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2012 Seedstock Award Nominees

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

Bianchi Ranches | EJ Shepherd Charolais | HeartBrand Beef | Hounshell Farms | Liberty Ranch | McCurry Bros. Angus | Perks Ranch | Schuler Red Angus | Springfield Angus | Tanner Farms | V8 Ranch | Williams Angus Farm

Bianchi Ranches, Gilroy, Calif.

Owners/Managers: Robert, Chris and Erica Bianchi

The Bianchi Ranches operation is located in the foothills east of Gilroy in Santa Clara County. They have managed cattle at this location for more than 20 years. Purebred cows are wintered in the hills along with their commercial herd. In the summer, the spring-calving cows are managed on 60 acres of permanent pasture, and the rest are managed on dryland hayfields.

The operation consists of 120 Charolais cows, 40 Hereford cows, 15 Red Angus cows and 50 Pinzgauer cows. They also manage 300 commercial cows. They calve in the spring and fall because they have a variety of bull buyers who purchase bulls to use at different times of the year. Typically, buyers from California turn out bulls in the fall, and buyers from Oregon and Nevada turn their bulls out in the spring, and they like to be able to meet the needs of both customers. Charolais bulls are used on the mature cows, while Red Angus bulls are used on their first-calf heifers. They are constantly trying to produce bulls for their buyers that will meet all of their needs. They use the bulls they produce on their own commercial cows, as well. If they would not use the bulls on their own herd, they will not sell them to anyone else to use.

Bianchi Ranches was nominated by the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA).

EJ Shepherd Charolais, Stuart, Iowa

Owners/Managers: Everett and Julie Shepherd

The EJ Shepherd Charolais herd is located on the farm of Everett and Julie Shepherd near Stuart, Iowa. They have been in the cattle business for 46 years and have been producing Charolais cattle for 36 years.

The Shepherds started with a registered Angus herd. They crossed them with black white-face (baldie) Simmental for 10 years, then gradually eliminated them and went to purebred Charolais. They have decreased their cow herd from 200 head to 65 head. Their calving seasons are from Jan. 15 to March 30 and from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15.

They started with hogs, cattle, corn, beans, hay and permanent pasture. They eliminated the hogs about 20 years ago. They utilize the rough ground for hay and pasture and bring their cows home to graze on cornstalks after harvest.

The American International Charolais Association (AICA) nominated EJ Shepherd Charolais.

HeartBrand Beef, Harwood, Texas

Owners: Ronald and Joan Beeman
Managers: JoJo and Kaci Carrales &Jacob Tipp

HeartBrand Beef Inc. is a very diverse operation located southeast of Austin, Texas, in Caldwell County. HeartBrand has been raising Akaushi cattle for their Branded Beef Program since 1995. Although the headquarters is southeast of Austin, HeartBrand raises more than 1,600 Akaushi cows from Idaho to Texas. Due to the fact of different climates and keeping a constant supply of fresh beef, HeartBrand is split into dual calving seasons. The concept of source-verifying 100% of their beef product requires staff effort from multiple sectors of production.

HeartBrand raises and sells full-blood Akaushi genetics through private treaty to commercial cattlemen throughout the United States who will source the Akaushi-sired calves back to the HeartBrand Beef Program. This program is the first of its kind to require breed designation through DNA parentage. Customers who purchase Akaushi bulls not only become members of the American Akaushi Association, but they are provided with a premium buy-back guarantee.

HeartBrand raises 100% of its replacement females, and, on average, keeps the top 60% of the female calf crop. The heifers are developed after weaning at HeartBrand's grower operation and are artificially inseminated to calve at 24 months.

Besides following the strict guidelines that go into HeartBrand's Beef program (like no added growth promotants and no antibiotics in the final feeding phase), HeartBrand is also USDA-verified as Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) and sourced and aged.

HeartBrand Beef was nominated by the American Akaushi Association.

Hounshell Farms, Wytheville, Va.

Owners/Managers: W.C. 'Buster' Hounshell and Clayton Hounshell

Located in the western portion of Wythe County, Va., Hounshell Farms qualifies as a Centurion farm dating back to the late 1700s. Current owners Clayton and Buster Hounshell (father and son), created a partnership in the mid-1970s that continues today. Buster's two sons, Greg and Jason, and their children make up the seventh and eighth generations to work this farm of 650+ acres owned and leased.

