Since so much was riding on the sacrifice of a perfect red heifer, it was not surprising that some American dispensationalist cattle breeders stepped forward to help produce the needed livestock. Clyde Lott was a Pentecostal cattleman from Canton, Mississippi, who was well schooled in the science of producing champions. In the late 1980s, Lott learned from prophecy teachers that before the temple could be rebuilt in Jerusalem, a perfect red heifer was needed for sacrifice. Given his expertise in cattle production, Lott decided he could help. Through a long process he finally made contact with Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, who was very interested in what Lott had to say.
In 1990, Lott traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Richman and the institute’s founder, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel. Lott spelled out some of the financial realities of raising red heifers, and the three began searching for the right location in Israel to start a cattle business. The original plan was to transport two hundred pregnant cows to Israel via ocean liners at two thousand dollars per head. By using the methods of genetic science, they were confident that the new herd would eventually produce the perfect red heifer. While the search for land continued in Israel, Lott started his selective breeding program back home in Mississippi. In 1994, Rabbi Richman visited Lott’s operation in Canton, and Lott showed him four recently born calves. To his utter amazement, Richman found among the four a red heifer that seemed to meet all the qualifications of Numbers 19, except that it had been born in the wrong place—in Mississippi, not in Israel. But Richman was convinced that Lott was capable of producing a proper sacrificial calf.
Lott’s dreams kept expanding. Through his travels in Israel, he concluded that Israel’s entire beef cattle industry was in need of his services. He believed that given their approach to cattle production, Israeli cattle breeders were not only incapable of producing a suitable red heifer but were also producing inferior beef cattle. He intended to greatly improve the quality of Israel’s beef industry at the same time he used his skills to produce a red heifer for the new temple. To that end, he started breeding Red Angus cattle in Nebraska in hopes of shipping thousands of beef cattle to Israel. In 1998, he and Guy Garner founded the Canaan Land Restoration of Israel, Inc., as a nonprofit organization through which Lott hoped to achieve his ambitious goals. Lott proposed to provide cattle free of charge to qualified Israeli cattle breeders on the condition that after a few years they would return to Canaan Land the same number of calves they had received and that they would allow Canaan Land to take every newborn calf that was “special,” that is, met the qualifications of Numbers 19. Lott set out to raise money to finance the project from fellow Christians who wanted to see the temple rebuilt too. He visited churches, went on Christian television, and developed other fund-raising strategies.
Lott was not the only dispensationalist cattle breeder who wanted to help make prophecy happen. Gershon Salomon of the Temple Faithful reported that he had been in contact with another concerned Christian in Texas who had attended some of Salomon’s meetings in the United States and had become convinced that God was calling him to help in the temple’s rebuilding by producing the needed red heifer. In fact, the rancher eventually reported that he had successfully done so and inquired about the proper care of such a special calf. According to Salomon, the requirements were many: “A Red Heifer needs to be raised and handled in a very special way like a holy thing which is completely dedicated to G-d. It has to be raised in a very special, clean stall and to be fed with special food, and even to be spoiled. She cannot be raised with other calves and especially not with males.”
In the end, none of these cattle breeding attempts by prophecy-believing ranchers produced the perfect red heifer. Despite his efforts, Lett’s project never quite got off the ground. Before Canaan Land could accomplish any of its goals, Lott and Richman had a falling out over finances and Richman’s discovery that Lott intended to spread the gospel in Israel, which was a deal breaker as far as the Orthodox rabbi was concerned. As it turned out, even before the relationship between Lott and Richman soured, a red heifer was born in Israel without the help of American breeders.