During the 47th Beef Improvement Federation Annual Meeting and Research Symposium in Biloxi, Miss., two Kansas beef operations were recognized for leading excellence in the seedstock and commercial cattle business. McCurry Angus Ranch of Burton was named the 2015 Seedstock Producer of the Year and Woodbury Farms of Quenemo was named 2015 Commercial Producer of the Year. Each year, BIF honors high caliber cattle operations for their successful and progressive cattle business management strategies.
McCurry Angus Ranch – Seedstock Producer of the Year
The family operation owned by Andy and Mary McCurry, their son, John, and his wife, Melody. McCurry's got their start on their south central Kansas ranch in the late 70's with, "no land, no facilities, and no equipment," and a foundation of seven registered Angus females. Today the operation has been expanded to 400 head of fall and spring Angus cows, and 250 spring commercial cows. McCurry's have invested genetic technologies into their operation, and keep 150 commercial Angus cows in Buffalo, S.D. in their embryo transfer program, and market around 175 bulls a year through a spring sale and private treaty. The McCurry Angus home ranch consists of 2,000 acres, with the operation sending cattle to the Flint Hills region to graze on satellite operations in two different counties.
In 2004, John returned back to the operation after graduating from college and the ranch began to expand. Currently, John works as the manager.
"The firsthand knowledge of developing a business from the ground up, with no external financial backers of financial means beyond themselves, had provided the McCurry's with a unique insight of the overall business structure required for profitability and sustainability," says the BIF ranch bio.
Woodbury Farms – Commercial Producer of the Year
Owned by the Fred H. Woodbury Family and operated Howard and John Woodbury, Woodbury Farms sits on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills region. In 1881, Fred purchased the first 80 acres for the operation. Today, Woodbury Farms spans across four counties of 5,000 acres of grassland and 400 acres of cropland. The fourth generation ranch has a commercial cowherd of 175 registered Angus cows and 225 head of commercial Angus black baldies. The ranch also has a handful of red baldies that trace back to Hereford genetics.
"The Woodbury's market calved through many avenues. All calved are backgrounded after weaning, with a majority of the steers being sold through the local sale barn," says the BIF ranch bio. "About 1/3 of the heifer calves are retained for replacements and a majority of the remainder are sold in a production sale in March, along with about 40 yearling bulls from the registered herd."
After calves are backgrounded on the Flint Hills native pastures, they are finished at a commercial feedyard. The Woodbury's are able to collect performance data on their calves to continue to select for genetic improvements. This has helped them be successful competitors in the Flint Hills Beef Fest carcass contests, winning the steer carcass contest in 2012.
"With a long-standing tradition behind them, the Woodbury's are focused on continuing the operation in the next generation," says the BIF bio.
McCurry Angus Ranch and Woodbury Farms were nominated by the Kansas Livestock Association
Seedstock Producer of the Year Award Nominees
Journagan Ranch/Missouri State University, Mountain Grove, Missouri
Owner: Missouri State University
Manager: Mary Lueck
Prairie View Farms, Gridley, Illinois
Owners/Managers: Alan and Theresa Miller and family
CK Cattle, Hope Hull, Alabama
Owners: Chuck and Katie Madaris
Managers: Chuck and Katie Madaris, Charlie and Carrie Madaris
Diamond Peak Cattle Company, Craig, Colorado
Owners/Managers: John, George and Angel Raftopoulos
Commercial Producer of the Year Award Nominees
Goose Creek Valley Farms, Lynchburg, Virginia
Owners: Douglas and Beverly Dalton
Manager: Jess Herbers
Winslow Farms, Autaugaville, Alabama
Owners: Ricky and Karen Tucker
Manager: Ricky Tucker
Woodward Hi-Altitude Cattle, Bailey, Colorado
Owners: John and Beth Woodward
Manager: John Woodward