–by Mary Helen Darah
PUBLICATION DATE: Sept 03, 2019
A shared photo at a wedding reception in 2013 proved life-changing for local businessman Greg Kott. The owner of Clean Wood Recycling and Future Lawn viewed a photo on the phone of the cousin of his friend, Mike “Captain” King, who was in southern Ohio working at the largest Texas Longhorn ranch in Ohio. The breed consists of 1,300 pounds of solid cow with an average horn span of over 80 inches. “I saw the photo of that amazing animal, Drag Iron, a World Champion Longhorn Bull and immediately asked Captain if they were friendly, to which he replied, ‘they can be.’ I knew right then and there I had to own one. I wanted to sit on my back porch and watch them out in the field. The only problem was that I did not own a field let alone a farm,” Kott recalled.
On Aug. 30, of that same year, that changed. Kott bought a 50-acre farm in Swanton, Ohio at auction and began building fences and pastures. The foundation of the Laid Back Ranch, LLC was born. “I had my first two pastures completed and on Thanksgiving day three Texas Longhorn cattle were delivered,” said Kott. “Oh, and they were all pregnant and I knew absolutely nothing about raising cattle. I got online and started reading. Captain helped me and did some advising, and if I had questions I would ask my neighbors. Farmers are the best. They want to help. I have always believed that to succeed, you hire people better and smarter than you and everything falls into place.”
Things did fall into place, but not initially. One of the cows got sick and died with her calf in the winter. The following spring, the remaining two cows gave birth to healthy calves. “After that, I decided to go all in,” stated Kott. “I bought a bull and 11 more heifers. The following year, I decided to start raising a cross between an Angus and a Texas Longhorn. Longhorns have the leanest meat and Angus have the fattiest, so crossing them together makes a superior meat. I sell high quality, grass-fed beef and am currently in the process of becoming organic certified. To order, go to laidbackranch.com to check availability.”
Kott enjoys his new “field” although there have been challenges. “The biggest challenge is lack of knowledge. For example, the water source for my animals froze the first winter on the farm. After doing some research, I now have a heated water system. Another challenge is lack of time. The Laid Back Ranch has been built, every fence and pasture, from the ground up.”
The Laid Back Ranch and Kott’s registered Texas Longhorn are thriving…in fact a bit too much. “I now have 123 head of cattle on 50 acres. Normally, you strive for one cow per acre. I am currently in the process of downsizing,” he said. “I recently sold Overly Super, my first calf born at the ranch. It excites me when I see others get excited about the breed. I got hooked once I realized that my 2,140-pound bull is as gentle as a puppy. Plus, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing a calf born.”
Kott plans on working hard, with a bit of “laid back” time on the ranch for years to come. “Some people have whiskey, wine or cigarettes. I have cow therapy,” stated Kott. “It’s hard to describe the feeling of a large animal eating out of your hand.” Kott is thankful for being shown a photo of the Longhorn bull at the wedding back in 2013 that led him to venture into new pastures. “When I saw that photo, I imagined what it would be like to look out and see those majestic animals and today it’s my reality. It’s the most relaxing atmosphere I could have put myself in.”