From the time Buster graduated from Virginia Tech in 1969, his appreciation for the Simmental breed resulted in changing the Hereford-based cattle operation into the first purebred, registered black Simmental herd in Southwest Virginia.

Artificial insemination (AI) was a priority in developing the herd. Currently, there are 185 head of black Simmental females — approximately 110 SimAngus, with the balance being purebred black Simmentals. Using a fall- and spring-calving program, Hounshell Farms calves 135 fall cows and approximately 50 spring cows.

Performance evaluation began through recording data with the American Simmental Association (ASA) and the Virginia BCIA. Since 1980, females have been recorded with ASA. The first bulls were tested in 1987 through the Virginia Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) program.

In an effort to improve herd performance and enhance data, Hounshell Farms began participating in Virginia's Retained Ownership Program in 1997. Since 2000, all calves (except those used for bull development or female replacement) have been shipped to Circle Five Beef Inc. in Henderson, Neb. Data is received on these cattle and serves as one of the criteria for bull and female replacement selection. The retained ownership program also allows Hounshell Farms to receive premiums from age and source verification and extra value created by known genetics.

The Virginia BCIA nominated Hounshell Farms.

Liberty Ranch, Plainville, Kan.

Owner: Roger Comeau
Manager: Mike Smith

Liberty Ranch (LR) was founded in 1976 in the Post Rock country of the Saline River Valley in western North Central Kansas. Liberty Ranch's cow herd has ranged from 1,000 to 1,500 females composed of primarily Limousin, Red Angus and Angus cows. The ranch was intensely involved in commercial cow-calf production in the early years, but it has placed more emphasis in the last 30 years on seedstock production. Liberty Ranch females calve predominantly in the spring, with 10%-20% calving in the fall. Postweaning, the calves are backgrounded on-site in the Liberty Ranch feeding facilities.

Through the years, the ranch has placed emphasis on purchasing Liberty Ranch-sired calves from their customers to bring home and background prior to being sent to commercial feedlots. The ranch has participated in numerous value-added beef programs, including Laura's Lean, U.S. Premium Beef (USPB), Decatur County, Tyson and numerous other beef grids in the early years.

Selection pressure has been applied over the years to raise a better cow for the environment and management philosophy, while maintaining feed efficiency, performance and balanced carcass traits in Liberty Ranch fed cattle.

The ranch has emphasized making educational and informational events accessible to customers and neighbors. Liberty Ranch is in constant pursuit of being better stewards of the land, focusing on low-stress livestock handling and prioritizing superior animal health protocols. Customer satisfaction is always its No. 1 priority.

The North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) nominated Liberty Ranch.

McCurry Bros. Angus, Sedgwick, Kan.

Founding Partners: Dale, O'Dell and Cecil McCurry
Managing Partners: Greg, Brad, Geoff and Barry McCurry

McCurry Bros. Angus is a family-owned and -managed operation located in Sedgwick and Harvey counties near Sedgwick, Kan. The cow herd originated when Walter McCurry purchased two Angus heifers from his brother-in-law, Johnson Workman, in 1928. Many bloodlines today can be traced back to Workman's herd, which descended from the very first Angus cattle imported to the United States, specifically to Victoria, Kan., by George Grant. In 1958, Walter's five sons — A.J., Dale, O'Dell, Bob and Cecil — formed McCurry Bros. Angus. Dale, O'Dell and Cecil McCurry still are involved in the business. The day-to-day operations are managed by partners Greg, Brad, Geoff and Barry McCurry, who represent the third generation on the ranch and bring a lifetime of experience to the business.

Today, McCurry Bros. Angus consists of about 550 registered Angus cows, of which two-thirds calve in the spring and one-third in the fall, and an irrigated and dryland farming business. About 150 bulls are sold yearly through private treaty. With 85% of their customers being commercial cattlemen, they strive to produce functional, trouble-free cattle that excel on pasture, in the feedyard and on the rail. Proven carcass genetics are used in the herd. At the same time, they acknowledge there are traits that expected progeny differences (EPDs) can't measure, and work to keep the herd structurally correct and sound. AI, embryo transfer (ET), EPDs and ultrasound are used to produce consistent cattle with superior genetics.

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) nominated McCurry Bros. Angus.

Perks Ranch, Rockford, Ill.

