March Rancher Spotlight: Lambert Ranch

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Rancher Spotlight: Lambert Ranch

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If you ever find yourself North of Sacramento around Oroville, California, then you’re in Lambert Ranch country. Actually, any part around Northern California could be considered Lambert Ranch country. The ranch is headquartered in Oroville, but has locations in Butte Valley, Chico, Alturas, and Chester, California. The ranch has been headquartered in Oroville since 1990, but traces its beginning’s back to 1974 when Steve Lambert started showing Herefords. His first 4-H project was a Hereford steer that his dad purchased for him. The next year he bought him four Hereford cows and the rest is history as they say. Steve grew up on the Creekside Ranches that his family owned and operated in Sonoma and Oroville, California. When his dad passed away, Steve bought the best of the Creekside program and started Lambert Ranch in Oroville. Today, the ranch is a cow-calf operation that calves out 200 registered cows and has around 500 yearlings. “That is a fluid number on the yearlings as they are like trying to keep water in a strainer”, adds Steve.

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The ranch also has the “Next Generation Bull Sale” every October where they market and sell the majority of their bulls. Today, the ranch is run by Steve, Janet and son Clayton. The rest of the kids- Nathan, Meghan, and Rossy- help out when they can between work and school. However, I’m warning you and I quote Janet and Steve as saying-“Pretty much anybody who stops in and stays long enough will get suckered into helping out.” Now friends, I think there are times when it is necessary to put on your Sunday clothes and leave the truck running while visiting. It sure makes someone less apt to put you to work!

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Steve jokes that his dad chose Herefords back in 1974 because, “that’s all there was”, and they have been in business with them ever since. However, he also says that after raising a few other popular breeds through the years, “Herefords have been the most reliable and profitable for me. You can’t beat the disposition and maternal instinct.” He also believes the best traits of Hereford are durability, disposition, and do-ability. If you make your living in agriculture in the pretty state of California, then you’re always worried about water. The most important thing the Lambert Ranch worries about is water for
the future. They are always looking for the next rain and would surely welcome any prayers for rain sent their way. It is amazing to think that in the time of such great demand for our product and potential for profits, that it would be the most basic of necessities that could end production. Like a lot of us that have been through a drought, we know it’s not pretty and it’s never over soon enough. But, it sure makes you appreciate the rain and thank God for that wonderful wet stuff when it shows up.

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Lambert Ranch like many other ranches has learned that it takes more than just cows to stay in business. “Adapt, adapt, adapt. Always be open minded and aware of the industry needs, starting with your buyer all the way through to the consumer”, says Steve, and spoken like a true cattleman. If you’re not sure what our industry needs are then I encourage you to reach out to Steve and Janet or Certified Hereford Beef Supply Chain Manager, Trey Befort. They can get you some information to help bring your heard up to spec.

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In addition to their excellent Herefords, Lambert Ranch also has 18,000 walnut trees planted at their headquarter operations. The ranch plants grain hay in the winter and watermelon in the summertime between the tree rows to make use of the fertile soil. Their multi-use of the land emphasizes that cattle ranchers are true environmentalists. Janet says, “Without us being good stewards of the land and livestock then the quality open spaces and recharge zones that people enjoy so much would fail to exist.” Think about it. If we didn’t do more with less, then what impact would that have on the environment? Today, more beef is raised with fewer inputs than twenty years ago and I bet that number continues to climb as we continue researching genetics and inputs.

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Steve sums up our visit with the Lambert Ranch- “ranching is not a job- it’s a lifestyle. I enjoy the cattle, the people and being able to work with my family.

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“We thank Lambert Ranch for taking the time to visit with us. If you are interested in knowing more about them, or want to attend their bull sales, then reach out and follow them on Facebook at Lambert Ranch. http://www.facebook.com/lambertranchherefords If you want to see a bird’s eye view of the ranch then follow Nathan as he you takes you on a tour via a go pro camera. You won’t be disappointed you joined. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMvJD09bQUc

Thanks again for visiting with us.

May your grass be belly high and your troubles ankle deep,

LB

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Good Luck, Craig!

Good Luck, Craig

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Well, the word is out. After eighteen years, the American Hereford Association and Certified Hereford Beef are saying good-bye to our friend, American Hereford Association Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines. Craig has only had one job and employer after graduating from his master’s program, and that has been to lead the American Hereford Association. Friend–actually you could call him the father of Certified Hereford Beef. It was Craig’s research into the palatability of beef and consumer tests that has paved the way for the Certified Hereford Beef brand. How do you say thanks to leadership like that?

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In a world of too many stories about bad companies and horrible bosses, you never hear enough about the good ones. Craig Huffhines is the epitome of the good guy. If he were a western TV star he would be a cross somewhere between Gene Autry and John Wayne. The classic white cowboy hat persona–great husband and father, trust worthy, friendly, loyal, and hard working. The qualities that legends and great leaders are made of because he measures success by the relationships he has made.

