BIF announces Seedstock, Commercial Producer award finalists

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

BIF announces Seedstock, Commercial Producer award finalists

The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) has announced finalists for its Seedstock and Commercial Producer awards. Both developed in 1972, the Seedstock Producer Award recognizes outstanding seedstock producers across the continent while the Commercial Producer Award recognizes commercial producers for their dedication to improving the beef industry at the commercial level. Both awards are sponsored by Drovers.

Finalists for this year’s Seedstock Producer Award are Adams Angus Farm, Union Springs, Alabama; Red Hill Farms, Lafayette, Tennessee; and Schrader Ranch, Wells, Kansas.

In 1939, Adams Angus Farm began with the purchase of three registered Angus heifers. Eighty-five years later, Adams Angus continues into the fourth generation in southeast Alabama, managing approximately 165 Angus cows in a 90-day, fall-calving season. A 70-cow cooperator herd network is also utilized to multiply Adams genetics.

While participating in many bull sales and tests throughout its history, Adams Angus is now hosting its own production bull sale on the first Saturday in January and the “Maternal Gems” Female Sale, a premier sale in the southeast for elite Angus females. Annually, Adams Angus will market approximately 80 yearling bulls, 30 fall calving pairs, and a direct-to-consumer, pasture-raised Angus freezer beef program.

Adams Angus applies genomic testing, artificial insemination, embryo transfer, and in-vitro fertilization combined with functional measurements to advance their genetics forward. Adams Angus is also a part of the American Angus Association’s Maternal Plus program to help capture data for cow longevity and efficiency selection tools.

Red Hill Farms is a seventh generation, diversified family farm located in north-central Tennessee and south-central Kentucky.

Before entering the cattle seedstock business, RHF developed a successful swine seedstock operation selling boars into more than 30 states and foreign countries, particularly Japan. In 2002, Red Angus foundation cows were purchased. Simmental were added in 2004, Angus in 2010 and Charolais in 2018. The herd consists of 500 mature cows equally divided between spring and fall calving seasons. The cattle operation uses artificial insemination, embryo transfer, extensive performance records and DNA analysis to produce bulls and females for three annual cattle sales hosted in March, May and October.

The mission at Red Hill Farms is to be good stewards of the land, promote excellent animal husbandry practices, give back to the community and provide superior genetic products to increase customer profitability and enhance consumer appeal of U.S. beef and pork.

Schrader Ranch is located near Wells, Kansas, and is owned and managed by Spencer and Laci Schrader and their two children, Weston and Josi. Tucked between the Smoky Hills and Flint Hills of north central Kansas, it consists of more than 4,000 acres of leased and owned native grass prairie that is conducive to cow-calf production.

The family got its start in the fall of 1999 when an opportunity was presented to lease a ranch in Ottawa County. Over the next 25 years, the cow herd grew from less than 20 head to more than 450 head. Initially, the herd primarily consisted of commercial cows, which were used as custom recipients, and the home feedlot was utilized to start and back-ground high-risk calves originating from the Southeast.

Today, more than 75% of the herd are registered Charolais and Sim/Angus females. A group of about 100 commercial cows are used as recipient females for the ranch’s embryo program. Schrader Ranch markets roughly 120 bulls annually, with most being sold through their spring sale held on the third Tuesday in March. While cull animals and commercial progeny either are sent to a feedyard or fed at the ranch to support the growing freezer beef business started by the Schrader family, a few select females are offered through national sale consignments.

The winner of the Seedstock Producer Award will be announced during the BIF Symposium Awards Luncheon Wednesday, June 12.

Commercial Producer Award finalists are Fenco Farms, Floral City, Florida; Paxton Ranch, Stapleton, Nebraska; and Roth Farm & Ranch, Sterling, Kansas.

Jim & Lynda Fenton, founders of Fenco Farms, have a longstanding involvement in Florida agriculture beginning in the citrus industry and expanding into the strawberry business, all the while maintaining a cattle herd.

As markets changed and the citrus industry took a hit, the Fentons quickly pivoted and capitalized on the opportunity to expand their cattle operation and they now run cattle on multiple properties in central Florida as well as in south Georgia.

For more than 30 years, the Fentons have always pioneered the use of cutting-edge technology and have applied that to their 2,000-plus head of commercial Brangus cattle, 100 club calf cows and more than 300 registered Brangus cows.

The Fentons focus their efforts on being a progressive, data-driven cattle production operation, producing a high-quality product and capturing information that improves their own operation as well as helps propel the beef industry forward.

Paxton Ranch, located in the Nebraska Sandhills, is owned and operated by John and Jessica Warren, along with their son, Joel. The ranch was established in 1933 by Jessica’s father, Chester Paxton. The operation now consists of 40,000 deeded acres and a 10,000-acre grazing permit in the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, Nebraska.

Originally a Hereford operation, they began using Red Angus genetics in the early 1970s. The 2,000-head commercial Red Angus herd has a strong maternal focus, especially important in the operation’s heifer development program.

Paxton Ranch manages market risk by marketing through several venues at various times. For the past 15 years, they’ve consigned bred heifers to the Cross Diamond Cattle Co. sale. The top group of feeder heifers are consigned to the Superior Livestock Auction Bighorn Classic and other feeders are sold to Darr Feedlot. The Warren’s primary focus is to sustain a profitable ranching operation and make it possible for the next generation to carry forward.

Roth Farm & Ranch began in 1899 with the purchase of a quarter section of farm ground southwest of Sterling, Kansas. Today, Norman and Cindy Roth, along with their daughter, Cami, and son, Colton, are the fourth and fifth generations to operate at this location. The family business consists of a 250-head commercial SimAngus cows and a small, registered Simmental herd, as well as a 2,600-acre dryland farming operation. The Roths select maternally oriented Angus genetics and crossbreed with terminal Simmental bulls to capture the value of heterosis.

Calves are backgrounded and marketed at the local sale barn in February. Twice as many replacement heifers as needed are artificially inseminated to Angus bulls each year. Half are retained for the Roth herd, with the remainder being sold as 2-year-old pairs in a local female sale.

A small fall herd calves in September. The Roth family produces most of their bulls from their registered Simmental herd. Those not retained are sold private treaty.

The winner of the Commercial Producer Award will be announced during the BIF Symposium Awards Luncheon Tuesday, June 11.

BIF will host its 56th Annual Beef Improvement Federation Symposium June 10-13 in Knoxville, Tennessee. For a complete schedule and registration information, visit .

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