Longhorn cattle 'dream' comes true for Huron County, Ont. farmer
Clarence Dekens gazes out fondly on his herd of longhorn cattle near Clinton.
“These are longhorns. They’ve been a dream of mine for many years. I have a passion for cattle, and years ago I seen a herd of longhorn cattle and I thought, they’re pretty intriguing. I’’d like to maybe own a few of them,” he says.
A few has grown to 70 cattle today at Dekens' family farm in Huron County, where he and his family also raise chickens.
But his pride and joy is his longhorn cattle herd, a breed synonymous with old Westerns and Texas, but few and far between in Southern Ontario.
“Just the uniqueness of the them. First of all the horns, they’re amazing. They come in all shapes and sizes. The longevity of the cattle. They’re known to calf up to 20 years, that’s very unique,” says Dekens.
Those horns, first bred as protection from predators on the open plains, and acting as a potential cooling agent from the scorching sun, are intriguing. A wow factor, if you will.
“There are cows in the States that are over 100 inches tip to tip. Our largest is 85 inches. Usually the first year, they’ll grown 35 to 40 inches, 60-65 in the second year, then five to 10 inches a year after that,” says Dekens.
While the horns can make for interesting wall decor, it’s the final product -- the beef -- that’s attractive as well. Known as the 'original' lean beef, longhorn steaks and burgers are flying out Dekens' farm freezers.
“Because it’s lean, you don’t have to worry about some of the fats that are in there and you can really enjoy it as part of a heart-healthy diet,” says Dekens' daughter, Michelle Hol, who lives nearby and handles the farm gate sales.
“You don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying a steak, because it’s so lean,” she says.
You can learn more about Dekens' longhorns here.
“They’re fun to look at, and they’re a real friendly cattle. We get people stopping on the road all the time to take a look. They’re just something you don’t see everyday,” Dekens adds.