From one heifer to a historic herd, Lincoln man has made cattle

October 14, 2003|EMILY BURTON

HUSTONVILLE - In more than 70 years in the cattle business, J.L. Hoskins has seen plenty of blue ribbons, several Black Revolutions and even a Queen.

In fact, Hoskins' award-winning Angus bulls and heifers, with names like Queen Ruth, have earned acclaim in cattle shows around the country.

With Hoskins now nearing retirement, his farm has been passed to the third generation of cattlemen in the family, its lengthy record of existence and success being recognized this year by the American Angus Association.

Hoskins bought his first Angus heifer for $8 at the age of 9. In 1933, he bred his heifer to a bull from neighboring Lynnwood Farms and was the proud owner of another calf at the age of 10.


As he stood for a picture back then with his newest addition to his growing herd, his cap low over his eyes, he began a way of life that would be passed down through three generations.

Seventy years later, he was honored this summer by the American Angus Association for having a historic Angus herd, one in existence for more than 50 years.

His herd also has been recognized by the Kentucky Angus Association.

Though he is approaching 80 years old, Hoskins still feeds and checks on the herd, riding across the fields in his truck.

He has yet to give up working with the herds he has loved to raise for so long.

"Cattle has been his life," said his daughter, Donna Coffey.

His wife, Evelyn, said he raised and showed cattle as a "pleasure, money-making project."

"We've made more money with cattle than with anything else," she added. "We'd have a small room full of trophies and silver if we had them (our awards) all out."

Hoskins attributes his business success to his love of the cattleman's life.

"I guess it's loving cattle and working every day," he said.

His farm is a culmination of not only dedication to the animals, but an important family heritage. The cattle business is in the Hoskins family genes.

His father, William Hoskins, raised grade cows, many of them Angus. Evelyn Hoskins' grandparents raised registered Angus. Their American Angus Association certificate was transferred to Hoskins in 1950, opening the door for his business.

He and his wife, now married for almost 58 years, bought land in 1955 and started Branch View Angus.

His daughters also got into the family business, showing cattle around the country in state, national and even international shows.

Now his sons-in-law and grandsons help with the farm.

Hoskins' daughters said working with the cattle as children, side-by-side with their dad, provided childhood memories many modern families don't make.

"It was family time, which people don't have today," said Coffey. "We would work with the cattle (for shows), feeding them, washing them."

"We use to take eight to 10 head to the shows and sales," said Hoskins.

Mrs. Hoskins said the 27 or so shows the family attended each year replaced summer vacations, but her husband loved each one.

"I don't know that there was a single show where he didn't know someone," she said.

"Daddy loved to visit," Coffey agreed.

Hoskins was one of the first in the state to use artificial insemination and to give his herd calfhood vaccinations, a vaccination that is now widely used.

Always a good businessman, Hoskins still prides himself on his honesty with customers.

When someone buys a cow from him, they know exactly what they are getting, so animals are seldom returned.

"I've never lost $5 on an animal, I don't reckon," he said.

"He's always backed his product," said his daughter, Rita Noe.

Now, after decades of early morning feedings and summer fairs, Hoskins watches younger generations take over the family business, but he remains an intrical part of the farm.

Both he and his wife will keep up with the cattle industry as long as they can.

"Hopefully, as long as he lives," said Evelyn. "That's his life, that's his total life. And it's always been my life."

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