Hands Pictured Above: Melvin Fred (M.F.) Klose Jr. Age: 68
Involvement in Agriculture: M.F. Klose is a 5th generation American, Texan, and Farmer/Rancher. He was raised in the small community of Lometa, Texas, has traveled all over the state performing various agricultural jobs, and settled back in Lometa with his wife Linda and children, Leanne, Gina, Jeff and Chris. He spent the last 30+ years of his life raising Beefmaster Cattle, Delaine sheep, Angora and Boer Goats. With an emphasis on goats. Each year he would run between 2000 and 4000 head of goats through his ranch in Central Texas. M.F. has also been involved in the fiber and grain industry, feedlot industry, sheep and goat industry in towns from Clarksville, Texas on the Red River to Donna, Tx in the Rio Grande Valley. He has worked in auction barns, on ranches, on a tractor, and in a Bobcat clearing cedar for hours to improve water availability on his ranch. He is a husband, and father, a son and brother, and lives his faith by example to those around him. He is a VERY quiet man who would NEVER brag on himself. He has given me the liberty to write about him though since I have known him now for 33 years!
Most Difficult Moment in Agriculture: There were many of them, but he says that the biggest issues he faced were fighting predators (mostly coyotes and bobcats), trying to make a profit, and keeping the public informed about what was truth and what was fiction about agriculture. I remember when we raised angora goats…M.F. would stay out at our ranch, which was 13 miles from our house each night during kidding season. He would wake up every two hours and walk through the kidding pens when the does were having babies. Each one that had a baby was picked up and brought into a barn where the mother and kid had individual 5X5 stalls with heat lamps, water, hay and feed. Once the mothers completely accepted their kids and the kids were strong enough to make it through the mild winters (usually 3-5 days), they were put out with small groups of other does and kids. Then the small groups were assimilated into larger groups once they were older and stronger. If this was not done, the mothers would abandon their kids in the cold weather. Without heat, the kids would freeze to death and there would be NO kid crop. When raising angora goats, it was common for a rancher who did not institute these practices to have a 70-80 percent kid crop. I don’t remember a year that my father had less than a 100 percent kid crop and most years it was between 110-120 percent. But all this work took a HUGE toll on him and his family. Many times he would only get to see his kids at dinner time. He would drive the 26 mile round trip with very little sleep. He would come in occasionally for basketball games, or other school events. He always tried to make it in on Sunday mornings for Church, then back out to the ranch to check goats again.
Most Joyful Moment in Agriculture: New Life! Seeing those new young baby goats, lambs, and calves running and playing in the pasture. Knowing that he was helping to feed the world. Feeling the sense of accomplishment that came from raising his own children to understand the importance of hard work and dedication to ones purpose in life no matter how menial the rest of the world may see it. I will also add this (he did not say this because he is too humble to do so). He was an innovator. In the section above you can see how the system he worked out helped increase production even though it took tremendous amounts of hard work. When the government saw fit to remove the wool and mohair incentive act from the farm bill, he found another avenue to provide for his family and switched from raising angora goats for mohair production to raising Boer goats for meat. Mills county, Texas is one of the largest meat goat producing areas in the U.S. He was always looked to by the buyers and other producers as the person who had figured the system out. He took great strides to learn about various ethnic holidays from various ethnic groups who consumed large quantities of goat. He worked tirelessly to make sure he had the goats at the proper weight at these times in order to provide the perfect animal for their religious days. He learned how to market his animals and have them ready at the right time. He was indeed ahead of his time, a pioneer in his field, and an agriculturist through and through. He believed in the future of agriculture, and lived that belief every day.