Arrowquip CEO: Ranchers deserve better from manufacturers.
A Kentucky-based rancher is advocating for improved industry-wide safety awareness after a recent cattle chute malfunction left him with four stitches, a swollen black eye, and a broken nose. While at the same time, an industry leader is backing him up.
Josh Bailey, 45, has been ranching in Hopkinsville for 25 years. He was castrating four calves, which is typically a 15-minute job, but he ended up waiting in the emergency room instead. After castrating the first three calves without issue, the fourth wasn’t so accommodating.
“I go down to work my old Powder River chute, an economy model, I’ve had it for over 20 years. It was always sufficient for my needs. Nothing fancy. The chute has a big metal pipe as its backup bar. The animal can’t push backward, but the bar does pop up a bit,” said Bailey, who noted his typical herd size is around 20 to 25 head, and he backgrounds upward of 75 additional calves per year.
“When I bent over, the calf kicked the bar up, and the metal pipe hit me dead across the face. It broke my nose, gave me four stitches in my chin, and a horribly swollen black eye. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse,” he said, adding he’s doing much better, now on route to a full recovery.
After his recent experience and injury, Bailey said the ranching industry needs more awareness and discussions about safety, something he admitted overlooking throughout the years.
Though Bailey’s full-time occupation is off farm, his passion is farming. His grandparents bought the family farm in 1949, and his kids are the fourth generation to live there. As his children become involved and with safety now as a top priority, Bailey said he’s upgrading his cattle chute to an Arrowquip Q-Catch 74.
“I never felt like I could justify the money to get one, but now after a trip to the ER, it’s the time to look at an Arrowquip chute, especially with my kids helping out,” said Bailey, adding he had seen the equipment at the National Farm Machinery Show several times before, and always wanted one.
“I never used to think about safety, but when these things happen at 45 years old, you don’t recover the same way you did when you were 20. It’s easier to get hurt. I look back at what happened, and I’m lucky to have all my teeth, my eyeballs, etc. It could have been so much worse,” he said.
Arrowquip, a trailblazing company in the cattle handling equipment manufacturing sector, is on a mission, led by its CEO Mark Firth, to challenge the status quo and advocate for ranchers across North America.
The company is focused on listening to ranchers and the issues they face by working to innovate and improve safety and efficiency on-ranch and creating a transformative movement by inspiring the next generation of rancher.
“Josh isn’t the only example of on-ranch injuries we hear about, it’s happening too often. It’s serious. Ranchers work around dangerous animals that can be unpredictable. Working cattle should be low stress and safe for the animals, but we must keep the rancher safe as priority one. We’ll always be vigilant when it comes to safety and be blunt with our competition about it. The competition needs to improve and become safer,” said Firth, noting Arrowquip’s brand promise: If a rancher is injured using an Arrowquip chute, it’s a full refund and the rancher keeps the equipment.
“It seems like businesses forget that the customer is their only hope for survival. As you get bigger, you should care about that more, and it riles me up that the competition doesn’t care. They can say they’re great and they care — I’m talking about Priefert, Tarter, Powder River, Pearson, Silencer, etc. — but if you want to be more profitable, you need to care about your customer. So many ranchers are fed up with these products and the lack of customer service,” he said.
With the ranching industry experiencing rapid growth, and aging ranchers seeking to secure their legacies, the demand for advanced equipment has never been higher, or more critical, according to Firth. Ranchers should not have to compromise on their equipment’s safety, efficiency, or reliability.
“I’m talking about Priefert, Tarter, Powder River, Pearson, Silencer, etc. … It riles me up that they don’t care [about safety]. You need to care about your customer.” — Mark Firth, Arrowquip CEO
Firth continues to build on his family’s legacy, keeping Arrowquip’s mission clear: to make ranching safer, easier, and more accessible for the next generation, with the company at the forefront of a lifestyle movement that embraces the true spirit of ranching.
“The way we look at innovation is different than what North America is used to. When everyone was using self catch and we brought in the manual catch, we had people telling us it would never work, our prototypes were terrible, etc., but it built the resilience for our internal team. It’s that spirit that continues to drive our innovation and brings new ideas,” said Firth, noting he suspects announcements to be coming sometime into the fall.
“Ranchers don’t get a lot of help, and they need to be able to work by themselves, or with their families and loved ones, and do it safely. That’s who we think about, that family on the ranch. It’s the kind of thing that keeps us up at night, knowing there is unsafe equipment being used somewhere out there,” he said.
“We have big things coming.”
For more information or contact information, visit www.arrowquip.com.
This article was published on behalf of Arrowquip.