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That leadership has enabled our Hereford breed to be the envy of all livestock associations. Under Craig’s guidance, we have grown by leaps and bounds. His vision has provided us the opportunity to showcase quality genetics and make our commercial cattlemen the cream of the crop. Certified Hereford Beef would not be here without his servant attitude. In a recent article for Drive Livestock, Craig was quoted as saying, “Success is a progress that evolves over time. Sometimes compensation and the gratification don’t come instantly. It takes hard work, respect for superiors and the industry, and a team spirit to go the extra mile. It takes an unselfish, servant attitude to be successful in agriculture.” Those aren’t just words to Craig–it is how he lives his life and the example he sets for his team. It’s something that we are going to miss, but will make sure to carry on!

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Craig’s next chapter will be taking him home to Amarillo, Texas. Craig will be guiding the reins of the American Quarter Horse Association as their executive vice president and we wish him all the best. We know being back in Texas will be great for Craig, Mary Jon, Seth, Cole, and Miles. We wish them all the happiness in the world. After all, great cowmen need great horses so it’s only fitting that Craig is heading that way. I, for one, will be looking forward to the amazing things we are going to hear coming out the Quarter Horse Association soon. That kind of leadership just does great things.

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Craig, thanks! Thanks for getting us all together and guiding us to build the best branded beef program in the world owned by our 6,000 members. Thanks for always having an open door and leading by example and showing us that the work we do is a privilege and not just a job. Most of all, thanks for just being you! We wish you the very best and want you to know we are always here for anything you need-friend!

Vaya Con Dios Amigo,

CHB

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Rancher Spotlight: Feller Cattle Company

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Tucked away in Wisner, Nebraska in the heart of Cuming County is this month’s Rancher Spotlight with the lens shining on Feller Cattle Company. Tom Feller started the company in 1985 with help from his father, Doug and his uncle Bob. Tom is a fourth generation cattle feeder whose roots in cattle feeding trace back to the turn of the 2oth century.
The business philosophy of Feller Cattle Company is summed up by a quote from Tom Feller, “The business of cattle feeding is about investing in each other. Nurturing these relationships into long lasting profitable partnerships is our challenge and ambition.” Successful beef production is built on great partnerships. Cattle feeders need cattle producers and vice-versa. Feller Cattle Company builds those relationships through their commitment to finishing great cattle.
Today their feedlot has capacity for 15,000 head and is open 24/7, 365 days a year with cattle coming in, shipping out, feeding twice a day, and riding pens. They typically receive cattle from six months to sixteen months of age and the duration of time to finish them can range from an average 600 pound steer to finish around 220 days, to a 900 pound steer finishing in around 140 days. The term “finish” means getting cattle to market weight by feeding a diet of corn, hay, distillers, and protein/mineral/vitamin supplements until the cattle reach a desired weight, marbling, and grade quality.
The cattle are kept in pens that average 120 to 180 head per pen and each animal has approximately 400 square feet per animal. The space allows the animals to roam and play. When it comes to feeding space, calves are given about a foot and half of bunk space, but when they are closer to finishing that average is reduced to one foot of bunk space. This ensures they have plenty of room to eat, and not feel stressed or stifled.
A consulting veterinarian and nutritionist help ensure that cattle are thriving and protected from diseases. All cattle are vaccinated when they arrive to prevent bringing anything into the rest of the herd. However, cattle have to be monitored for “withdrawal” when they get ready to leave the feedlot. Feller Cattle Company assigns each cow an id number when they arrive, and with the use of computers they track each individual animal through its stay in the feedlot. If an animal has been treated for sickness and has not had the proper withdrawal time (a time it has to remain untreated before it can be harvested) then the computer alerts the staff and they remove the animal until the hold time is cleared.
The biggest concerns to the feedlot are two things: misconception and drought. Feller Cattle Company strives to show that the animals are their primary concern. Without the animal, there would be no feedlot. From the spacious design of the facility, to the no expense spared feeding and health programs the care of the cattle is the primary focus. Tom says, “I think the fact that we (as an industry) would not take care of our cattle is a misconception. Those animals today are worth $2,200 plus a head. Our feed is top quality; we have invested millions in equipment to care for their pens, feed, and comfort.”
The second biggest concern is drought. Drought causes high feed costs, and high feed costs make it hard to do business. Being able to source premium feed inputs is essential to producing great beef, and anytime you have drought you then have to pay more for the quality you need.
When we asked Tom how he felt about Herefords in his feedlot he had this to say. “Modern Herefords have improved in the last ten years, the breeders made that happen”, Tom Feller. Tom also added, “Hereford cattle excel at Feller Cattle Company because they are more efficient, have more meat per carcass, good dispositions, and are weather acclimated.” Feller Cattle Company prefers to finish Hereford influenced cattle because they perform in the feedlot averaging 3.5 to 4 pounds a day of gain, and Herefords bring a premium which can be a big deal to a producer’s bottom line in a tight market.
If you are looking to know more about Feller Cattle Company then check out their website at WWW.FellerCattleCo.Com.
In the mean-time, all of us at CHB send our prayers and support for those of you that are having to battle through these harsh winter storms. Keep your head up and your ears covered.

Be safe,
LB

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Don’t Call It Love Until You Know Beans or No Beans?

Don’t Call It Love Until You Know Beans or No Beans?

