BIF announces Commercial and Seedstock Producers of the Year
The Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) is proud to announce the 2013 Commercial and Seedstock Producers of the Year. Earning the Commercial Producer of the Year is Darnall Ranch, Inc. owned by Gary Darnall and managed by Gary and his son Lane Darnall of Harrisburg, NE.
Darnall Ranch Inc. is a family-owned cow/calf operation, feedlot and farm located in the Panhandle of Nebraska, 30 miles southeast of Scottsbluff, NE. The ranch was originally homesteaded in 1889 by Scott Darnall and incorporated in 1973. The operation has been in the family for 124 years. Mattie Darnall is third generation, Gary and Emilie Darnall are fourth generation, Lane and Robin Darnall along with Bob and Lisa (Darnall) Brenner are fifth generation, with sixth and seventh generations living and working on the ranch.
Darnall Ranch began over 40 years ago from 150 Hereford cows, 1,400 acres of farm ground and by selling their calves at weaning. Today, the cow herd consists of 1,700 commercial Angus females utilizing SimAngus bulls which produce 300-400 replacement heifers annually.
Bulls are developed using EPDs, genomics and the Grow Safe system. The balance of Darnall Ranch offspring are fed out in the 22,500-head Certified Angus Beef commercial feed lot with records of conversion, rate of gain, grade and yield, along with a profitability analysis each year.
Twenty-five thousand acres of grassland, 2,400 acres of irrigated and 4,700 acres of dry land farm ground are used to grow the feedstuffs to help support the cow/calf, yearling, and feedlot operations. The cow herd calves in February and March with the first-calf heifers calving two weeks before the cowherd and 75 percent of the calves being born in the first 30 days. Darnall Ranch strives to use the land and cattle as an efficient and economical multi-generational agribusiness. Darnell Ranch was proudly nominated by the Nebraska Cattlemen.
The BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year is Bradley 3 Ranch, owned and managed by Mary Lou Bradley-Henderson, Minnie Lou Bradley, and James Henderson of Memphis, TX. Bradley 3 Ranch was started in 1955 with the purchase of 20 registered Angus cows. Today, the herd is one of the few Angus herds in the country that has maintained over 200 registered Angus cows for more than fifty years.
Early on, the Bradleys were committed to a disciplined approach to performance. As one of the first members of the American Beef Cattle Performance Registry, they maintained an emphasis on performance that is still the foundation of the herd today.
Bradley 3 Ranch is home to 400 registered Angus cows and 35 registered Charolais cows. The Charolais cows were added in 2009 to offer customers a cross breeding opportunity.
All of the cows calve in a fall calving season and in normal moisture years, the only supplemental feed is protein supplement. They do not creep feed. The ranch is located in the southeast part of the Texas Panhandle. Much of the ranch is rough with canyons, draws, mesquite and cedar trees. To complicate matters, the natural water on the ranch is very “gypy” and makes it difficult to introduce new genetics.
In 1986, the Bradleys started B3R Country Meats. In the following 16 years, they built the allnatural meat company to a 125-per-day harvest facility that harvested over 30,000 head in 2002, the year it was sold. Customers were both beef producers and beef consumers.
The beef producers were part of one of the earliest value-based marketing systems in the U.S. The experience gained at B3R Country Meats lends to a strong emphasis on muscle in their cattle today. Bradley 3 Ranch was proudly nominated by the Texas Angus Association. — Dr. Bob Hough