CALF’S Featured Lady- Cheryl Christian

By Patti Wilson  Contributing Editor

Cheryl Christian is a veritable encyclopedia of everything cattle feeding, having spent her entire life in the business.

Christian grew up on a northwest Kansas farm, where her family raised cattle and dryland crops. Her 4-H career spanned a wide variety of interests, from livestock to home economics to the creative nature of photography.

Cheryl was off to college as a young adult, with plans to become an elementary math teacher, her chosen destiny. She attended three different colleges while acquiring her degree: Colby, Fort Hayes State and Oklahoma Panhandle State. Being independent and responsible, she worked her way through school and did it in an area rich with feedlots. Thus began a journey that has turned into a lifelong career.

The first job came at a southwest Kansas yard as office personnel. She was employed pre-computer, kept records and sent invoices by hand. She recalled that the cards cowboys used to document treatment chuteside were not always squeaky clean. When they arrived in the office they prompted some previously unknown allergic reactions.

She later took on the task of feedlot cowboy for a five-year span, riding pens, but mostly processing cattle. Christian even became proficient at running an ultrasound machine.
Cheryl Christan never did teach math. “I ended up in feedyards and that’s where I stayed,” she declared. She has, however, put all her math skills to work every day: from entering A/P invoices, to figuring scale tickets, billing invoices and eventually to the feed yard financials.

Brookover Feedyard, Garden City, Kan., has been Cheryl’s place of employment since 1999. Although working outside was great, she eventually needed a change and went back to the office 25 years ago. Occasionally, she gets to go out and count cattle off the incoming trucks and helps ship if needed. Once again, putting those math skills to work.

She’s married to Chris, a semi-retired pen rider for Brookover. They share four grown children: Corie, Cassidy, Clinton and Coy. Coy, by the way, also puts in time as a pen rider at Brookover.
She has spent considerable time at rodeos, where three of the kids have competed. Cassidy in timed events and the boys in rough stock. Cheryl’s function is to video these rides, a task she says, “Can get her into lots of trouble if not done properly,” according to the kids. Cheryl and Chris also enjoy going and watching the grandkids play ball whenever they can.

A future goal is one day being able to retire. She and Chris enjoy visiting the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, where they hope to retire.

Christian has trained many office personnel for feedyards, which she enjoys. “That’s where my teaching comes in well,” she says. Indeed, she was training a new employee at Brookover upon my first phone call to her. I would say a teacher has made full circle.