale of our cattle, but paramount to the operation is the “careful selection of breeding stock” and subsequent registration of those animals with the American Highland Cattle Association (or other Highland breed registry). If the animals are not registered, and those papers are not transferred to a new owner, that animal is effectively lost to the breed gene pool; it is no more than a grade or commercial beef animal. Its lineage is lost, its link to the past is lost and in most cases, cannot be reestablished. Such Highland owners then become little more than animal collectors, rather than conservators of a unique and rare breed.
Our goal has always been to produce top quality brood cows that will go on to produce outstanding calves for their owners. With that in mind we have chosen our bulls with care, aiming to improve those traits that will contribute to the value of their daughters working in the herd. We look at feet and legs, udder conformation, disposition and general appearance. Despite a desire to judge our cattle strictly on performance, the natural beauty of the Highland breed was something that attracted us to them in the first place. As a result, we do place considerable value of the appearance of the animal. There is no bovine that is more dramatic than an outstanding specimen of this particular breed. This is a very important aspect of the breed's desirability and maintaining those characteristics that contribute to this beauty is an important part of our breeding program.
Larry is the farm manager and does a superb job of putting up high quality forage in adequate amounts to feed our expanded cattle operation. He also is very interested in conservation of natural resources and has overseen the development of several wetlands on our properties. Pat is the stockman and veterinarian, responsible for the herd health program, breeding choices and sales of breeding stock.
We attend several shows with our cattle; particularly those in our general area. We also have entered cattle in the National Western Stock Show in Denver every year since 1990. We do not have, however, a "show string" of cattle. Any animals entered in any show are pulled from the herd with enough time to perform any necessary health requirements, but other than that, our show cows receive no special treatment. They are not fed special for the show ring, but rather are an excellent representation of the cattle that are working in our breeding herd. What you see is what you get, without a lot of fat covering up the flaws. We have done well in the show ring, but it is the repeat sales of quality breeding stock that make us most proud.
Our cattle are maintained on pasture or forage produced and harvested on the farm. The main cow herd receives only forage and minerals. The weanling calves born in the spring receive token amounts of corn mixed with molasses over their first winter, and this is in quantities only enough to balance their diet. Our cattle are never given feed antibiotics, or any sort of hormone implants intended to increase growth.