Left side

2012 Commercial Producer Nominees

The Beef Improvement Federation announces nominees for 2012 Commercial Producer of the Year.

Carswell-Nichols Herefords | Five Dot Ranch | Glenmary Farm | H&T Bies Cattle Co. | Jones Bros. Farm | Kempfer Cattle Co. | Maddux Cattle Co. | Matador Cattle Co. | Slykhuis Farms

Carswell-Nichols Herefords, Alton, Kan.

Owners/Managers: Jim and Carol Nichols, Brock and Carolyn Nichols

Carswell-Nichols Hereford Ranch is a livestock and grain operation located in north central Kansas near Alton. Harold Carswell, founder of the ranch, started the cow herd in 1935 with his first 4-H heifer. Since then, the operation has grown to include his daughter, Carol Nichols; son-in-law, Jim Nichols; two grandsons, Brock and Ryan; granddaughter-in-law, Carolyn; four great-grandchildren; and 300 head of Hereford and Angus cattle.

Hereford cattle are the heart of the operation and remain the family's true passion. Their philosophy is that Hereford cattle continue to be the benchmark against which other breeds are measured as cattlemen continue to seek optimum traits inherent in Herefords. Those traits, critical to survival in the cattle business, are exactly the same traits Carswell-Nichols Herefords offers their customers in today's industry: fertility, reproductive performance, feed efficiency, optimum size and growth and documented feedlot and carcass superiority. They believe in combining superior genetics, progressive management and industry partnerships to provide consumers a quality beef product and reputable breeding stock.

Today, the Carswell-Nichols cow herd consists of one-third registered cows and two-thirds commercial. The family raises 1,750 acres of wheat and 2,000 acres of fall crops that consist of corn, milo, soybeans, silage feed and cane hay. Cows are managed on 3,000 acres of native grass pasture.

Joining Jim and Carol at the ranch is son Brock; his wife, Carolyn; and their four children. Son Ryan is a banker in Wichita, working in agri-finance, and is a huge influence in their marketing and keeping up-to-date on resources. Ryan also helps in the advertisement and marketing of the registered and commercial herds.

The headquarters of their operation have been at the current location, the home of Jim and Carol, previously home to Harold and Pat, since 1950.

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) nominated Carswell-Nichols Herefords.

Five Dot Ranch, Standish, Calif.

Owners/Managers: Todd and Loretta Swickard

The Swickard family has been ranching in California since 1852. Originally from San Jose, Jack and Midge Swickard moved to Lassen County with 200 registered Herefords where they started Five Dot Land & Cattle Co. in 1959. The herd size of their western range operation grew tremendously and shifted to a primarily Angus herd.

In 1994, Todd Swickard took over the daily management of the ranch, changing the operation to an all-natural program with a stronger focus on environmental stewardship. These changes allowed Todd and his wife, Loretta, to start their all-natural, locally grown branded beef business in 2006. The goal of their newly developed program was to produce and market a specialized beef product directly to the consumer, while maintaining the functionality of the ranch in the changing economy.

On the cattle side they employ artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET), along with traditional range bulls to breed cattle that fit their environment and marketing needs. They take extensive measures to evaluate their progress. Equally important is improving the lands they graze, which are scattered over six counties from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the grazing lands near the San Francisco Bay area.

In California, threatened and endangered species are the norm, not the exception, on all of the lands on which the Swickards raise beef cattle. With the seventh generation now being integrated into the company, Five Dot Ranch has the room and potential to grow.

The California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) nominated Five Dot Ranch.

Glenmary Farm, Rapidan, Va.

Owners/Managers: Tom and Kim Nixon

Tom and Kim Nixon of Rapidan, Va., own and operate Glenmary Farm LLC, a 3,500-acre cattle operation along the Rapidan River. Glenmary Farm is a diverse operation focused on 750 commercial fall- and spring-calving beef cows, and custom cattle-feeding facilities. The farm is also home to the Virginia BCIA Culpeper Bull Test. Supporting the operation is 1,800 acres of cropland and 2,500 acres of pasture and hay land.

A rotational crossbreeding system utilizing Angus, Charolais, SimAngus and Gelbvieh Balancer genetics is implemented for the cow herd. Proven, high-accuracy bulls are utilized through AI, and high-quality natural-service sires are acquired through the state bull test program. The calf crop is marketed in several ways, with the majority sold as weaned, value-added feeder cattle in load lots in conjunction with other progressive producers in the region.

Glenmary Farm calves have established a strong, quality reputation among cattle feeders in the eastern Corn Belt, as well as in the Midwest. Additionally, both fall- and spring-calving commercial bred heifers are developed and sold.

The confinement cattle-finishing facility provides further flexibility in the marketing of calves. They have the capacity to finish 1,600 homegrown and custom cattle annually. The Nixons utilize extensive production and financial records to guide short- and long-term business decisions that affect the livelihood of the family operation and their five full-time employees.

Numerous awards have been presented to the Nixons through the years. Tom and Kim have been recognized by Virginia Farm Bureau as Young Farmer of the Year. The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District recognized them as Conservation Farm of the Year. They also received the 2005 BCIA Superior Service Award.

