Kansas Feedyard Honored by Certified Angus Beef
Story and photos by Morgan Boecker
September 22, 2021
Much of the cattle feeding business is outside of a manager’s control, but quality cattle caretaking is one thing Kendall Hopp can guarantee.
He plans for the volatile, hopes for the best and deals with the rest as it comes. The first thing on his list begins with treating people right. Hopp knows happy folks manage cattle more consistently, leading to healthy livestock that perform.
Different skillsets make Shaw Feedyard thrive. Hopp manages the feedyard, Bill Shaw handles the books and his son Brett Shaw takes care of the farm, stockers and other duties as assigned.
Their teamwork, values and ability to consistently raise high-quality beef earned Shaw Feedyard the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) 2021 Feedyard Commitment to Excellence Award.
The 7,500 head feedyard is in an area Hopp likens to Main Street for prime cattle country.
Just 45 miles from two major packing plants in Dodge City, with a network of quality-minded cattlemen nearby, Shaw Feedyard fits the locality like a trendy restaurant downtown. The climate is favorable for keeping pens of fed steers and heifers comfortable and thriving.
They’re surrounded by rich grain resources, chopping silage and grain from their own fields. Any outside feeds – like hay, wet distillers grains and corn – are sourced within a hundred-mile radius.
Like the restaurant, if they can’t sell a good plate, there won’t be a customer tomorrow. As a custom feeder, it takes the right genetics (or ingredients), and Hopp focuses on making them reach their full potential.
It’s a different sense of local. Accessing their supply and supporting the state economies until harvest, when much of their beef is shipped to higher populated areas.
“It’s our job to feed strangers,” Brett says. “It’s not a burden because I know the beef that we’re putting in front of them is a consistent, efficient, sustainable product. And it will be for generations to come.”
Handled with care
Everyone at Shaw’s specializes in individualized cattle care where comfort is a priority. The pens are kept clean, dry and stocked with freshwater giving them everything they need to convert feed to beef.
It’s vital to both customer and cattle management. Healthy animals are crucial to performance, and as a custom-feeding yard, their reputation for top-notch management keeps the pens full.
Everyone at the yard is Beef Quality Assurance certified. It’s their guarantee that animals have been well taken care of and will produce a good product.
A mix of human touch and technology power the yard today. Steam-flaked rations, mixer trucks, GPS monitors, a consulting veterinarian, nutritionist, digital data and reporting support the Shaw crew in their mission for quality.
It’s not unusual to see pens grade 100% Choice with a high percentage meeting CAB and Prime.
“Certified Angus Beef provides the best consistency of any product I’ve seen,” Brett says. “And that’s a direct result of how we handle our cattle.”
They are just one piece of the larger puzzle that supplies premium beef, but hitting the high target is no accident. For the team at Shaw, it’s intentional management, planning each day to do their best for each other and the livestock.
“If we can do that consistently,” Bill says. “We know we’ll keeping feeding cattle.”
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Much of the cattle feeding business is outside a manager’s control. But quality cattle caretaking, that Kendall Hopp can guarantee. He plans for the volatile, hopes for the best, and deals with the rest as it comes. The first thing on his list begins with treating people right because Hopp knows happy folks manage cattle more consistently, leading to healthy cattle that perform.