Building efficiency

Bezner Beef, a 20,000-head-capacity feedyard, began as a way to expand agriculture operations for the Bezner family, which has been involved in production agriculture near Dalhart, Texas, for generations. The diversified business includes corn and wheat farming as well as cattle operations such as cow-calf, stocker cattle and now cattle feeding.

Back in mid-1990s, all three sons of family patriarch Jody Bezner expressed interest in returning to the family operation. Purchasing enough acreage to support all the family members would have been an expensive proposition, especially considering the uncertainty in the continued availability of water resources to support irrigated crops in that area. Since they were already involved in several segments of cattle production, they decided the best option was to expand by building their own feedyard, not just to feed their own cattle, but to feed cattle for others. So in 1997, they broke ground on the new feedyard, and Bezner Beef was in business.

Custom efficiency
"Our goal is to incorporate and force as much efficiency as we can into our operation," says Michael Bezner, manager of Bezner Beef. "We're really focused on providing competitive cost of gain and performance for our customers."

Part of the efficiency comes from building a feedyard from scratch seven years ago. Being able to start from scratch without the confines of demolition or renovation, they were able to build a feedyard using lessons learned from others.

"That gave us a lot of efficiencies right there," says Michael. Starting from scratch, they were able to design pens with layout, cattle flow and work facilities that minimized labor and allowed for the cattle to handle well.  "We were able to do the dirt work to make snow removal and mud and weather complications as easy to deal with as possible. We got to see what was and wasn't working in the industry."

In addition, they utilized the newest technologies in their milling operation to allow for accurate rations and efficient feed delivery. 

"I believe we can deliver feed as efficiently as anyone," says Stephen Bezner, assistant manager.

Customer focus
Today, approximately 70 percent of the cattle fed at Bezner Beef are customer cattle. Having been a customer for many years at other feedyards, the Bezners feel they know how people like to be treated. They offer customers a variety of services, such as financing, risk management, state-of-the-art animal-health programs and custom sorting of cattle. In addition, they have field days to promote customer satisfaction and increase awareness of all activities that take place at Bezner Beef and in the beef industry.

For larger customers interested in sorting to optimize gains, the feedyard has the ability to take individual weights, sort into groups and customize rations for those groups based on that information. And for those smaller customers, Michael says that they are more than willing to help those who prefer feeding one pen at a time.

In addition, they offer a number of marketing options for customers. Their location gives them access to several major packer buyers for the cash market, but they also accommodate those customers who choose to sell cattle on a carcass basis through grid programs.

That type of adaptation and family-friendly atmosphere has made this feedyard succeed in a tough market. "We are committed to offering our customers the most value for their cattle feeding investment dollar," says Michael.