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Awww, well as Valentine’s Day is here I think back to close calls of almost entrapment that I’ve managed to avoid around this time of year. Spring is almost in the air and you can tell by the way the animals are acting. The heifers and fillies are nicer with spring almost being here, but watch out! They can still turn ornery faster than a hibernating grizzly who’s woken up in the middle of the night by the neighbor’s boom-boom music. If you’re one of those poor souls deciding to jump on the band wagon of love for the sake of seeing those pretty little doe eyes light up over a commercialized holiday, then I have some tips for you to make sure that “true love” lasts through the summer.
First off, don’t rush to label anything around this time of year. The fastest way to entrapment is when you utter the words, “I Love You!” or at least, “I like you a lot!” They are sure fire ways to have you handcuffed and sitting through Meg Ryan movies, or worse 50 shades of- there aren’t that many shades of gray! I know what you’re thinking….what if they say it first?
Well, then the code of the west applies and you have to acknowledge and be polite. I’d suggest a swift change in conversation, (if you let the other person linger on it then you’ll just make it unbearable on yourself). But, you have to make it a conversation she wants to engage in. I would go with something like a compliment on her appearance, then to kitchen remodeling, to cooking, then to quick and easy meals, down to sandwich recipes, and finally what’s her favorite sandwich to make you (if you need s favorite sandwich see one of the previous posts about a great roast beef recipe). See- you led her right down a path that helped both of you, and if you pulled it off right you did not have to commit to “love” too soon and you were well fed.
Ok, what if you’re reading the first part and it’s too late for you. You slipped up. The conversation didn’t go right, and you found yourself saying, “Honey, you make me the happiest man in the world, and every second of every minute since you have come into my life has been the most joyful, richest moments of my life. In fact, I didn’t realize how incomplete my life was until you came into it….you, my darling complete me!” Don’t worry- it happens to all of us at some point. But, once the proverbial cat is out of the bag how do you put it back in? Simply put, you can’t! You have to ride the horse you brung. But, you can use a simple test to see how compatible the relationship is. For example, how do you like your chili…..beans or no beans?
The beans or no beans fight over chili has been around since the lovely “Chili Queens” of San Antonio started selling it on the street corners of La Villita. The invenerable “bowl of red” was created when Canary Islanders who relocated to San Antonio brought with them their sumptuous spices mixed it with some home grown Mexican peppers, and added a heap of tasty beef. Viola, the “bowl of red” was born, and then the fight over beans and no beans was started.
Think of beans or no beans as the ultimate relationship test. Sure you can Google some 25 questions to true love, or you can simply get right to the heart of the matter, (No pun intended) by finding out what side of the fence your significant other is on. I’ve used this simple test myself. A few years ago I found myself dating a beautiful Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and things were going faster than water through a sock. She passed several of the other tests…she could dance (with a little tweaking for Texas two-stepping), wasn’t afraid to get dirty, it was almost true love when she smiled while sewing up a little colt one evening. Fact is, things were going faster than a snowball headed for Hades. So, when I pumped the brakes she outsmarted me with an invitation to a home cooked meal. (Take note of my mistake.) She wanted me to try her chili. Prettier words had never been spoken but, still reeling from a bad experience of “healthy enchiladas” from a previous relationship, (It’s not a pattern), I was hesitant to try another home cooked meal. Then, the Northern blew in and the aces and eights were dealt.
I found myself on a cold evening sitting down to that smile, and what was assured to me to be the best bowl of chili I ever had. After a frozen day of burning cactus to feed the herd, I was ready for a big bowl of chili. I didn’t mind the dogs, (although it’s usually a rule for me of no pets in the house), the house was clean, Don Williams was on the radio, and other than the pets I couldn’t find any other reason to call things off before they went too far! That is, until the chili showed up. I know what Garth Brooks means when he sings “Unanswered Prayers!” Because I almost whistled that tune when that bowl of anything but chili was placed before me.
However, my Mama raised me with better manners than she probably gets credit for because like the rule of dancing with a woman that asks you to dance, you have to eat two helpings of whatever a woman cooks you. I’m thankful that the dinner table this beautiful little vet and I were sitting at was placed against a wall, and we were sitting next to each other instead of facing each other. It’s the only way I figured she thought my grimace was a smile when she said, “it looks good, right?” I don’t know what I answered but, it was along the lines of “sure does” or “you-betcha”- whatever would avoid any further line of questioning. For the life of me…to this day I’m still not sure of what I ate that night. She called it chili, but there were lima beans in it. I asked her about the beans, and she said all good chili has beans in it. I knew right then that it wasn’t true love. Sure, the International Chili Society’s World Cook-Off is now including a category of chili with beans, but it still doesn’t make it my kind of chili. I might have fallen for pinto beans, but lima is where I draw the line. And, if you are going to find yourself trapped in with a beautiful woman during a cold spell then you might as well make sure you agree on beans or no beans…if not it could be a long winter!
We parted ways amicably shortly after that, and we’ve had a few good laughs over that chili recipe. But, that simple test worked. It wasn’t meant to be and we’re each the better off for it. She’s settled with a great herd of kids, and she’s not tied to me.
So, when you find yourself with this upcoming cold spell soaking in and wanting to find out if your Valentine’s date is the one, then y’all should whip up a batch of red with some great tasting Certified Hereford Beef, and answer that age old question– Beans Or No Beans?
Either way it turns out, you can thank me later!