Tom is very active in the local Central Virginia Cattlemen's Association, serving as a founding board member and three years as president. Additionally, Tom has been a director for the Virginia Cattlemen's Association and for the Orange County Farm Bureau. Kim has served as an associate director for the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District and is a volunteer leader for 4-H. Tom and Kim have a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Robert. Both are actively involved in 4-H livestock projects, judging programs, FFA activities and the farming operation.

Glenmary Farm is nominated by the Virginia BCIA.

H&T Bies Cattle Co., Rapid City, S.D.

Owners/Managers: Harold and Judy Bies, Travis and Deanna Bies, Donna and
Dean Klapperich

Nestled near the Black Hills of western South Dakota, the operation's 1,100 head of Limousin-Angus-cross cows graze on both deeded land and Forest Service land. H&T is a true Bies family operation. The partnership consists of Harold and wife Judy, son Travis and wife Deanna, as well as Harold and Judy's daughter, Donna, and her husband, Dean Klapperich.

Consistent, proven genetics from top Limousin herds have allowed H&T to pursue the all-natural niche market. Through careful genetic selection for high maternal and growth expected progeny differences (EPDs), H&T is still able to wean a heavy calf in late September without the use of growth implants. By following the strict all-natural protocol, this provides them access to specific, value-added markets. Cows are calved in open pastures and they retain their own replacements, so an emphasis is put on maternal characteristics and calving ease.

H&T understands the value of information at marketing time. They rigorously document their cow herd's genetic and health records. They also age- and source-verify their calves each year using IMI Global's verification system. In addition, H&T is certified for the Non-Hormone Treated Cattle market (NHTC), qualifying their cattle to sell into the European Union (EU). Selling their calves with this verified information has enabled them to receive premiums.

They also participate in the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) program. H&T's commitment to information and an extensive individual identification system have allowed them to assess their cow herd in a more intensive manner.
The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) nominated H&T Bies Cattle Co.

Jones Bros. Farm, Prattville, Ala.

Owners/Managers: Crawford and Cooper Jones

Jones Bros. Farm, owned and operated by Crawford and Cooper Jones, is located in Autauga County, Ala. The operation includes beef cattle, cotton, small grains and hay production, and consists of approximately 3,500 acres of both owned and leased land. They are currently leasing Twin Valley Farms from Ron Henderson.

Jones Bros. Farm began in 2000 with the purchase of 11 open replacement heifers from the Chilton County BCIA Heifer Sale. It has grown to 300 breeding females, with a goal of aggressive growth to 400 females by 2014. The cow herd consists of a three-way cross of Simmental, Chiangus and Brangus cattle. A 75-day fall calving season, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15, is planned to capture market advantage for feeder cattle in a cooperative teleauction each August. In 2010, 72% of the calf crop was born in the first 30 days of the calving season. The herd has been honored for ranking in the top three herds within the Alabama BCIA large-herd division for the past three years and has produced Alabama BCIA Gold Star Dams for the past six years.

Performance-minded cattle production is in the genomics of the Jones Bros. Their grandfather, Ed Wadsworth, was a charter member and served as the first president of Alabama BCIA in 1964. They were further supported by their mother, Carol Wadsworth Pearson, who gave them their first pastureland to begin their cow herd from the original Wadsworth Bros. Farm. Expressing their performance genetics and applying 21st century savvy business skills, these young cattlemen are building toward the future.

The Alabama BCIA nominated Jones Bros. Farm.

Kempfer Cattle Co., Saint Cloud, Fla.

Owners: Billy and Reed Kempfer Families

Kempfer Cattle Co. (KCC) is a 25,000-acre, family-owned-and-operated ranch located in Deer Park, Fla. They have been in business there since 1898; the sixth generation is now starting to help work the ranch. KCC is a commercial cow-calf and seedstock operation. The commercial operation consists of a three-way cross of Brahman, Angus and traditional Shorthorns. Charolais bulls are used for a terminal cross on less-productive Angus- and Shorthorn-sired cows.

Their calving season is November through January, with 85%-90% being born in the first 60 days. The majority of calves born in the last 30 days are from second-calf heifers. They manage 2,500 mama cows and 750 replacement heifers. Their business has made a shift during the past five years to raising and selling quality replacement heifers. High fertility and fleshing ability, along with balanced growth and carcass traits have brought great demand in recent years.

The Kempfers started their seedstock business in 1978 raising purebred Brahmans. Their primary goal has always been to raise bulls for their commercial herd, but demand has enabled them to market bulls to other registered and commercial breeders throughout the southern United States. They have participated in a number of sire evaluation projects during the past 20 years. Most are done in cooperation with feedlots, primarily Decatur County, Kan., University of Florida, and the American Brahman Breeders Association (ABBA). This, combined with retaining ownership on many of their commercial calves, is a great tool in helping them move their herd in the right direction.

Kempfer Cattle Co. is nominated by the ABBA.

Maddux Cattle Co., Wauneta, Neb.

