Leading Ladies of Ag: Barb Ohlrichs

“Agriculture isn’t for everyone, but everyone should respect it,” said Barb Ohlrichs of Norfolk, Nebraska.

While attending Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, Ohlrichs was quick to realize her passion was to raise purebred cattle.

After meeting her husband, Wayne, at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, they moved to Norfolk in 1994 to start their registered cattle operation. Now they raise Chianina, Simmental, Maine-Anjou and Angus cattle.

They take pride in exhibiting and selling seedstock cattle across the country where they have a niche market selling show cattle to junior exhibitors across the nation.

For the last 25 years, they have worked hard to build a reputation for quality cattle that thrive in various environments.

“It’s a natural thing,” Ohlrichs said. “Do whatever you are good at and follow your heart. It’s what I chose to do; it’s what I like to do and what I want to do.”

Sunset at Barb Ohlrichs' farm

Even though Ohlrichs enjoys her time on their farm, she joked that the cows dictate her schedule.

“In the winter, during the day we spend most of our time feeding the cows with our Vermeer BP8000 bale processor and getting our bulls ready for our sale,” she said. “At night, Wayne and I alternate calving checks, which we do about every two hours. We usually don’t get off our farm for much besides cattle shows.”

Although Norfolk has been somewhat dry the past eight to nine years, the summer months are used to make hay for the Ohlrichs’ cows.

“Our hay season usually starts around the middle of May, but it has been awhile since we have been able to get multiple cuttings in a year,” Ohlrichs said.

Barb Ohlrichs' farm with barn

Like many hay producers, when the weather says it’s time to go, Ohlrichs goes. She runs their Vermeer MC3700 mower conditioner about 90 percent of the time.

“I just go until the weather tells me to stop,” Ohlrichs said. “It’s simple to run, nothing hard about it. I can go way faster with Vermeer than the one we had before.”

When she’s not making hay, calving cows or showing heifers, Ohlrichs serves as the state advisor for the Nebraska Chianina Association where she has helped plan and host three junior national heifer shows for youth across the country.

“Everyone has their own talents and this is mine,” Ohlrichs explained. ”Being a woman in agriculture isn’t really that big of deal, I’m just getting to do what I like to do.”