Buena Suerte,
LB

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Rancher Spotlight: Gregory Feedlot

Rancher Spotlight: Gregory Feedlot

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This month’s Rancher Spotlight comes to us from Gregory Feedlots of Southwest, Iowa which is five miles southeast of Tabor. The feedlot location is in close proximity to Omaha, NE, and a couple of hours away from Kansas City, MO. Some of the advantages of their location is being very close to supplies of feeder cattle, having abundant supplies of feed which make their prices competitive, and being located near several packers including Greater Omaha.
The feedlot traces its roots back to the Gregory family that settled in the rich farmland in the early 1860’s. Today, the feedlot sits on the original homestead where Jim and David Gregory continue to raise livestock and farm. The feedlot has been in operation for over 35 years and produces a lot of great Certified Hereford Beef cattle.
Gregory Feedlots feeding capacity is around 8,000 head, and their lot capacities range from 50 to 250 head. The small pen sizes give them the opportunity to work with smaller feeders who would not otherwise be able to be served. Gregory Feedlots spares nothing when it comes to the design of their pens for animal welfare. Each pen is designed with slopes and concrete aprons for drainage and earthen mounds to help cattle achieve peak performance.
Gregory’s customers are as diverse as their lot capacities. Their customers come from all kinds of backgrounds and locations. A sample of their current customer mix includes ranchers wanting to owner retain their cattle, breeders improving their herd performance, investors, and farmers wanting to market their value added crops. Over the years, they have served customers from New York, Wyoming, and Mississippi. However, their bread and butter customers routinely come from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas.
Thinking about wanting to invest with cattle, but not sure how to start? They can help you with that, too. Gregory Feedlots provides a number of financing options including financing 70% of the purchase price of the cattle, or 100% of the feed cost. You can even take out options on the grain so you can store grain in advance, or purchase from Gregory with no storage costs. They will even go out and purchase cattle and partner with you!
David Trowbridge has been the manager of Gregory Feedlots since 1977. David is a Nebraska native where he graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. He’s always available to answer any questions.
David says they like Hereford genetics in their cattle because, “Today’s genetics in the Hereford breed will perform competitively with any other breed in the feedlot. Herefords will compete for top gains, conversions, and carcass quality.” David says Gregory Feedlots is increasing their number of white faced cattle because of their proven performance, and the ability of producers to receive a premium at the packer level. David adds, “Our location near Greater Omaha Packer and their commitment to the Certified Hereford Beef Brand is a great incentive to produce and feed whiteface cattle.”

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If you want to get in touch with David and see about putting some cattle in Gregory Feedlots, contact him at (712) 370-2205.

