He has been hoofing it for 23 years.
As the only guy in Nebraska to make hoof trimming his sole profession, it’s no wonder Jason Stamp named his business “Hoof Man.”
“I’m not really sure how I came up with the name,” Stamp, 47, said. “When I went to get incorporated, it was going to be Jason Stamp Hoof Trimming, because all of the hoof trimmers just have their name. I don’t know how I came up with Hoof Man, but I liked it and it stuck.”
He recently spent a typical Thursday on the job at Thiele Dairy near Clearwater. After setting up his chute, Stamp put in a pair of ear plugs, pulled down his face shield, grabbed his 4-inch chipper wheel and got to work.
As the large dairy cow walked into the green hydraulic chute, the cow was secured before he slowly tipped the machine to the side.
“When they come into the chute, their head gets locked down and the belly band arm comes up underneath to support them,” Stamp explained. “When I flip it over, I get all four feet hooked, so they are laying on their side. They feel safe and secure. And this chute also has a big pillow under their left shoulder, so it’s soft and very comfortable for them.”
White trimmings fly through the air and onto the ground as he works the chipper to angle the hooves. Cows, especially cows in confined facilities, don’t walk enough to naturally wear down their hooves, Stamp said. Trimming their hooves keeps them walking at the correct angle. He said that’s why the cows at Thiele Dairy are trimmed once every 150 days.
“The good part of every 150 days, because if it’s a small issue, a lot of times I’ll catch it before they even notice they’re limping,” Stamp said.
He said regular trimming catches these problems early so “they don’t drop off in production and it keeps the cows going a lot longer.” It’s vital to the overall health of the animal.
“If they don’t walk, they’re not going up to the bunk and eat feed, they’re not going to go to the water to drink, so they’re not going to produce milk,” Stamp said. “And they’re not showing to show heat, so they’re not going to get into thatreproduction cycle like they’re supposed to.”
He said the cow’s productivity “all comes back to the feet.”
“A good example is if you have a rock in your boot or shoe, that’s kind of how a cow is if they have an overgrowth of hoof underneath,” Stamp said. “When they’re walking, it’s uncomfortable and puts pressure in spots where it’s not supposed to be and that leads to all kinds of problems.”
Occasionally, he has to perform minor surgery for hoof problems such as ulcers or abscesses. Other times, he treats “corkscrew” by trimming the hoof and using Moo Gloo to adhere a rubber-like hoof block. This allows the cow to transfer weight to the outside toe and stand up straight again. However, usually, he simply trims down overgrown hooves.
Whatever the issue, Stamp said he can see an immediate difference in their gait as he releases the cow from the chute.
Hoof trimming is a specialty trade that few have honed, especially in this area.
“I believe I am the only one that lives in Nebraska and that this is my sole occupation — I don’t do anything else,” he said. “There are some bigger dairies that have in-house hoof trimmers that work for those dairies, but as far as a business that travels around trimming, I am the only one currently in the state.”
Stamp grew up on a dairy farm south of Inman until he was about 13. He attended grade school in Inman and high school in Ewing. Eight days after graduation, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Desert Storm. Stamp married his wife Jill before leaving the service and moving to Minnesota.
“I worked at some dairies there — that was the first place I had seen hoof trimming,” he recalled. “I was milking at the dairy and this hoof trimmer came through. It was just something different I had never seen.”
Stamp liked the idea of being his own boss and worked to find some information about the hoof trimming trade. He attended Dairyland Hoof Trimming Institute in Baraboo, Wisc. and bought his first chute.
“It was basically a head gate and three boat winches,” Stamp said. “I had to bend over all day. About six months of that, my back was shot.”
He went to work for a hoof trimming business based out of Michigan where the company supplied the equipment and lined up the customers. Stamp worked there for two years before his family decided to move to Ewing, his wife Jill’s hometown.
“That’s when I went on my own trimming,” he said. “I’ve been trimming on my own for 23 years now.”
When he and his family moved back to the area, there were four other hoof trimmers in Nebraska, Stamp said. They have all since retired, leaving him the last in the state. Due to the lack of professional trimmers, his business covers a fairly large area. Stamp said he travels as far west as Broken Bow, south to Beatrice and north and east to the state’s borders.
“I cover most of the eastern half of Nebraska, he said. “I do have some beef herds in South Dakota I go up to once in a while.”
Stamp said there has been a bigger push for trimming beef cattle in recent years.
“Every year, I do more beef,” he said. “Ten years ago, I probably did two herd bulls in the spring, and now I have eight guys who have me trim every herd bull they have every year. And for one customer, that’s 75 bulls. That’s a big day with bulls.”
Only one problem: Stamp usually has to go home and weld on his chute when he’s done.
“But I really enjoy trimming the big bulls,” he said. “Last week, I had a bull in here that was close to 3,000 pounds. It’s exciting because you don’t know what’s going to break, you hope it makes it through.”
However, the bulk of his business is dairy.
“I have three bigger dairies,” Stamp said. “Thiele Dairy I come to every week. I have Holsteins Unlimited in Leigh, I go there every three weeks, and Broken Bow Dairy in Milburn, I go every two weeks.”
He said the cows are trimmed regularly, from the first time they have a calf.
“Usually, they’re dried off before the second one, and then we trim them when they get dry,” Stamp explained. “Then they go to that dry lot. They have a chance to get used to that new angle to walk on, so when they calve and come back fresh into the barn, they don’t have any issues. That’s the goal we’re after.”
Although cows are his main customers, he has trimmed a variety of other animals over the years.
“I’ve done a couple zebus, which is basically a small cow,” Stamp said. “I’ve done a few donkeys, which I don’t like to do. They’re very stubborn and hard to get in the chute. I’ve done a few horses on my table, but they really don’t like it. I don’t do horses or donkeys anymore. That’s about as exotic as it’s gotten. I would like to.”
He’s always open to new business.
“If you have a buffalo, I’d love to trim him,” Stamp said. “Or an elephant, that would be cool.”
He trims about 12,000 head of cattle per year on average lately. But the number has steadily grown each year. Stamp gets some help from his son Trevor or his son-in-law Paul Johnson on his busy days. In the business’s early years, his daughter Makayla helped out at times too. She is now grown and the mother of Stamp’s 8-month-old granddaughter, Harper.
Stamp is thankful for more business closer to home these days. When he first started Hoof Man, he stayed in hotels 40 nights a year or more.
“Now, I sleep in my own bed every night,” Stamp said. “We moved a year ago to Inman and I’m currently building my corral/working facility there. When I get that done, I’ll be opened up, hopefully, in another month for people to bring cattle to me.”
Hoof Man can be contacted through his Facebook page or by calling or texting 402-394-1082. He will continue traveling to dairies and some of his other large herds.
“What I like best about it is I’m in a different place every day,” Stamp said. “I’m doing the same thing, but I’m in a different place every day, and I really enjoy working with farmers.”