The Gaberts bought their first registered black-hided animal in 1968 ‘when Angus were the low people’ in the barns
EDMONTON — Breeding purebred cattle is a 50 year tradition for Rick and Sharon Gabert, owners of Crooked Creek Angus.
The family from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., was recognized at Farmfair International for their long-term dedication to the Angus breed and their continuous support of the Edmonton show for the last 45 years.
The Gabert family raised registered Black Angus cattle before it was fashionable.
“When we came into the barns, the Angus were the low people,” said Sharon.
Now almost all the breeds show black-hided cattle.
“Now you can’t tell one breed from another,” she said.
They bought their first registered animal in 1968, and built the herd up to 200 to 300 cows.
Five generations have been involved, and they hung onto the cattle through calamitous weather, poor prices and the devastating market collapse caused by the discovery of BSE in Canada in 2003.
“BSE was the worst, and we had to cut back the herd,” Sharon said.
They persisted and were early adopters of artificial insemination, expected progeny differences statistics and DNA collection. DNA is collected from all females in the herd, and they raise cattle for high docility.
“We were AI’ing before AI was cool,” Sharon said.
Rick took a course in 1976 and managed their own females as well as other customers because he had considerable success with high conception rates.
Now their daughters are working with them, although they all have busy off-farm lives. Nicole is a full-time mother with three children, Valentina is an agronomist and Mathilda works in environmental remediation dealing with orphan wells.
The daughters were all involved in 4-H until they were 21. They book vacation for Farmfair because they have taken over the showing and select from a herd of about 50 cows. It is a way to promote the herd and sell genetics.
“This is our yearly show for 45 years. We are waiting for our nephews to start,” said Mathilda.
The family also grows wheat, barley and canola, so calving is scheduled around other farm work.
Calving starts in mid-January until March and starts again in mid-March.
“In the middle of March there is always a snowstorm and we try to avoid that,” said Valentina.
“We can’t push calving into May because that is pushing into seeding.”
They also host a production sale during the week before Christmas, offering bulls and females for sale.