Keep Smiling,
LB

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Have a “BOLD” New Year

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Have a BOLD New Year

2015, the year of the resolution! I’m not sure a “resolution” is one of the characters in the Chinese calendar, but maybe it should be. At least that’s my positive, all-go, no quit, I can do anything I put my mind to attitude that I’m starting the new year off with. A blissful feeling engulfs me right up until vacation is over, and I find myself returning to work on a hectic, stressed, how many times can the phone ring in a day Monday. With the pressure on to perform, it’s not long before I’m thinking that I’m starving, and all hopes for a new start in the new year are dangling on my thoughts of, “just one warmed up blueberry doughnut isn’t going to wreck six days of working out!”
Sound familiar, right? I mean, we do the planning, we buy the new shoes, we buy the workout clothes…(When did I have to increase a size in basketball shorts?), maybe even some cool new headphones (I know, I know, all the cool kids call them Budz, but maybe mine actually are headphones.) Then, we wreck it the first chance we get. But, this time it’s going to be different we say. We read self-help books. We scan the crazy ads on our social media sites. (When did I look at hot pink ground effect lights for the cow trailer?) It’s a new year….it has to be better! Have no fear!!! Certified Hereford Beef is here to kick-start your diet goals with some information that will leave you feeling full and revved up to tackle anything.
In the wisdom of General Patton, you have to attack, attack, and attack! Did you know Patton was an old cavalry officer before he ever became one of our greatest generals? What’s a horse soldier have to do with New Year’s Resolutions? It’s simple….plan, plan, and plan! To be a good cavalry officer you have to be a great horseman, and to be a great horseman you have to look up while riding to plan where you are going. It’s the same thing with resolutions. You have to know where you are going so you can plan how to get there. You can’t have a successful attack, without having a good plan.
We know that 80 percent of accomplishing a goal is writing it down. Sure, if I could only write myself into a thinner body. Maybe it’s what we write down? The key is to be specific and realistic. Saying you want to lose a hundred pounds is such a cavernous abyss to jump, as per say, I want to lose a pound a week. And be realistic, you could write, “I want to average 5 miles a day”. But, if you go out and hit it too hard the first day, then you’re wrecked on the couch and sidelined till next year. Start slow and build up.
Now you have written down your goal, you are working out. Life’s great, right? Almost, but not quite yet. We still need to talk nutrition. Especially, the older we get. There used to be a time when I could think of losing weight and it would happen. Boy, has that changed. Nutrition, specifically what is in our diet, plays more into our weight loss goal. But, did you know that eating lean beef as part of a lean diet can help you reach those 2015 fitness goals in no time?
You don’t have to take my word for it. A team of researchers at Penn State University conducted a study comparing the DASH, BOLD, and BOLD +. The DASH diet is the gold standard of diets that Dr.’s recommend. You know- the scene where you are in for your checkup, and the Dr. talks to you about needing to trim a little weight and eat right. Then, his nurse hands you the diet specifications as you are leaving the office. (So I’ve heard.)
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It consists of plant protein, poultry, fish, and very little lean beef. By very little lean beef, you could almost say no beef. Not something appealing to a guy who spends a lot of time raising beef.
The researchers at Penn State tested DASH against BOLD, and BOLD +. BOLD stands for Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet and participants in the Penn State study consumed 19% of their total calories from beef protein. The BOLD + is the same but increases the amount of beef protein available from calories to 27%. (Now we’re talking about a diet I can get behind.) What do you think the results were? (Drum roll…) Beef as part of a lean diet was more effective than the standard DASH diet that is popular today. Just another bit of proof showing that beef is a nutritious part of a well-balanced diet. Also, the study noted that LDL “the bad cholesterol” was lowered by participants on the BOLD and BOLD + diets. (Double win!) Check out the studies highlights at this link: http://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/CMDocs/BIWFD/Bold/BOLDFactSheet.pdf.
Need some help figuring out how to implement beef protein into your diet to help you get lean? Then look over this site: http://www.beefnutrition.org/CMDocs/BeefNutrition/LeanOnBeefTipSheet.pdf. This tip sheet explains the 29 lean cuts of lean beef, and offers mouth-watering recipes that will have you enjoying great tasting beef while at the same time satisfying your appetite and still providing all the nutrients you need with less calories. Sounds just like the kinds of things that can help put your plan into action and enable you to attack that New Year’s resolution.
How did the BOLD diet perform under pressure? Well, that hectic almost reaching for the blueberry doughnut actually never happened. Oh, I assure you the Monday was mind-racking, way too fast-paced, and it could have worn the smile off of Mother Teresa. But, the flat iron steak salad I had for lunch still had me attacking the day and feeling better for not giving in to that 2:30 p.m. craving. Who knows maybe by next week I’ll be BOLD-ly running a marathon. (Ok, a couple of miles.) One thing for certain is that with lean beef as a part of our lean diet, this New Years resolution will be an easy plan for attack!

Happy BOLD New Year,
LB

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Merry Christmas From our Herd to Yours! Grand Meadows Farm – Rancher Spotlight

                                    December Rancher Spotlight: Grand Meadows Farm

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This month we shine our spotlight on Grand Meadows Farm, Ada, Michigan. Ada is located a few miles east of Grand Rapids and Grand Meadows Farm is located on the Grand River itself.
Trivia time- the Grand River is the longest running river in the state of Michigan at 252 miles. That’s about the length from the front gate of our ranch in Elmendorf, Texas to my uncle’s driveway in La Porte, Texas. The Native Americans who lived along the river before the French and British settlers named the river O-wash-ta-nong, which translates to “far-away-water”, and I bet that refers to the length.
As I’m writing today where I am at, it’s a frosty 50 degrees with grey skies; but, in Ada, Michigan, Grand Meadow Farms is at 29 degrees with snow and a winter advisory in effect. (Shotgun not putting out hay!) It just goes to show that there are farmers and ranchers all over America working to feed the people of the world no matter what the weather!
Grand Meadow Farms is a family operation owned by the Bielema’s that started in 2000. The farm started as a small operation as David and Jill Bielema’s daughters Lindsay, Kara, and Kristin began showing Herefords in 4-H, and in the words of David Bielema, “has morphed into something bigger!” Today the farm is a seedstock operation of a 100 head, but they do sell a few show steers and heifers, some freezer beef, and contribute cattle to Great Lakes Hereford Beef.

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Great Lakes Hereford Beef is a stocker operation that David started in 2009. Their mission is to pool Hereford influenced feeder calves from the Michigan area, thus providing price support by selling cattle to feedlots, and offering an entry for Michigan cattle into the Certified Hereford Beef program. Be sure to pick up a copy of the March issue of Hereford World to learn more about stocker operations and hear more about Great Lakes Hereford Beef.

David says their family chose Herefords initially because of their docility. However, after that they recognize Hereford cattle are leaders in fertility, efficiency, and the ability to compliment other breeds. Remember, Herefords are known as the “great improvers.”
Grand Meadows Farm has learned three things from their past–pencil it out, things are always changing, and keep your eye on the ball (or in this case the bull). Pencil it out meaning to sit down and think things through, figure out the return versus the cost, and the level of risk involved. Do you need to spend $200,000.00 to make $5,000.00? Sounds like a good rule of thumb for any business.

