Top Producers Honored at Red Angus Association of America Awards Banquet
DENVER – Passion and hard work are common denominators on many cattle farms and ranches. Producers who rise above the rest are dedicated to pushing boundaries and managing their cattle and resources towards positive returns in any market environment. The Red Angus Association of America honored these superior producers at its 65th annual awards banquet in Watertown, South Dakota, on Sept. 14, 2018.
The Breeder of the Year Award is presented to members who maintain an excellent standard of quality in breeding Red Angus cattle. Wedel Red Angus, owned and operated by Frank and Susan Wedel of Leoti, Kansas, is the 2018 recipient of this award. The Wedels have been breeding Red Angus for more than 25 years and are firm believers in multi-trait improvement. Their success comes from stringent, no-exceptions standards for all females in the herd and with the bulls they sell to commercial producers. Innovation is also part of the Wedel program. Interest in improving feed efficiency led to the installation of a GrowSafe system in 2015, allowing individual feed intake records to be collected and submitted annually to the RAAA database. Their ultimate goal is to stay focused on the animal in the feedyard so they remain focused on how to improve that animal through their genetics, ultimately serving their customers, and the beef industry, to the fullest extent.
The Pioneer Breeder of the Year Award honors long-time members of the Red Angus Association of America who have maintained quality and excellence in their herds through diligent breeding practices. Gary and Elaine Sonstegard of Sonstegard Cattle Company in Montevideo, Minnesota, started their Red Angus career as commercial producers in 1973. However, after realizing the value of the breed and the opportunity it presented, they transitioned to a completely purebred operation in the late 1980s. Additionally, Gary has been a supportive and dedicated member to state and national Red Angus associations, twice serving on the RAAA Board of Directors. The Sonstegards’ commitment to Red Angus has benefited the breed over multiple decades and set a great example for other members to follow.
The Commercial Producer of the Year Award is presented to producers who successfully utilize Red Angus genetics on their farm or ranch. Recipients also have demonstrated a history of employing Red Angus commercial marketing tools, such as the Feeder Calf Certification Program, to add increased value to their calf crop. In 2018, three commercial producers were recognized as leaders in the commercial Red Angus industry.
Yance Farms – Jim and Jessica Yance of JYJ Red Angus, Columbia, Alabama, have been utilizing Red Angus genetics for more than 20 years. Their focus has been to produce high-performing, efficient and maternally productive cattle. Additionally, a commitment to carcass quality improvement has led them to receive multiple RAAA Grid Master awards, which recognizes operations that combine Red Angus genetics with feeding management skills and marketing to achieve success. Their dedication to creating sound, functional cattle has paid off as they are establishing a solid reputation in Superior Livestock Auction’s southeast offering every summer. They are proud users of the Red Angus FCCP and continually support the RAAA to help further the breed’s influence.
Toedtli Ranch – Since the late 1980s, the focus of the Toedtli Ranch, managed by Doug and Joe Hatch, has been on creating a functional Red Angus cowherd that can work in the ranch’s environment of northeast Colorado. Doug and Joe attest that their calves are a product of intense management of genetics, nutrition and marketing. Their goal is to have repeat buyers of their functional, high-performing Top Dollar Angus-verified calves. Through their utilization of RAAA marketing programs, including FCCP tags, they continue to achieve this goal while propelling their calves to the top of the video market year after year. They are also multiple-time winners of the prestigious RAAA Grid Master award.
Rossi Ranches – Mike and Sandi Rossi have been ranching for more than 40 years, utilizing exclusively Red Angus genetics for the past two decades. They have heavily incorporated carcass EPDs into their cowherd and have been some of the early pioneers in researching bulls with feed efficiency data. This attention to detail and commitment to EPD use has led them to multiple Grid Master Awards. Their calves consistently top the market on both Western Video Market and Superior Livestock auctions. They are avid supporters of the Red Angus FCCP and Top Dollar Angus and strive to attract repeat buyers of their high-performing Red Angus calves.