Who We Are
Jonathan teaches Agriculture Education at the High School level as well as serves as the County President of Farm Bureau.
Jonathan graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Wildlife Science and Minors in Forestry and Biology.
Danny recently retired after 42 from management in a textile corporation and now manages the farm full time. Danny graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Chemistry.
Mary Sue, Sally Ann, and Ruthy are the 4th generation owner of B.H. Cooper Farm. Please see the history and philosphy of the farm below to learn more about the history of the farm.
The B.H. Cooper Farm Story and Philosophy
We three sisters are blessed to be the fourth generation to own B. H. Cooper. The farm,
consisting of almost 600 acres came into our family in 1871. Our great, great grandfather was a miller
and designed and built a water ground mill. Our grandfather replaced that mill after a series of incidents
that made the mill unusable. Our grandfather, who had only a third-grade education, but in our day
would have earned a degree from VA Tech, took the design of the mill to the next level. It was a
laborious process which required the building of a form to take to Danville to have it filled. Later he
would bring the part back to the mill, build another form to accommodate the part that had just been
caste and drive back to Danville.
When the mill itself was finished, the next job was to build a dam to hold back water. The race
was designed to stop the water at the top of the big wheel that ran the belts, cogs and stones which
ground the corn into meal. After years of production of water ground meal, the dam up the
creek broke and Daddy bought an electrically operated grist mill which the bootleggers loved on
Mama and Daddy were true partners on the farm. Mama’s shtick was putting newspapers into
gullies. Because of her work, she and Daddy received a Conservation Award from Farm Services many
years ago. Daddy had earned a Master’s Degree in Animal Husbandry immediately after the War. It is
said that Mama proofread and edited his papers, something Daddy vociferously denied.
Daddy developed a cow herd and we can remember growing up how he used to pour over
magazines with pictures of bulls and select those whom he wanted to have artificially inseminated into
his cows. Over time, he was known to have the finest herd of cattle in the area.
When Mary Sue moved back to the farm in 2002 the fences, breeding facilities and soil needed
more that she and her sisters could manage. At the suggestion of one of Daddy’s former ag students
who was then a County Agent in Henry County, we were directed to Farm Services. Over the next 7
years the farm was transformed with new fences, two wells, 22 pastures, 24 waterers, and eventually
five working facilities.
Next came the cows. Mary Sue determined that the pastures were not big enough to market
calves based on volume. The solution? To pursue a value added herd based on artificial and later
embryo transplants. For the past 12 years the farm has engaged the services of Dr. Allen Strecker of
Lexington, Virginia. Allen is a well-known and highly regarded vet who practices in VA, NC and WVA.
Allen has helped us develop the prototype for our cows based, of course, on good feet and legs. But
beyond that and importantly, we want our cows to be deep bodied, thick, with tight udders and small
teats. Any cows with that profile are easy keepers. We have developed the practice of feeding grain to
our heifers so that they may weigh over 1100 lbs at the time of giving birth. Their size helps reduce
complications from calving and their first calves can more than compete with those calves from older
cows. Equally important all of our cows, including first calf heifers maintain their body scores
throughout the year.
Mary Sue has gotten a lot of flak over the years for talking to her cows. We’re tire of hearing her mantra: GENTLENESS, GENETICS AND GRASS.
We are now so fortunate to have Jonathan and Danny Wood leasing the farm and owning the
cows. Mary Sue often says that the cows don’t know they have been sold. That’s important to her. It
brings her much satisfaction that Jonathan and Danny are committed to continuing the breeding
program under the tutelage of Allen, believing that together they can take the herd to the next level.
We realize that we haven’t said much about Bulls and we should. Jonathan and Danny now
own two outstanding Bennett Bulls, one with an EPD of 125 and the other with an EPD of135.
Finally. each bred heifer which leaves the farm leaves with the B.H. Cooper farm imprimatur.
She has been handled with mutual respect without losing respect for her handler and looks forward to a
new home where she will be respected as well. At least that’s what she has told Mary Sue.