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Things are always changing, to quote John F. Kennedy, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” The way we raise cattle today is more efficient than the way we raised cattle 20 years ago, and I bet you it will be more efficient in the next 20 years. Do more with less is how we think, and is the reason why farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of the land.
Keep your eye on the ball/bull. The bull can make or break your operation. Too much waste and you’ll get a lesser price. If he’s not in the best of shape your pregnancy rates plummet. Is your bull current by industry standards today, but more importantly does he fit your operation? Your cows are changing just like time so make sure your bull changes with them. The best bull for your operation is the one that “improves” it the most. All three points are great take-aways as an operation looks forward.
If David could make a point to a non-agriculture background person, then he would make two. First, “farmers are the best stewards” and second, “it takes work to make food.” David, you could sure say that again. But, like a lot of farmers and ranchers your actions speak louder than words! For example, stewardship and work are exemplified by the thousands of farmers and ranchers like yourself who are out in the cold checking their stock, ensuring they have food, water, and shelter. I wonder if the person leaving their car running as they bound into the corner store in bad weather realizes there is a person in that same weather making sure the pipeline of food keeps coming. I sure hope they do!
Grand Meadow Farms has brought the Bielema’s a lot of enjoyment. They have had the opportunity to see their children grow up learning the values of an agricultural lifestyle, and enjoying the accomplishments of hard work and dedication. Much like a lot of us that have grown up that way, we look to leave the world a little better than we found it. Nothing teaches that better than a little sweat and dirt applied for a goal.
We thank Grand Meadows Farm for being this month’s Rancher Spotlight. We appreciate them and all the others just like them that are helping to promote the Hereford breed, and at the same time make the world a better place.

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We at Certified Hereford Beef want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as we launch into 2015. Keep Rolling!!

Feliz Navidad,
LB

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christmas time is a coming! Oh, Christmas time is a coming. However, if you’ve been a rancher for the last few years then your song for December has probably been the Merle Haggard classic “If We Make It Through December”!! But, this year hopefully your Christmas is more of Jimmy Stewart’s greatest movie ever “It’s A Wonderful Life”!! We have seen some pretty bleak years and we still say our prayers for the ones the wolves pulled down. But for those of us that were able to hang on, we’ve seen some record numbers in prices. Those prices are forecasted to stick around for a few years. And, if you throw in the strong consumer demand for high quality Certified Hereford Beef, then the future looks pretty bright.

Certified Hereford Beef had a record breaking year. For starters, this year we experienced a 2% growth and sold over 50 million pounds of delicious Hereford beef. Craig Huffhines, American Hereford Association executive vice president says, “CHB continues to gain market share despite tight cattle supplies, record high beef prices, and somewhat stagnant beef promotion due to the wide price spreads between beef and competing proteins.”

CHB’s staff along with the program’s marketing partners have been putting in the miles showing the advantages of CHB product in marketing differentiation when compared to “Angus brands,” along with the fact that Certified Hereford Beef is a consistently tender, juicy and flavorful beef product. These advantages are fueling the brand’s advance in both food service and retail markets.

In 2014, food service showed tremendous growth opportunity for Certified Hereford Beef. Newly licensed distributorships include: Sysco, St Louis, MO; Ocean Beauty, Boise, Idaho; Santa Rosa Meat Company, Santa Rosa, CA; Sysco International (Florida, export to Caribbean, Central and South America); and Agri-Foods, Miami, FL (export consolidator).

So, how do we get the cattle for all these new markets? 2014 saw Certified Hereford Beef staff focusing on developing a feeding network and supply chain communication program. This effort has helped increase Greater Omaha Packing Co. LLC cattle volume by 15.4% identified and 18.2% certified. Greater Omaha is near slaughtering 2,000 head a week for the CHB program with the goal of reaching 2,300 per week on a regular basis.

All those cattle numbers required to supply the CHB program are continuing to create demand for Hereford and Hereford-English bald face cattle. A total of 362,624 cattle were identified through CHB-licensed packing facilities during 2014 as eligible from a live specification standpoint, while more than 267,967 carcasses were certified for the program resulting in a certification rate of 74% for 2014.

With all the success 2014 brought, things only look better for 2015. In fact, we are starting things off with a bang because Certified Hereford Beef is turning 20 years old in 2015. To celebrate, we are taking a look at who we are with a special series titled “Farm to Fork” that will be featured in the Hereford World starting in January. Then, each month up until the birthday celebration in October we will feature how Certified Hereford Beef makes its way from the farm, through the supply chain, and ends at the consumer’s plate. In 2015 we will also be looking to expand our great relationship with Sysco’s, increasing our supply chain, educating more consumers through awareness, and growing our exports. Yep, 2015 is going to be a great year!

If you are reading this, then you are a part of something great with Certified Hereford Beef and it is only going to get better! We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Feliz Navidad,

LB

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We give thanks for hardworking ranchers like the – Van Newkirk’s

November Rancher Spotlight: Van Newkirk Herefords- “It’s a great life. There’s nothing better.”

2nd in Nation in Dams of Distinction

Happy Thanksgiving! Well, we at CHB hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and were able to spend it with the ones you cherish most. Hopefully, you passed on the tryptophan induced top button on your jeans undone coma, and opted for something like a CHB peppered beef tenderloin. (If you need a recipe for your next gathering check with my brother Andrew, he’s perfected the best one I’ve ever had!) Remember, a steak goes great with green bean casserole leftovers.

