From Briefs To Beef: Lawyer Is At Home On The Range

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When he's not defending his clients in court or preparing briefs at his Payson law office, attorney Art Lloyd can be found at home on the range of his 1,000 acre range in Lakeview, Ore.

"Lakeview is a lot like Payson was about 30 years ago," he said, "with one exception: 50 percent of the land there is privately owned; three percent of the land in Payson is privately owned. You can buy really good farmland there for about $1,000 an acre."

And it's in Oregon that Lloyd has been pursuing a lifestyle he's been after since he was a child.

"I've been interested in cattle since I was a little boy," Lloyd said. "I grew up in Mesa, so I didn't have much of an opportunity, but I did join (Future Farmers of America)."

As part of the FFA program, Lloyd said he rented five acres of land at the corner of Mesa Drive and Southern Avenue.

"That was my project for FFA, and that's where I raised my calves," he said. "But early on, I learned that unless you have a lot of money, or inherit a ranch, you can't make any money in the cattle industry."

So, instead of becoming a cattleman, Lloyd turned his attention to the legal system, and has been practicing law for the past 16 years. As an attorney, Lloyd was able to save up enough money to buy his own ranch, the Turtle Rock in Payson, which he operated for years. That operation, however, he said was a joke.

"There are so many obstacles here," he said. "The Forest Service has done so much to thwart the cattlemen of Arizona.

"Two or three years ago, I sold my ranch to Tex and Al Earnhardt," he said, and used that money to buy the ranch in Oregon.

"I have 1,000 acres up there, and it's all irrigated," said Lloyd, who tries to get up to the Pacific Northwest at least six times a year.

"That's where I relax," he said. "I do almost all of the work myself. It's good, hard physical work, and it's good mental therapy."

Along with the physical workings of the ranch, there's also a biological aspect with which Lloyd has had to familiarize himself.

"My manager is an expert in genetics, and I've even take an artificial insemination course," he said. "We also have a veterinarian up there who is an embryologist."

Lloyd said by using artificial insemination, his team can collect and freeze a bull's semen. "A bull nowadays can have 10,000 calves," he said.

Now, Lloyd said, the industry has started the same practice with cows, "flushing" the animal of its ovaries and freezing them as well.

"There have been cases of using them up to 15 years later," he said. "Fifteen years later, you can put them into a recipient cow, and they're getting about 50 percent conception rate."

Last year, he said, his crew transplanted 12 embryos, and got 11 calves from the procedure.

"We raise primarily red Angus, but we also have some black," he said. "The American cattleman really can't compete with the Mexicans or the Argentinians, cost-wise. Their beef is used mainly for hamburger.

"Where we can compete, though, is on tenderness," he said. "The beef we produce makes damn good steaks. In order for it to taste good, you have to get that marbling. Angus cattle has superior marbling."

Whether Lloyd plans to trade in his business suits for cowboy boots remains to be seen, he said.

"We don't know yet if we're going to retire to Oregon," he said. "And I'm not sure I want to be a cattleman full time. For now, it's just a nice getaway, and a good place to spend time with my family."

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