Congratulations Shortdawg!

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Well-known member
Jan 20, 2007
LaRue, Ohio
Congrats to our own Shortdawg. His cattle operation is featured in the month's Shorthorn Journal! Look for an article about New River Cattle from GA.

Good job!

If anyone finds it on their website, let me know & I'll see if I can't post it.



Well-known member
Apr 13, 2007
Cottontown, Tennessee
  I second the congratulations!!!! Outstanding individual & family with some good cattle & a good breeding program. (clapping)


Well-known member
Jan 10, 2007
Congratulations, you and your family.  This is quite an honor for you!  (clapping)


Well-known member
Jan 30, 2007
Thanks a lot ! I really love the cattle business and the great people involved in it.


Well-known member
Jan 20, 2007
LaRue, Ohio
Studying For Success
New River Cattle is learning the keys to building a quality Shorthorn operation.

by Debbie Hoge

Try to find one word to describe Chad Sumner and it has to be student. Life-long learner might be a better term;
but one thing is certain, Sumner is putting his ‘education’ to use in building a top quality Shorthorn herd in the area of the country where Shorthorns are hard to find. Sumner operates New River Cattle, named for and located next to New River near Lenox, Ga.

“People will call and say they didn’t know anyone raised Shorthorns in this area,” comments Chad adding some
producers may have Shorthorns to show, but few are maintaining a herd.

Sumner’s education began early as he grew up in southern Georgia on Cranford Sumner Road, named after his
grandfather. After receiving an associates degree in agribusiness from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, he went on to obtain his Bachelors Degree from the University of Georgia at Athens in agricultural economics. Chad then returned to the farm to put his education to work. A fourth generation farmer, Sumner still farms with his father and is continuing his education as he develops his Shorthorn herd.

In 2002, Sumner began to learn about the Shorthorn breed and established the Shorthorn part of his operation by purchasing a cow/calf pair and a bull from Ken Bridges of Commerce, Ga. The bull, Bridges Irish Starr, was a Phildon Cunia Dividend grandson out of a Gill Starr Babe cow. The female was FHF Payback’s Lassie, sired by a 3W Payoff son out of a Hilltop Lassie cow.

To learn more about the breed and how to develop his program, Sumner began to call upon herds across the country. The list of herds he has visited in a few short years would challenge many long time breeders.

“I try to go to as many breeder’s places as I possibly can. I have visited or attended sales at Schrag Shorthorn Farms, Cates Farms, Cagwin Farms, WHR Shorthorns, Mantua Farms, Caney Valley Farms, Alden Farms, Gottschalk Farms, and Glover Cattle,” Chad says adding that closer to home he has relied on Mike Davis and Ken Bridges. “They have become very good friends and I talk with them on a regular basis.”

The people is what Sumner most readily learned about. “The one thing which really drew me to the Shorthorn
business above other breeds was the people,” Chad adds. “They all seemed so willing to help me, willing to give recommendations on breeding and help promote Shorthorns in my part of the world. Everyone was really helpful and that was really important to me.”

Sumner recommends to all new cattlemen to follow his tutelage and visit as many Shorthorn breeders as they can. “You learn a lot going through someone’s herd,” Chad states adding every herd he visited had good cattle. “For example, you go to Schrags in South Dakota or Bill Rasors in Texas and you are going to see consistent cattle that have been bred over many generations to be the right type and kind. You will not ride through the WHR herd and see a bad udder or anything that is not structurally sound. It takes years to get there.”

While preparing for such a future, Sumner is focusing his study on improving his current operation. New River
currently calves about 40 head of cows which really consists of two micro herds - half Shorthorn and half Angus.
Learning to meet his customers’ demands, Sumner began AI’ing all the Shorthorn cows to Shorthorn bulls and the
Angus cows to Angus bulls. Then, he uses Shorthorn bulls for clean-up in order to also produce some half blood

“Crossing Angus and Shorthorn really combines good breeding,” Chad explains noting this cross has been very popular with his buyers. “The Angus X Shorthorn cross make really good cattle and has been in very high demand.”