This month our Rancher Spotlight is brought to us by Van Newkirk Herefords located in the Sand Hills of Oshkosh, Nebraska. The ranch has operated for over a 122 years and is a cow-calf operation of 450 purebred Hereford seed stock. The ranch is operated by Joe and Cyndi Van Newkirk, with their son Kolby and his wife Meg, along with help from Nick and Sara Van Newkirk. They employ one top-hand cowboy, Travis Kezar, who has rode for the brand for ten years. The Van Newkirk’s refer to Travis as “part of the family, and he is so quiet and gentle around the cattle.”

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The ranch dates back to 1892, and in 2017 will celebrate a 125 years in operation using Herefords. (Amazing!) The ranch raises all its own feed, their cows graze on native grass, cornstalk residues, hay, and none of the calves are creep fed. I could tell you more about this proud Nebraska ranch, but Cyndi Newkirk has authored the ranch’s story better than I could ever relate and so we are proud to post her work for the spotlight.

“Hanging today above the auction block at Van Newkirk Herefords is an oxbow, commemorating a journey undertaken by Joe Van Newkirk’s great-grandparents just after the Civil War.

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In a wagon pulled by oxen, John and Lizzy Van Newkirk left their farm in Pennsylvania and made their way across the Great Plains. They stopped about 1,500 miles later in western Nebraska’s Garden County, taking up residence on a piece of land under the Homestead Act of 1862. That’s where their son L.D.—Joe’s grandfather—was born.

While helping his father raise workhorses, L.D. began working for Bratt & Company, one of the famous sprawling early ranches of Nebraska’s Sand Hills region. “He was a John Bratt cowboy,” Joe says. “But he wanted to raise cattle of his own.”

Bratt, an Englishman, kept a massive herd of Longhorn cattle, and L.D. saved his wages to buy a few of his own. But he also wanted to improve the breed’s looks and efficiency, and make it more suitable to the region’s climate. So to cover the trademark speckles and bulk up their lean frames, L.D. began breeding Longhorns with the darkest red Herefords he could find. Unlike Longhorns, Hereford cattle were still relatively new to the United States. But just as L.D. was selecting his first cows in the 1890s, Herefords began to boom across the Midwest. With heavy bones, thick hide, and an ability to put on weight quickly, the efficient and high-yield animal was the perfect improvement to the tough, lean Longhorn.

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In the 1940s, with the purchase of five registered Hereford heifers, Joe’s father A.J. launched Van Newkirk Herefords. Joe inherited and continues that legacy, running what is today a renowned seed-stock operation of horned Herefords on 10,000 acres located just south of his great-grandfather’s original tract.

The unique geography of the Sand Hills is a defining feature of Nebraskan cattle country. Van Newkirk Herefords lies on the edge of the Sand Hills near Oshkosh, and its cattle graze there during the summer. “It’s all sand, with tall prairie grasses growing on it,” Joe says. “It’s not real strong or nutritious grass, but there’s a lot of it.” To the west, the North Platte River Valley provides plenty of grass for winter, augmented by crop residue and alfalfa hay, the latter provided only during calving season.

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Van Newkirk Herefords is known for its top-quality Hereford bulls with deep bodies, heavy muscles, easy-going dispositions, and good looks. Beef efficiency, eye appeal, and moderate birth weights for easy calving are the qualities Joe looks for. At the ranch’s annual bull and female sale each January, about 40 elite yearling bulls, 120 purebred heifer calves, and 120 two-year-old bulls are auctioned to buyers from all over the country.

The Van Newkirk’s prize persistence, dependability, and efficiency, and these values have been proven over the years. “In the 1980s we struggled,” Joe says. “Everybody decided to make their cows black, and the Herefords lost a lot of market share. But we knew our cattle were good, and although it would have been pretty easy to change breeds during that time frame, we decided to stick with them and build our cowherd up. We were persistent in making our cattle better and more efficient, and that’s what it took to stay in the business.”

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Van Newkirk Herefords is continually striving to improve the operation, using an efficient center-pivot irrigation system that pumps from the plentiful Ogallala Aquifer, which provides groundwater from just 15 to 20 feet down. Joe also embraces new technologies for artificial insemination and carcass testing, including ultrasounds that assess each crop of calves, detecting the marbling of a rib eye without having to wait until slaughter. That information is used in decisions about which calves to keep in the herd, and is also furnished to customers to help them make selections using the same data. Genetic testing is also on the horizon, and Joe expects it will continue to improve and shape the way seed-stock operations assess EPDs.

But the backbone of the ranch is still those highly traditional methods that can’t be distilled down to science, such as cowboys on horseback and old-fashioned intuition. If L.D. were to see the ranch today, “He would just be floored with the quality of the cattle,” Joe says with a laugh. “And the amount of feed raised on the same number of acres that he farmed all those years ago. Things are so much more efficient now. Through technology and bigger machinery, we can do with three of us what he would have needed six hired men to do.”

