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Keystone XL Pipeline Update

Construction on the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline has been at a standstill after a federal judge's ruling Nov. 8, 2018. The Canadian company is in the process of appealing the judge's original decision.

In November of 2018, US District Judge Brian Morris ruled that the pipeline needed additional environmental reviews before proceeding with construction.

Morris's final ruling stated that "The Court enjoins Federal Defendants and TransCanada from engaging in any activity in furtherance of the construction or operation of Keystone and associated facilities until the Department has completed a supplement to the 2014 SEIS [Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement] that complies with the requirements of NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] and the APA [Administrative Procedure Act]."

The current government shutdown has limited federal attorneys' participation in hearings; however, TransCanada is seeking an appeal and had a court hearing on Monday, Jan. 14. During this most recent session, there was verbal debate, but the judge did not make a decision.

After over a month of halted activity on the pipeline, forty-four senators and representatives from various states including Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota, sent a letter to President Trump on Dec. 14, 2018, in support of the pipeline.

They wrote, "While we believe that it is important to conduct appropriate environmental reviews, we also believe that further review will not contribute to the existing body of science that already supports pipeline construction…We respectfully urge you to take every practicable step to get this project [Keystone XL] over the finish line and workers back on the construction sites."

U.S. Senator Steve Daines, one of the leaders of the letter to President Trump, said, "The Keystone Pipeline has been subject to extensive environmental review and litigation, and every review has found that the pipeline will have minimal environmental impact and major economic benefits. We need to stop allowing ourselves to be held hostage environmental extremists and finish this pipeline. Nearly 7,000 jobs hang in the balance."

In order for the project to move forward, an appeal to the judge's original decision must be made.

Further hearings in this appeals case will determine what happens with the construction on the pipeline.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is proposed to begin in Hardisty, Alberta and end in Steele City, Nebraska. Overall, 882 miles of the XL pipeline will be on U.S. soil running through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

OCM circulating a petition calling on USDA and Congress to the halt payments to JBS

LINCOLN, Neb. — It has been reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will award $5 million (or as much as $22 million, according to recent reports) in U.S. taxpayer funds to Brazilian-owned meatpacking corporation, JBS, under the bailout program meant to help American farmers hurt by the trade war.

In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over the award. Organization for Competitive Markets is now circulating a petition calling on USDA and Congress to the halt payments to JBS.

“It is a sad day when our own government will open its doors for global meatpacking corporations while keeping them closed during this government shutdown to America’s family farmers. Secretary (Sonny) Perdue told farmers the USDA bailout would help them weather the trade war but instead is providing the world’s largest and most corrupt meatpacker with payments that will help JBS continue harming U.S. farmers and threatening our food supply,” OCM said.

JBS’ illegal and abusive activity runs deep. In a decade-long scheme, the meatpacker bribed more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians, which JBS admitted helped them take over the U.S. beef market. Meanwhile, in 2017, JBS was caught exporting rotten meat worldwide and trying to cover up the stench using cancer-causing acid products. In 2018, 12 million pounds of JBS ground beef were recalled and 246 people were sickened in the U.S. due to salmonella poisoning. Evidence shows the salmonella outbreak was caused by JBS’ standard practice of allowing sick dairy cows into the beef supply. In 2018, USDA found JBS had ripped off U.S. cattle producers at three separate slaughter facilities by shorting them on payments for their cattle, and while the JBS abuses were extensive, USDA settled the claims for a mere $50,000 penalty. USDA is now paying back JBS 100 fold with its $5 million award.

“While elected officials debate border security, JBS’ abusive takeover of the U.S. beef market and the resulting threat to our food supply should be at the forefront of the conversation. Instead, our government is handing JBS the taxpayer money meant for U.S. farmers,” OCM concluded.

–Organization for Competitive Markets

JBS to get $5M in U.S. farm bailout money

Lincoln, NE — It has been reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award $5 million in U.S. taxpayer funds to Brazilian-owned meatpacking corporation, JBS, under the bailout program meant to help American farmers hurt by the trade war.

In November 2018, Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods rescinded its bid for bailout money after a backlash on Capitol Hill over the award. Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) is now circulating a petition calling on USDA and Congress to the halt payments to JBS.

"It is a sad day when our own government will open its doors for global meatpacking corporations while keeping them closed during this government shutdown to America's family farmers. Secretary Perdue told farmers the USDA bailout would help them weather the trade war but instead is providing the world's largest and most corrupt meatpacker with payments that will help JBS continue harming U.S. farmers and threatening our food supply," OCM said.