His Angus herd has come from Pine Ridge Angus, owned and operated by Sumner’s cousin who lives only 15 miles down the road. “They are the model of consistency as far as good Angus cattle,” adds Chad. “The Shorthorn cross really does work well on them.”

In order to build the same consistency and quality in his Shorthorn herd, Sumner has made a real commitment to
learning about and finding the top cow lines in the breed. “I don’t put myself in the same category as the ‘big guys’, but I am trying to learn. I’ve found, as any good breeder will tell you, that you can’t have good females without getting good cow lines. That’s just a fact,” Chad explains.

As he selectively culled his herd, Sumner tried to replace those females with higher quality cows. “I have members of a lot of different cow families. Some that will work both ways as far as the show ring and the pasture,” Chad comments. “They will spend most of their lives in the pasture or the donor pen. I have tried to select carefully and cull hard.”

The result has been an outstanding line-up of cows from a number of the breed’s top cow families, including AF
Playful Cait 116, AF Dream Girl 466, DJS Anndelle 50, Caney Valley Shadra C082, CF Rodeo Gold Rose 721X, CF
Dazzle Fool 8105 X, and SS Augusta Pride 5211. The early test results on his efforts have earned him excellent scores. SS Augusta Pride 5211 will be a future donor. She was named the Reserve Senior Heifer Calf Champion at the Georgia National Fair this past year. She is a WHR Sonny 8114 daughter out of SS Augusta Pride 5127. CF Dazzle Fool 8105 is the dam of Sumner’s newest herd sire, NR Denver. She is a Marellan Super Dazzler female out of HS Nobody’s Fool. Denver is sired by CF Trump.

“I am very much a student of bloodlines. You can’t ever bypass genetics,” Chad notes added genetics take a lot of guesswork out of the equation. “If you use quality genetics you will improve your herd.”

The importance of quality sire genetics can never be overlooked and Sumner has remembered to study this lesson also. His second herd sire was purchased at the 2004 Denver sale from Cagwin Farms. CCS Sonny 320L is a WHR Sonny 8114 son out of a Rodeo Drive X Gemstone female, SFF Fancy Drive. His appeal was wide spread. As an 80
pound birth weight, red, polled bull, Sonny 320L provided an excellent cross with his Angus herd, as well as producing quality Shorthorn females. He was recently sold to a Maine cattle operation because of the number of quality daughters he produced and have been retained in the herd.

“I try to go after the really good genetics as much as possible,” Chad explains. As proof, some of the breed’s top sires have influenced New River by siring quality daughters through natural service or artificial insemination and by flushing his donors to quality sires. Some of the bulls found when studying New River pedigrees include HD Bloodstone, CF Trump, WHR Sonny 8114, Dunbeacon Venture, HS Rodeo Drive 062WR, Marellan Super Dazzler. Sumner also recently purchased a semen interest in CF Primo.

Another lesson Sumner learned was the benefits of showing cattle, both for his marketing program and teaching his children. Having grown up showing pigs with his sister, Sumner readily understands the impact showing cattle can make. “Showing is a big thing for us, for our family and junior projects, and teaching children lessons,” Chad says. “Showing cattle helps you spend time with kids that you might not otherwise. It gives a lot of responsibility and structure to lives and is really a life lesson, or a lesson about life.”

“I believe our junior program is one of the best junior livestock programs in the nation,” Chad adds noting this will
be the first year his family will participate in the National Junior Shorthorn Show & Youth Conference. Chad and
his wife, Kim, have three children, Peyton-12, John-9; and Madison-4. This will be Peyton’s fourth year showing cattle - always with Shorthorn. As this is John’s first year showing, Junior Nationals was the second show of his career.
Madison should not be left out. “She loves the cattle, too. We go check on the cows every morning,” Chad smiles. “It’s a pretty neat deal. She rides on Daddy’s lap and we go check cows.”

Studying marketing lessons have also reinforced the importance of showing cattle. “People are interested. They see Shorthorns in the show ring and want to know more about them,” Chad explains. “Then they might see an ad and call wanting to know more.”