Owner: Doug Perks
Managers: Tom and Tammy Boatman

Perks Ranch was founded as a working horse and cattle ranch in 1961. Owned by Doug Perks and operated by Tom and Tammy Boatman, the ranch is located in Rockford, Ill. Averaging 36 inches of rain annually, the ranch includes rolling grasslands, cropland and protected forest. The Perks Ranch program has been built on Hereford genetics and included Red Angus cattle from 1999-2010. With approximately 120 registered Herefords and 75 commercial cows now, they are rebuilding the herd with a goal of reaching 150 Herefords and 100 commercial females.

A dual calving season is utilized to diversify risk and take advantage of different marketing opportunities throughout the seasonal cattle cycles. Spring calving is within a strict 90-day window, ranging from Feb. 1 until April 30. Fall calving's 30-day season spans from Sept. 1 until Sept. 30. Females are marketed through an annual fall production sale at the ranch, and in spring they are sold through a partner's sale in Oklahoma. Bulls are sold off the ranch by private treaty, as well as at their Oklahoma cooperator's location.

Perks Ranch is in the beef business because they enjoy what they do. Helping producers stay profitable through genetic improvement within their own herd ensures consumer satisfaction and keeps them going and striving to improve on a daily basis.

Perks Ranch was nominated by the University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Beef Association.

Schuler Red Angus, Bridgeport, Neb.

Owners: The Darrell Schuler Family
Manager: Butch Schuler

Located in the panhandle of western Nebraska, Schuler-Olsen Ranches was started by Darrell and Mary Lou Schuler in 1959 with commercial Hereford cattle. A crossbreeding program was implemented in the 1970s after witnessing the benefits of heterosis and breed complementarity firsthand. A registered Red Angus herd was started in 1976 to develop genetics for use on the ranch's commercial cattle and to sell to neighboring ranchers.

The seedstock herd expanded in the 1980s and was improved through AI, utilization of EPDs and a complete performance-testing program. Recognizing the need for identifiable carcass traits, in 1991 Schuler Red Angus began finishing its commercial progeny and collecting carcass data. This program soon grew into a structured carcass progeny test, including customer cattle sired by Schuler Red Angus bulls. Today, more than 25% of the Red Angus breed's high-accuracy carcass trait sires have been proven by Schuler Red Angus.

A composite seedstock herd called "Schuler Reds" was started in 1992. It included Red Angus, Hereford, Gelbvieh and Simmental genetics, giving Schuler Red Angus customers the opportunity to add heterosis and breed complements via a simple crossbreeding system.

The current ranching operation encompasses 17,000 acres, including 2,000 acres of private pasture leases and 1,250 acres of irrigated farm ground. Butch and Susan Schuler, with children Stephanie and David, manage the operation today with approximately 1,000 head of spring-calving females. The Schulers hosted their 30th production sale this spring, selling 150 registered Red Angus and Schuler Red composite bulls.

The Red Angus Association of America along with the Nebraska Cattlemen nominated Schuler Red Angus.

Springfield Angus, Louisburg, N.C.

Owner: Phil Goodson
Manager: Brett Flach

Springfield Angus, located near Louisburg, N.C., is a progressive seedstock operation owned by Phil Goodson. Farm manager is Brett Flach.

Reared on a diversified farm that included commercial beef cattle, Goodson showed beef animals in 4-H and was determined to own a purebred Angus herd. He earned an MD degree, served as a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon, and then had a distinguished career as a surgeon in Raleigh, N.C.

In 1976, he purchased a farm and four bred Angus heifers to begin fulfilling his dream. He established the goal of developing a profitable, sustainable farm producing genetically superior seedstock for commercial producers.

With expanding customer demand, Goodson purchased the present 400-acre farm in 1983, with an additional leased 120 acres. Springfield is calving 250 females and 150 recipients.

The breeding program represents a balance of low to moderate birth weights with strong maternal, growth and carcass genetics utilizing elite sires. Goals are to provide producers breeding stock that excel in all areas and to assist customers in marketing. Top-performing bulls completing Springfield's on-farm bull tests and passing rigorous reproductive soundness exams are marketed by private treaty. Females are marketed through private treaty and production sales.

