Farm Horizons, Sept. 2003

All in a day's work:
Local resident gives hauling cattle a feminine touch

By Troy Feltmann
Staff Writer

Life is not ordinary for Lisa (Bickman) Bayerl of Winsted.

In August of 2001, Lisa and her boyfriend, Jeff Bayerl, started Big J's Transport. They were married on Sept. 6, 2003.

In the beginning, Jeff Bayerl hauled cattle, but he decided he wanted to haul gravel. That did not leave much time to haul livestock.

"I wanted to carry on the livestock part of the business," Lisa Bayerl said.

Originally the Bayerls wanted to farm, but money was a big issue.

"I never thought I would be a cattle hauler, but this is probably the best thing I have ever done in my life," Lisa Bayerl said.

Bayerl went to Ridgewater College for dairy management. At first she thought it was useless to go into trucking.

"It really helps me relate to cattle. A lot of my customers like that I have that experience with cattle," she said.

"I know how to get the animals in the trailer by persuading them instead of using force. It is seldom that I have to use the hot shot or cane," Lisa said.

When asked about a typical day, Bayerl said there is no typical day.

"Some days I leave at three in the morning, the next day I might start at nine in the morning, and the next day I might run 24 hours hauling cattle to Green Bay," she said.

Bayerl also fits a part-time job into her schedule. Bayerl works at a dairy near Waverly.

She gets mixed reviews when she shows up to a new customer's farm.

"If the new customer doesn't know anything about our business and sees a lady in overalls get out of the truck, they want to load the trailer for me," Bayerl said.

"I show them that a woman can do the work also," Bayerl said.

Harassment comes with the territory from her male co-workers.

"I get harassed a lot, but I always prove them wrong," Bayerl said

"When I'm driving in the cities, I will hear the other truckers talking over the CB," Bayerl said.

"Look at the woman in the red truck with the cattle trailer. I just smile and keep on driving," Bayerl laughed.

"This job is very dangerous. You are dealing with animals quite a bit bigger than a human with minds of their own. One bad move and you could be trampled," Bayerl said.

"I have been kicked in the knees, chest, legs, arms, and hands. I came close to getting kicked in the face.

According to Bayerl these were minor compared to her worst experience.

"I was at a sales barn loading beef cattle. I got the first set in and I was loading the second set when one cow looked at me strange," Bayerl said.

"I knew something wasn't right with this cow so I backed out of the trailer and headed for the manhole," Bayerl said.

"The cow grabbed me with her head, threw me to the ground, and trampled me," Bayerl said.

"You would think that I would get scared and want to quit, but the adrenal rush was awesome. I got back up and loaded the trailer," Bayerl said.

With dairies and farms becoming less and less, what does the future hold for the Bayerls?

"It makes me work harder to find more customers. I want to run gooseneck and run semi. Expansion is in the future," Bayerl said.

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