Cattle Today

Cattle Today



During the last twelve to eighteen months southeast cattle producers have endured a tremendous test. Crippling drought, explosive expenditures for feed and fertilizer, and ever rising energy costs have caused many to reevaluate their position in the beef industry. David and Susan Vaughan, owners of Salacoa Valley Farms in Fairmount, Ga., were not immune to these challenges.

Salacoa Valley Farms (SVF) is a Registered Brangus Operation focused on enhancing the success and profitability of commercial producers in the Southeast. The history of SVF actually goes back several generations to when the farm grew cotton and row crops as well as being a large mule depot for the area. Angus cattle were added in the 1940's followed by Simmental in the 1970's. Brangus were first introduced as a division of Willow Springs Ranch in 1984, then back exclusively under the Salacoa Valley Farms name in 1986.

Since that time, hundreds of SVF Brangus bulls and females have made a mark on the industry all across the country. David Vaughan comments, “We have a long history of supplying genetics to the commercial producer and plan on having a lasting impact on the cattle business. We are ready to take our program to the next level of increased opportunity and profitability for our customers.” With that in mind, the Vaughans spent most of 2007 assembling a new management team at SVF. They now feel poised to excel as a seedstock provider in the dramatically changing climate of the modern day beef industry.

Ben Spitzer came on board as General Manager in mid July, 2007. Ben has worked hard at cramming a wide array of beef industry experiences into his young life. He was born into his family's Brangus operation. The Spitzer family has a long history of involvement in the beef industry; including experiences with three different breeds of purebred cattle as well as stockers, commercial cattle and heifer development programs. Ben was very active in the International Junior Brangus Breeders Association, showing calves and attending National Shows from the time he was “old enough” to when he went to college.

Ben attended Oklahoma State University majoring in Animal Science with a production emphasis. He was actively involved in several departmental as well as university wide organizations including being selected for the President's Leadership Council. Upon graduation from OSU, Ben enrolled in the Integrated Resource Managemeent Master's degree program a Colorado State University. Students in this program are required to complete an internship. His internship at the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) opened the door for a permanent staff position as Communications/Member Services Director for RAAA. This job allowed Ben to travel the United States visiting ranches (registered and commercial), feedlots and other marketing outlets. It also allowed him to forge relationships with successful individuals in all aspects of the beef industry.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the Salacoa Valley Farms team,” Spitzer states. “Salacoa Valley has a long and successful history and is committed to make a major contribution to the beef industry through genetics, services and education. The skill and ability of our crew is second to none. We are coming into a new age of the industry and frankly, I'm excited for the future!”

Ranch Foreman, Tim Caudill is another new addition to the Salacoa Valley Farms team. He started in October 2007 and is responsible for the daily operations of the ranch. Tim is a native of Virginia and, as a youngster, his family raised Registered Herefords and American Quarter Horses. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from North Carolina State University. Tim started his career with the well known Oak Summit Farms, an Angus operation in Winston-Salem, N.C. He then worked as a research technician for one of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Experiment Stations.

Caudill's next tour of duty was with River Ridge Land & Cattle Company, Independence, Va. Tim managed this commercial cow/calf operation for the last 15 years prior to joining Salacoa Valley Farms. He was actively involved with the International Brangus Breeders Association while at River Ridge, serving multiple years (some as chairman) on the Commercial Marketing Committee. Tim and his wife Andrea have a daughter, Jessica, who is a freshman at Campbell University in North Carolina.

Salacoa Valley will host breeders from across the country for their 2008 Plenty of Class Brangus Female sale on June 14th at the farm near Fairmount, Ga. Additionally, the date of their annual bull sale has been changed to Saturday, September 27, 2008. For more information on Salacoa Valley Farms please contact Ben Spitzer at 706-337-2295 or visit them on the web at


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