Ball outlines his current position as the Livestock Manager at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum. He discusses the active breeding program and the plans for the future livestock program.
Parade of Breeds
One of the attractions during special events is the Parade of Breeds. Each breed is brought into the round pen and Ball introduces the breed to the visitors sitting in the bleachers. This Hereford is just one of Ball's favorite animals to show.
Tape 1, Side A
Ball comes from a family of farmers and ranchers. His paternal grandparents farmed, had an ice business, raised pigs, and ran a trucking business. His maternal grandparents were from a ranching family. His maternal grandfather, Morris Kennedy, was one of the best calf ropers in the country during the 1940s.
His father did not want to be involved in agriculture, choosing instead to become an architect. Ball was three years old when he came to Las Cruces. He attended New Mexico State University and earned a degree in Animal Science. He began working at the NMSU research facility on the Jornada and worked there for five years. By the time he was twenty-five years old he was managing the Cross D Ranches in Piņon and Mayhill. In 1986 he moved back to Las Cruces, bought a parcel of land, and began training horses. While encouraged to go into the horse business by Jim Sullens, whom he met at the Cross D, Ball says his goal was always to raise cattle.
Ball started working at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum in 1998. In those early days the Museum's livestock herd consisted of approximately twenty Longhorns, some sheep, and the Dairy Barn. He describes the Museum's breeding program, which he is proud of, and says that "we raise some of the best Corriente cattle around."
Animals are rotated from one pen to another at different times of the year depending on the animal's individual needs, such as calving or illness, or due to the personality quirks and conflicts with other animals. The Museum's livestock are fed locally grown, high-quality alfalfa and may be given supplemental feed in the form of grains, minerals or vitamins depending on the needs of the animals.
Ball states that there is not as many people involved in agriculture as there was in the past, and agrees that what we do here at the Museum to educate is very important. Our food just doesn't show up, he says, "somebody's raisin' it, or growin' it to get it there."
The Museum currently has seven breeds of cattle: Longhorn, Angus, Brangus, Hereford, Corriente, Charolais, and Brahman. Each of the breeds is discussed. In addition to the cattle there are Churro sheep, a goat, and a burro.
The future plans for the livestock program, the new perimeter fencing, including the coyote fencing along Dripping Springs Road, and the future of the cattle industry in New Mexico are discussed.