Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention
June 22-25, 2021 • Iowa Event Center • Des Moines, Iowa

Commercial Producer of the Year Named

BIF honors W&S Ranch with 2021 Commercial Producer of the Year award.

W&S Ranch, Smith Center, Kan., was named the 2021 BIF Commercial Producer of the Year during an awards ceremony June 23 in Des Moines, Iowa. The award is sponsored by Drovers. Pictured are (from left) Philip, Kaylee and Jessica Weltmer of W&S Ranch; and Joe Mushrush, 2020-21 BIF president.

MANHATTAN, Kan. (June 25, 2021) — The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) presented W&S Ranch Inc. the 2021 BIF Commercial Producer of the Year Award June 23 during the group’s annual symposium and convention in Des Moines, Iowa. This national award is presented annually to a producer to recognize their dedication to improving the beef industry at the commercial level.

W&S Ranch is a registered Angus and commercial ranch located in Smith Center, Kan.

After serving in the Korean War, Richard Weltmer and his wife, Avis (Sprague), put down roots southeast of Smith Center, Kan., and founded Richard Weltmer Farms. They registered the W-over-S brand to represent Weltmer and Sprague and eventually Weltmer & Sons. By 1977 both of their sons, Kenton and Mike, had returned to the ranch full-time. In 1978 the operation’s name transitioned to W&S Ranch Inc. Philip, Richard’s grandson, and his wife, Jessica, returned to the ranch full-time in 2003.

W&S Ranch includes more than 6,000 acres of owned and leased land on which the Weltmer family grazes a commercial cow herd; a small, registered Angus herd; a feedyard and a farming operation with corn, soybeans and wheat.

The commercial and registered cow herds total 180 cows. All females are bred through artificial insemination (AI) using Angus or Sim-Angus genetics and are followed with Angus cleanup bulls raised by the Weltmers. Cows are bred to calve between Jan. 20 and March 1. AI and a tight calving window allow calves to be finished in the family’s feedyard as a more uniform cohort, then processed at 13 and a half months of age.

The cows rotationally graze on native and summer grasses from April 15 to Oct. 1, then are placed on cornstalks. They have access to native grass during calving season and are provided supplemental feed from mid-January until breeding. W&S Ranch places an emphasis on improved genetics and profit-proven outcomes. With an openness to change, all segments of the business are continually evaluated to improve efficiency and effectiveness to maintain a viable operation for generations to come.

W&S Ranch Inc. was nominated by the Kansas Livestock Association.

More than 400 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended the organization’s 53rd Annual Research Symposium & Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, and another 250 registered to participate online. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.

For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners, Angus Media coverage of the symposium and an archive to coverage of past conferences, go to

Editor’s Note: This news release was provided by the Beef Improvement Federation and can thus be reproduced without further permissions. For additional information, contact Angie Stump Denton, BIF communication coordinator, at or 785-562-6197. is a meeting coverage site provided by Angus Media. For questions about this site, or to notify us of broken links, click here. Look for additional coverage in the Angus Journal, the Angus Beef Bulletin, the AJ Daily, and the Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA.