A Nebraska rancher, who battled adversity his entire life, passed away Saturday after a fatal UTV accident. Hebron cattleman and a Nebraska AgrAbility success story, Clayton Hergott had been checking cattle Saturday when his UTV overturned. According to the sheriff, the condition of one of the tires on the UTV indicates it may have blown out, causing the wreck.
For the past 10 years, Hergott had successfully operated his five farms separated by 35 miles thanks to Nebraska AgrAbility. Born with a spinal cord injury that has forced him to use crutches and adapt all of his life, Hergott contracted a staph infection in November 2007 that left him unable to walk. With the assistance of the Nebraska AgrAbility program, the rancher was able to continue work with his registered Simmental operation and actually expanded his operation.
“The first and most important item AgrAbility helped me add to my operation was a utility vehicle that gives me the mobility to get around my farm. I can take it in and out of the pens and haul buckets of feed and square bales to the different pens of livestock. It goes through the pastures to both check and catch cattle. This was a must upon release from the hospital to return home after 13 weeks of bed rest following surgery.
“After the mobility issue was solved, AgrAbility staff worked with me to cost share livestock handling equipment including a portable chute and a portable catch corral that I can haul to different pastures to catch and work cattle. This is important because my registered operation requires more handling than a commercial operation. When heat synchronizing my cattle, it is required to get them caught several times and give them shots and either artificially inseminate or implant embryos. Due to the fact that I rent 5 farms, spread over 35 miles, it was important to have a setup that is portable and easy to use. With this adaptive equipment I can set up, catch, and work my cattle with no, or very little, help. If the task does require help, it is very minimal and less of a burden, so it is easier to find help when I need it.”
In his obituary, Hergott’s family said he he departed this life doing what he loved.