Goodson seeks advice from university and industry experts in developing breeding, health, nutrition, forage and management programs. An early adopter of technologies that help further his goals, he has continuously incorporated an embryo program since 1982, produced the first recorded cloned Angus bull, and more recently incorporated ultrasound and genomic profiling into breeding and selection. Goodson currently has two bulls in AI studs.

Goodson is a leader in the North Carolina Angus Association, the North Carolina Cattlemen's Association, the North Carolina Cattlemen's Beef Council, and the North Carolina Cattlemen's Foundation.

The North Carolina Beef Cattle Improvement Program nominated Springfield Angus.

Tanner Farms, Ellisville, Miss.

Owners: Gary and Lorrie Tanner
Manager: Tim Hardy

Gary and Lorrie Tanner were both raised on family farms. High school sweethearts, they married during their college years. They returned home to begin a business, teach school, raise a family and manage the herd that is Tanner Farms today.

Tanner Farms is a grassroots, registered and commercial Angus operation. It originated in Jones County in 1977 and expanded to Noxubee County in 2000. There are approximately 600 registered cows and 800 commercial cows with both a spring and a fall calving season. The goal is to produce functional and profitable Angus cattle, not only for their own operation, but also for those of their customers. They continually strive to improve on the strong genetic base that has served as the foundation of their program.

Tanner Farms was nominated by the Mississippi BCIA.

V8 Ranch, Boling, Texas

Owners: Sloan and Mollie Williams
Managers: Jim and Luann Williams; Brandon and Rachel Cutrer

V8 Ranch is a registered Brahman and Shorthorn cattle operation that was established in 1944. In 1971, the ranch was purchased by Sloan & Mollie Williams who have served as owners for 41 years. As a hands-on, working family ranch, they are very proud of the fact that V8 Ranch has been worked and managed by their immediate family each and every day of the year. They are also proud that today there are three generations of the family working together daily for their combined goals of success.

The ranch operates in a four-county area on approximately 5,000 acres of land, both owned and leased, along the Texas gulf coast. The purebred Brahman herd consists of 300 breeding-age females with a large emphasis on ET. Their Brahman herd is primarily a closed herd, with a focus on linebreeding exceptional cow families since 1944. The purebred Shorthorn herd includes 30 breeding-age females.

In addition to these herds, they currently own and manage a commercial herd of 1,400 females that are part of their Brahman F1 program. These Brahman-influence females are used in a three-breed rotation mated to Angus and Hereford bulls to create Brahman F1s. The resulting offspring are then bred to Charolais and Angus bulls for terminal crosses. While they are known for their purebred herds, they feel their experience as a commercial producer gives them an advantage as a seedstock producer since they also have more than 50 years of making a living in the commercial business. Their commercial herd is also used as a tool to show their commercial bull buyers a practical example of how to use their Brahman cattle in a crossbreeding program.

V8 Ranch was nominated by the ABBA.

Williams Angus Farm, Newton, Ala.

Owners/Managers: Joe and Faye Williams

Williams Angus Farm is located in the southeast corner of Alabama in Dale County. Angus cattle were first purchased 49 years ago. Farm operations began at the current location in 1964. Today, Williams Angus Farm has an Angus seedstock operation with a cow herd of approximately 150 head. A 90-day fall calving season is planned to capitalize on high-quality, cool-season grazing and to meet marketing goals.

In addition to Angus seedstock production, the farm is comprised of several agricultural enterprises, such as commercial beef cattle, peanuts, cotton, small grains, grain sorghum, hay and corn silage. While complementary, these enterprises were selected to diversify the farm for flexible, sustainable production.

The prime directive of the Williams Angus Farm seedstock operation is to produce high-quality seedstock that are functional, practical and performance-oriented for commercial beef production in the Southeast. The ultimate goal is to produce high-quality, high-value herd sires that will sire feeder cattle that excel in all beef industry segments and demand premium market prices. The breeding program of the seedstock operation, emphasizing economically important traits, is designed to complement and fill the needs of their commercial customers, as well as their own commercial operation.

Eighteen years ago, Williams Angus Farm came together with like-minded cattle producers to establish the Southeast Alabama Feeder Cattle Marketing Association. The education gained through interaction with the feeder-cattle buyers, stocker producers and feedlot operators has provided a deeper perspective of the beef industry and refocused the prime directive for the Angus seedstock enterprise toward producing high-quality beef.

Williams Angus Farm was nominated by the Alabama BCIA.


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