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Joe and his wife, Cyndi, work side-by-side on the business together; and recently, Joe’s youngest son Kolby graduated from the University of Nebraska and returned home. He’ll be the next link in the generations-long chain of this family ranch. Keeping the legacy in the Van Newkirk family “makes everything worth it,” Joe says with a smile. “It’s a great life. There’s nothing better.””

I told you, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s not every day you come across a business that has been operating for over a 120 years (soon to be 125), but after reading the Van Newkirk story you can see why. They definitely have the formula for success down: know your history + be forward thinking + be adaptable + practice stewardship + use only the best Certified Hereford Beef = at least another 125 years of success! Thank you to the Van Newkirk’s for sharing their place with us, and we wish them all the best. Stay safe out there shopping today.

Adios,

LB

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Happy Beef Giving

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Happy Beef Giving

Wow, time seems to go a little faster every year! It wasn’t even a full 24 hours after Halloween this year before I saw my first Christmas lights. Maybe we are just ready to be in celebration mode….after all, the elections went well- right? But, in the words of my favorite ventriloquist character Maclovio, “Wait….I’m not ready!” I’m not ready for fighting through crowds, standing in long lines while watching somebody’s child slobber all over the 5 Hour Power I was just about to buy to help me through the travesty of holiday shopping.

Then, is what you are buying the person really going to mean that much to them? Will they remember the heated hand warmers came from you because you thought they’d by nifty while duck hunting this season? Or, will they just end up as some trinket in a junk drawer never to be used? Seriously, I will never be caught using that shake weight, or hideous man bag that someone once bought me as Christmas gifts. Yes, it’s nice to be thought of, but this year if you are going to go to the effort of purchasing a Christmas gift then why not make it special?

What says “special” in a world where we already have too much stuff? Really, if you’re anything like me if you don’t start making some room you might have to consider opening your place up to an episode of American Pickers before the county steps in. (Mike and Frank….if you are reading this I have some great oil cans I’d be willing to part with for letting me use one of your Indian motorcycles to take Danielle out on a ride!) I find the most special moments for me are often times gathered around with family and friends sharing meal. What’s the perfect way to help someone create that special occasion memory, or tell them just how much you appreciate them being in your life? Why, a holiday delivery of nutritious, amazingly tender, and nutritious Certified Hereford Beef would surely let somebody know just how much they mean to you and how much you care. This holiday season make an order through our friends at L&C Meats for a holiday gift box of Hereford beef that is sure to be the most cherished gift of the year for anyone.

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Hereford Beef is the perfect gift for anybody. Take for example the business person by day and cave man by night persona like myself. For me, (and I’m dropping a hint here to any friends) the holiday box of rib-eyes are perfect for celebrating (surviving) those long days at the office. Nothing says winner like grilling your own rib-eye, pouring a tall cool frosty beverage, and saying goodbye to the day with every flavorful bite (a meal so good that I actually turn off ESPN just to let the atmosphere of that steak take over).

Not shopping for the cave man? No worries- try L&C’s strip steaks for those yoga/crossfit, has to be “natural and lean” or nothing connoisseur’s. They will appreciate you recognizing their commitment and embrace the thought of you caring as they make their strip steak salads and 21 meals for the week on Sunday evening.

But wait LB, I am shopping for a vegan! Have no fear! We have the perfect solution for that person, too! Remember we’re all sinners, and we can all use a little guidance back to the path from time to time. If you follow this blog you know the benefits of beef in a nutritious healthy lifestyle. Believe it or not, more and more vegans are giving up their non-animal protein ways and returning to the meat eaters we are meant to be. However, you have to broach this subject delicately as it’s something they have to come to on their own. I have seen Dr. Pepper and Candy Crush addicts accept intervention easier than vegans opening up about their no meat choice, so tread easier than a wiley-eyed green broke colt riding past their first rattlesnake, or things could go south faster than Wendy Davis’s bid for Texas Governor. You have to know your target audience, but I’d suggest Googling, “Why I started eating meat again.” The search will find you an example of every type of vegan that’s converted back to meat, and why they made the difficult decision. I will let you guess which one is my favorite. But, I’d print out the article you choose and mail with your Christmas card. Then when the L&C Christmas package shows up have the card read, “Just in case you were thinking about changing.” Be sure and let us know of any success stories!

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Do not get caught up in the commercialism and forget the spirit of the holiday season. Remember, it’s about being around the ones that we love, being thankful for them and our blessings, and enjoying each other’s company. Life is too short, so make an impression and a memory that you and others will cherish. Certified Hereford Beef and L&C Meats are happy to help you make this year’s holidays a success. But, whatever you choose for your celebrations remember to tell the ones you love that you love them, never miss an opportunity to catch up with friends, and be thankful for the blessings in your life.

You can place your order with L&C Meats at this link: http://www.lcmeats.com/certified-hereford-beef.php or buy searching http://www.herefordbeef.org – “Where to buy” also check out the Hereford website for some great holiday recipe ideas. My favorite is the Three Pepper Tenderloin Roast.

If we don’t see you down the road, then travel safe till we do and have a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year from our house to yours!

Adios,

LB

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