Owners/Managers: Jack and John Maddux

Maddux Cattle Co. is a cow-calf and yearling cattle operation located in southwest Nebraska. Taylor and Clara Maddux homesteaded the ranch in 1886, 11 miles north of Wauneta on the Stinking Water Creek. The ranch has grown today to encompass 40,000 acres of owned and leased land that sustains 2,500 mother cows and 5,000 yearlings.

Native range consists of sandhills and hard land canyons that are part of the watersheds of three creeks that run through the ranch. The operation has approximately 1,800 irrigated and 600 dryland farming acres, the balance being native grass, some of which is subirrigated meadows. Jack and John Maddux, the third- and fourth-generation owner/operators of the ranch, manage the operation.

Replacement heifers and cows are bred to calve in April and May. Cow-calf pairs summer on native range, calves are weaned in the early fall, and wintered in backgrounding facilities or winter-grazed with supplementation of distillers' wet grains. All calves, with the exception of home-raised replacement heifers and bulls, go to leased grass in the spring. Steers and heifers are marketed off grass each August as 900-pound (lb.) yearlings.

After weaning, cows are winter-grazed on leased cornstalks from November through mid-March. Cows are then driven back home to native range roughly one month before calving. In this system, the Maddux cow herd has a full 12-month grazing system with no hay or supplement fed to the mature cow herd. Some strategic protein supplementation is used for first-calf heifers precalving and prebreeding.

The cow herd is a maternal composite of five breeds: Red Angus, Tarentaise, Red Poll, South Devon and Devon. Cows are British in body type and production levels. Breed selection is aligned with year-round grazing and the low-input system of the ranch.

Maddux Cattle Co. is nominated by the Nebraska Cattlemen.

Matador Cattle Co., Wichita, Kan.

Owner: Koch Agriculture Co., a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc.
Manager: Randy Lair

The Matador Cattle Co., a division of Koch Agriculture Co., operates three ranches: Beaverhead in Montana, Spring Creek in Kansas and Matador in Texas. Originally acquired by Fred C. Koch in the 1940s and 1950s, the ranches encompass 425,000 acres, including about 240,000 deeded acres.

The company employs a market-based approach to management, ensuring the ranch's ability to create real long-term value for customers and society. As a result, an intensely challenged decision-making framework is employed to ensure an optimal balance between livestock, wildlife and natural resources.

The ranch is 100% owned by The Matador Cattle Co., an indirect subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc. The ranch's primary income is from the marketing of cattle, hunts and horses.

The ranches annually wean about 10,000 calves and support more than 15,000 head of mostly Hereford and Angus commercial cattle. In 2010 and 2011, the company began to shift its sire base to Akaushi bulls.

The Texas ranch raises Quarter Horses for ranch use and external markets. As the demand for high-end hunting and outdoor recreation has grown, Matador Ranch also has expanded its wildlife program. The ranch markets trophy deer hunts, along with turkey, quail, dove and predator hunts.

The Matador Cattle Co. is nominated by the American Akaushi Association.

Slykhuis Farms, Raleigh, Ill.

Owners: Charles and Todd Slykhuis
Manager: Todd Slykhuis

Slykhuis Farms of Raleigh, Ill., was the recipient of the Illinois Beef Association (IBA) Commercial Producer of the Year Award at the 2010 IBA Annual Meeting. Slykhuis Farms is owned and operated by Charles and Virginia Slykhuis and Todd Slykhuis of Raleigh. This award is presented to progressive, performance-oriented commercial cow-calf producers who utilize the latest in breeding, management and forage production to optimize the production and profitability of their operation.

Slykhuis Farms was founded by Charles in 1972 with the purchase of 392 acres. Since then, the farm has expanded to more than 1,000 acres comprised of cash crops of 140 acres corn, 285 acres of soybeans and 40 acres of wheat. Besides these cash crops, there are 100 acres of hay and 450 acres of pasture.

The cattle operation was started in 1972 with 100 cows with the farm. The cattle operation was moved to a spring- and fall-calving herd through the early 1980s. The number of brood cows was reduced in the late 1980s; however, more rapid expansion is planned in the number of brood cows, up to 270 in 2010, with plans to continue to expand up to 400 brood cows in the future. Besides these brood cows, there are usually 75-100 head of replacement heifers being developed and bred.

Not only has the number of cows increased, but the performance and quality of the herd sires has made dramatic improvement. In recent years, an aggressive AI program has been implemented with close to 400 brood cows and heifers bred via AI in 2010.

The University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Beef Association nominated Slykhuis Farms.


Editor’s Note: The articles used within this site represent a mixture of copyrights. If you would like to reprint or repost an article, you must first request permission of Angus Productions Inc. (API) by contacting the editor at 816-383-5200; 3201 Frederick Ave., Saint Joseph, MO 64506. API claims copyright to this web site as presented. We welcome educational venues and cattlemen to link to this site as a service to their audience.

BIF Conference

Site sponsored by

Liveauctions.tv     LiveAuctions.tv

Other Angus Journal
event sites …

Visit the
Angus Journal
topic library …

The topic sites in our library offer gateways to information on body condition scoring, beef cow efficiency, country-of-origin labeling, targeting the Certified Angus Beef® brand and more.

Sign up for…

Angus Journal.
Angus Journal
Copyright © 2014

Right side