CN August September 2023 Vol. 62 Issue 5

By Patti Wilson Contributing Editor PRODUCER PROFILE Bob Hibberd, Cattle Buyer C hances are, you have met Bob Hibberd. Not in a hand-shaking, howdy kind of way; you’ve load trucks, and Schroeder suggested he learn how to buy cattle. Why not? The job came easy to Hibberd, but the timing wasn’t right. Things were tough for agriculture in the 1980s, and he says he “couldn’t make a living.”

probably met him driving down the highway. The veteran of multiple auction markets travels about 1,000 miles per week, filling orders for all stripes of cattle producers. A Stellar Work Ethic Hibberd was born at Riverdale, Neb., a scant 70 years ago. The 13th of 14 children (he refers to himself as “Lucky 13”), he grew up in a no-excuses world, learning early that, if you want something, you’d better figure on earning it … the old-fashioned way. After graduating from Amherst High, Hibberd went to work driving a cattle truck. Already a serious student of livestock, he honed his skills on fill, weight and numbers. The guy clearly has a head for math and a great memory. Seven years passed as an employee before he purchased his own semi, then eventually expanded to a fleet of eight trucks by 1985. He says his trucks were on the road nonstop, 20 hours a day, seven days a week. He enjoyed his independence and contact with good cattle people. A Winding Trail Cattle buying crept into Hibberd’s life by way of friend Fred Schroeder of Shelton.“He made a cattle buyer out of me,” Hibberd says. He was already at the auction markets, waiting to

With the cattle business in the dump during the Great Recession, Hibberd resorted to plain, old over-the-road trucking.“It was easy after hauling cattle,” he says. With his fleet of livestock trucks sold off, he drove fresh meats and then pizza to the eastern seaboard. Although Hibberd enjoys driving, and says it was easy and interesting, he missed the cattle. The auction markets seemed to be calling him back. A God-given incident gave our trucker an excuse to go home and return to his primary interest, buying cattle. While in Burns, Ga., (take note of the ironic name), Hibberd’s truck caught on fire. It was a bad situation that prompted him to “never buy another truck.” A Better Life Free to choose a new direction, there was no doubt what Hibberd wanted to do. Upon announcing his intensions to his wife, Joyce, she exclaimed,“Oh my God! We are going to starve!” To which Hibberd replied,“Well, we’ll just have to try it and see.” In 1990, Hibberd went back to cattle buying. He talked to his previous customers. Being well liked and having a

Bob Hibberd racks up about 1,000 miles per week purchasing cattle for his clients in the country and at auction markets.


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