Sumner quickly points out nothing sells cattle better than success in the show ring and success period. “The big
breeders will have cattle in the major shows because they know if they win those shows people are going to come and visit their farm,” Chad adds.

While he is retaining the better females to bring back into the herd, Sumner has successfully sold calves to juniors for show projects and to producers as replacements. His buyers have been both purebred breeders and commercial producers and he has sold both females and bulls. Part of his marketing success can be linked to his ability to easily cull cattle that don’t fit his desired phenotype and quality. “I just sell them. As far as pedigree wise, it really doesn’t matter to me if the cow or calf is not going to be what I want,” Chad states.

Breeding his Angus cows to Shorthorn bulls has produced a product in great demand for New River. “This produces some excellent, beef quality, growth type animals that just make beef,” Chad comments. “That is the name of the game in the industry.”

CCS Sonny 320L has been instrumental in developing this market segment. “CCS Sonny is a very good weaning
and yearling weight bull. He turned out some great calves that brought top dollar on the feeder side,” Chad remarks. “That is the kicker. If you have a solid red bull and use him on solid black cows then you ought to get a black calf. The blacks just bring more as far as the feedlots are concerned.”

As Sumner has learned, commercial demands dictate that calves be born small and wean quickly. CCS Sonny has
met the challenge with his acceptable birth weights, also. His calves, including both his Shorthorn and Angus calves averaged 80-85 pounds. Sumner is quick to point out that producers need to look beyond EPDs when considering birth weights. “Commercial guys want calves to hit the ground running, but you need to look at the way a bull is made,” Chad explains. “A long, 90 pound calf will come easier than a shorter 80 pound calf.”

One of the biggest challenges Sumner is facing in marketing cattle is the lack of sales in his area. Although he has been consigning to the sales in the area, the closest is 300 miles away. Even with this obstacle, Sumner has sold cattle in the Kentucky Beef Expo, the Tennessee Agribition and the Blue Ridge Classic and has seen good success and acceptance. “I really use every marketing tool I can-sales, shows, ads in Shorthorn Country,” Chad notes. “I would like to see more sales in this area. I think there is beginning to be enough breeders down here to bring a sale to the area and I am hoping the Junior Nationals can be held in Perry, Ga., at the Georgia National. It is truly a state of the art facility!”

Learning to juggle the demands of a purebred cattle business with the real meat of the farming business has been a challenge. While the Sumners were able to attend this year’s Junior National, many times the major show events are held during prime farming times. The Sumners farm about 1,250 acres where they grow watermelon, tobacco, peanuts, cotton and corn and harvest pine timber. “We were just able to squeeze in Junior Nationals this year. On June 10th we started picking watermelons,” Chad says. “We’ve enter Louisville a couple of times, but have been unable to attend. Instead, we’ve been busy picking cotton.” It is a typical situation: if it rains cattlemen are gone to the show; otherwise, they have to be home doing the farming.

With any new venture there is always a learning curve and you are sure to be ‘schooled’ in the ways of industry, but Sumner has a strong faith to fall back on. “The main thing I want people to know about me is that I am a Christian,” Chad states. “That is who I am and it brings me into contact with people with whom I can make a difference in their lives, even beyond the cattle.” Sumner makes his point in his advertising also by placing a bible scripture verse at the bottom of every ad. The scripture, Eph 2:8-9, reads ‘For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. This is not from yourself, it is a gift from God, not of works.’

“I think this goes a long way with people wanting to deal with you. They know you are telling the truth and you
are going to deal with them in an ethical way and with integrity,” Chad explains adding it goes beyond the cattle.
“Call me if you need something. I am here.”

While Sumner’s apprenticeship in the Shorthorn business continues, one fact will remain unchallenged. “We are
true to the breed,” Chad states. “Nothing looks better than a good fitted Shorthorn walking into the ring. We may get beat by a black and we have shown other breeds along with our Shorthorns, but we will always have Shorthorn.”


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