It’s a labor of love, obvious in the way she lights up explaining their family’s 33-year effort to proactively adapt Angus cows to their land. A lifetime of telling stories from the pasture or kitchen has resonated with nonfarm consumers as much as fellow ranchers. “Everything we do is about cattle, but it’s also about family and connecting our kids to the land and to the cattle,” Debbie Lyons-Blythe says.
The Bootheel 7 brand that marks the hips of the Wasserburger’s cow herd could stand for the seven state wrestling titles held between three boys in the fourth generation, but that mark far predates their competitive drive. It’s been the brand carried by Wassserburgers looking for the ‘W’ since the homesteading era.
Cow work, genetic improvements and breeding plans are on the table for hours because building the perfect cow takes constant adjustments to the plans they lay out. The Larsons are working on a masterpiece that moves their families and customers closer to “best” every day. Their determined journey toward elusive perfection helped Larson Angus Ranch earn the CAB 2022 Seedstock Commitment to Excellence award.
Diversification proved to be key in evolving the ranch. What began as an Angus-based commercial herd, the trio took signals from the data and sought new avenues for revenue. The Woolfolk men have a target: creating more high-quality, profitable cattle. As for how to get there? They’ll continue to follow the numbers.
First-generation seedstock producers Kevin and Lydia Yon, along with their children, Drake, Sally, and Corbin, have been continuously improving their farm since they drove the first fence posts on what was a 100-acre abandoned peach orchard in 1996.
Ross Humphreys’ adept gait tells of many days in and out of the saddle checking his herd, fence lines, water tanks, and grass availability. Yet at 72, he can still drop down and roll under the barbed wire fence quicker than most men half his age. But Humphreys is not your typical cowboy. He’s a chemist, book publisher, family guy, conservationist, and rancher.
The pastures at Dalebanks Angus near Eureka, Kan., hide the plants’ challenge well. Native big and little bluestem adapted over the ages to thrive in the shallow soil, only a few inches deep in places, that blankets the underlying limestone. Shards of flint mingle with the roots.
Two fishing cabins stood on the edge of the San Marcos river in 1919. Sixty years later Bodey Langford connected the two, as brick-by-brick, he built a home where he and Kathy would raise daughters Anna and Callie. There on his late father’s ranch near Lockhart, Texas, he also built his herd with purpose.