Farm Horizons, April 2012
A winning choice for Cokato Simmental breeder
By Kristen Miller
Erick Barberg sure knows how to pick ‘em when it comes to heifers.
Barberg, a Simmental breeder out of Cokato, helped select Unity, the dam of Flicka, who went on to win Grand Champion Purebred Simmental heifer at the National Western Stock Show in Denver this past February.
Unity is owned by Jim and Stacie Mueller of Arlington. The couple asked Barberg to be their consulting partner in 2009.
Barberg’s experience goes back to when he was a child, raising and showing beef cattle in 4-H. He was also an FFA member in high school and went on to compete at the collegiate level at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a degree in animal science, with an emphasis on beef cattle production.
He has been a member of American Simmental Association since 1983, starting out as a junior and moving into the senior membership.
At the U of M, Barberg was on the general livestock judging team.
Through that process, he learned how to judge hogs, sheep, and beef cattle what to look for, and to be able to describe what you see.
In cattle showing, “We compare Denver to the Super Bowl,” Barberg said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
This was both Barberg’s and the Muellers’ first time exhibiting in Denver. The couple has been showing in the cattle industry for roughly four years.
At a sale in South Dakota, Barberg encouraged the Muellers to purchase HS Unity because of her pedigree, structure, and the bull she was bred to.
“She was my pick of bred heifers,” Barberg said.
After her birth, Barberg helped manage Flicka, which also won at the state fair and the Minnesota Beef Expo in St. Paul.
He also helped with her development, and gave guidance, counseling, and direction to the Muellers.
Now, Barberg is starting with Flicka’s sister, Felicia, as a yearling.
“I enjoy it. It’s fun,” Barberg said.