Don Quincey Chiefland, Florida – Quincey Cattle Company
Don Quincey’s love of the land and raising quality cattle goes back to when his father started a cow-calf operation years ago in Chiefland, Florida. In 1992 Don founded his own cow-calf ranch, Quincey Cattle Company. Then in 2013, Don started a small scale feed yard at his ranch. It has grown rapidly over the past three years far exceeding his expectations and proving the finishing cattle in Florida is very viable.
Don works his ranch with his partner, Donna, and a great team of cowboys and workers who have been with him for years. Donna says that ranching and cattle are Don’s passion. “He’s a visionary and a risk taker”, she adds. In fact, it’s these qualities that have enabled FCR to produce beef, born and raised in Florida. Without Don and a few other like him taking the risk of starting a feed operation here in Florida, cow/calf operations would have to send their cattle out west for finishing. FCR, and our efforts toward making Florida more sustainable would not exist.
The well-being of the cattle in their care is a priority at Quincey Cattle Company. All preconditioning cattle are kept on grass pastures, not dirt lots. Don believes this is much better for them, and it serves a dual purpose. “It allows us to keep the land in its natural condition safeguarding the habitats of many smaller animals who call our pastures home.”
What cattle eat is very important to their health and well-being. “We keep a nutritionist on call to formulate the best possible feed for the particular needs of each group of cattle arriving on our ranch”, says Don. In addition, they mix their own feed and use the same feed trucks, wagons, and drivers so that there is a level of consistency and familiarity for their cattle. Predictability keeps the cattle calmer and less stressed.
Don keeps a veterinarian on staff to address cattle health issues. “We can deal with any health situation that arises immediately. Then instruct the cowboys or health riders as we call them, on the most effective protocol to solve the problem”.
Quincey Cattle Company is Beef Quality Assurance Certified, meaning that Don and his team follow the Cattle Industry’s “Guidelines for the Care and Handling of Cattle” based on the “Producer Code for Cattle Care”. These Guidelines address best management practices for feeding and nutrition, disease prevention practices and health care, identification, shelter and housing, cattle handling, transportation, and anything else concerning cattle’s wellbeing.
When it comes to the environment, Don’s passion is for water conservation. Don understands the importance of balancing the demand for food supply with the demands of a growing population. He’s served on the Suwannee River Water Management District Board for almost a decade. His work with the District has helped him learn new ways to conserve water on his ranch. “Water conservation is natural to a rancher. We know how important it is to a sustainable Florida and to keeping ranching viable.” Quincey Cattle Company’s current irrigation uses 30% less water than the old high-pressure irrigation systems, and 50% less water than the traditional hard hoses.
When asked what his favorite thing about ranching is, Don said, “Most importantly working the beautiful country while tending to the animals, and the relationship formed with some of the finest cattlemen around the country. But also, it’s the little things, like that magical moment cattle are moved to a new field, heads down, grazing on fresh pasture. Or, the sound of a meadowlark on the fence post…the smell of fresh cut hay.”
Don’s personal creed – “A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are.”