Cattleman Recognized – By Lura Roti

Each year the American Maine-Anjou Association recognizes two producers for their efforts to promote and improve the breed. This year we recognize Dennis Garwood, Green Valley Cattle Co., as the Maine Man and Everett Forkner, Truline Maines, as the Maine Breeder of the year.

“When making a selection for each of these awards, the committee looks for operations that make a difference,” says John Boddicker, executive vice president of the AMAA. Regardless of their size and scale of operation – both Green Valley and Truline’s breeding programs are advancing the Maine-Anjou breed within the beef industry. The operations are well respected which is evidenced by the herd prefix presence in many pedigrees across the country.”

Top Performing Females

Drive Our Breeding Program– Everett Forkner, Breeder of the Year

Everett Forkner focuses his Maine-Anjou breeding program on high performing females – a selection tool he developed during his more than 40 years in the purebred hog business.  “I discovered through my years of experience in the pig business that the female is the most important part of the pedigree. Females are the key to our whole breeding program,” says Forkner, 70, who operates Truline Maines with his wife, Ruby, and sons Mike and Steve.

Forkner’s son, Steve, oversees the 500-sow purebred nucleus purebred swine herd that Forkner started more than 40 years ago when he returned to his family’s farm and livestock operation in Richards, Mo., after college. His other son, Mike, operates the 2,000 acre row crop operation.

After achieving national and international recognition in the hog business, in 1989 Forkner made the decision to diversify and re-enter the purebred cattle business.  “I started in the cattle business as a 4-H member showing Polled Hereford cattle. I always had a love for the cattle business,” says Forkner, who opted to raise Maine-Anjou his second time around.

“The breed has a tremendous amount of potential for the commercial industry.”  He says the breed’s disposition and performance will improve the profitability of most commercial herds. However, he feels that many commercial cattlemen only see the breed’s show qualities.  “The reputation that the breed has right now is more show ring orientated than commercial,” he says. “In our operation, we are trying to make the cattle commercially orientated first and show ring acceptable second.”  As a breed we need more purebred Maine-Anjou breeders dedicated to improving the purebred Maine-Anjou base to better serve the needs of the commercial cattle industry. 

He says focusing on female performance records is the best way to accomplish this.  “Breeding better livestock must incorporate both the art and the science of selection. In our operation we know the top performance females at all times – they are the ones that we line breed and generate pedigrees off of,” he says. “Bottom line, a good bull from a great cow will breed much better than a great bull from an average cow.” 

Before he selects a bull or female, he first reviews what he refers to as the “economic traits” of its mother – birth weight, weaning weight, milk production, fleshing ease, average daily gain and feedlot performance.  “The commercial man is more interested in what the numbers say and the performance results they receive than how they look,” he says. 

From its beginnings Truline has selected calving ease as one of the primary traits they have worked to develop. Their efforts paid off in TLM Bouncer, the breed’s leading calving ease bull.  Twenty years in the Maine-Anjou business, Forkner won’t be retiring anytime soon.

“I love breeding livestock. The joy comes from the anticipation for the next generation – the next calf crop coming from a new female and new bull that you just put back,” Forkner says.

Everett Forkner Family
9282 E. Indian Line Rd. • Richards, MO 64778
Phone 417-484-3306 • Toll Free 1-877-489-0570
Fax 417-484-3317 • Email: [email protected]
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