JBS' illegal and abusive activity runs deep. In a decade-long scheme, the meatpacker bribed more than 1,800 Brazilian politicians, which JBS admitted helped them take over the U.S. beef market. Meanwhile, in 2017, JBS was caught exporting rotten meat worldwide and trying to cover up the stench using cancer-causing acid products. In 2018, 12 million pounds of JBS ground beef were recalled and 246 people were sickened in the U.S. due to salmonella poisoning. Evidence shows the salmonella outbreak was caused by JBS' standard practice of allowing sick dairy cows into the beef supply. In 2018, USDA found JBS had ripped off U.S. cattle producers at three separate slaughter facilities by shorting them on payments for their cattle, and while the JBS abuses were extensive, USDA settled the claims for a mere $50,000 penalty. USDA is now paying back JBS 100 fold with its $5 million award.

"While elected officials debate border security, JBS' abusive takeover of the U.S. beef market and the resulting threat to our food supply should be at the forefront of the conversation. Instead, our government is handing JBS the taxpayer money meant for U.S. farmers," OCM concluded.

–Organization for Competitive Markets

Rookie of the Year: North Dakota’s Justin Ward earns Bullfighters Only title

Metallica's Whiskey in the Jar is playing in a young man's head as he prepares for the chute in front of him to swing open. An angry animal is snorting and pawing the dirt, all 2,000 pounds of powerful muscle just waiting to erupt into the arena. Both are eager to take on the other.

The chute opens, and everything fades away except the challenge between man and bull.

This is what an average day looks like for 23-year-old Justin Ward, a Minnesota native, Dickinson State University agriculture business graduate, and horse trainer.

He's also a freestyle bullfighter.

Ward grew up in Mabel, Minnesota where his family raised purebred Angus and grew corn and soybeans. In addition to their operation, his mom worked at a factory that manufactured parts for Dodge and his dad sold crop insurance. When he was little he would watch the PBR every weekend, begging his parents to let him ride. Finally, they took him and his brother to a Little Britches Rodeo in Wisconsin and the rest was history.

Ward rode bulls for years before sustaining an injury and was forced to quit, even though he enjoyed the rough stock sport. That's why when someone offered him $50 to fill in for a bullfighter that hadn't shown up one day, he accepted and never looked back.

The last year has been packed with action and success for Ward as he pursued a career in professional bullfighting.

"My favorite thing is even if I don't win, if I get through the whole bullfight with no injury that's pretty cool because that animal is trying to kill me," Ward said.

Many folks are familiar with bull riding, but not many know the dedication and practice it takes to be a bullfighter. Ward competes in both categories of bullfighting. One is protection, where he is responsible for keeping the bull from harming the bull rider, and the other, freestyle, focuses on just the fighter and the bull.

Ward excelled at a Bullfighter's Only freestyle development camp in San Bernardino, California last April. He attended to improve and enhance his technique and skills in the arena. The Bullfigher's Only organization promotes the sport of freestyle bullfighting and hosts various competition events across the country. After impressing his coaches at the camp, they told him he was going to be partaking in his first professional event.

Ward burst onto the scene when he won the BFO Tri-Cities Invitational in Kennewick, Washington in May, only one month after attending the development camp. The win earned him $10,000 and an automatic spot at the BFO Championships in Las Vegas in December. During the season, Ward also earned wins in Burlington, Colorado and New Town, North Dakota.

With only a few months under his belt, Ward headed into the BFO Championship in Las Vegas not knowing exactly what to expect, but was working hard in order to prepare.

"I always listen to songs to get pumped up. The last thing that goes through my head is, this could be it. Here we go. When that chute comes open it just all clicks off, and it's just me and that bull."

Ward's preparation, focus, and dedication paid off in Las Vegas. He came home with the BFO Rookie of the Year title.

"I didn't even realize it had happened. I received a phone call from the BFO publicist and had no idea."

One of Ward's good friends is Lane Berg, a bull rider and steer wrestler for DSU and a competitor in the PRCA, North Dakota Rodeo Association and the Rough Rider Rodeo Association, to name a few.

"The first time I met Justin, we were steer wrestling at a Rough Rider rodeo. He came right up to me just before we were about to go and he had the biggest smile on his face, just happier than heck to meet me. He's always the first to congratulate me and he is always rooting for me when I get into the bucking chute. My best memory is just how great of a friend he has been and for always being there if something isn't right."

Berg believes Ward's success can be attributed to his dedication and work ethic. "You'll be talking to him and he's practicing his fakes and moves, so that just proves he's always thinking about it."

Berg also believes bullfighting has impacted the overall sport of rodeo by wowing crowds and inspiring kids.

"When these guys come to fight and protect us, they get just as much loves as we do and that's so cool. Anything to revamp and interest people in the cowboy way of life and rodeo is awesome for the future of the sport."

Along with Berg's encouragement and support, Ward is heading into the future with positive people around him. He said his role models are Nate Jestes, Al Sandvold, and Beau Schueths, along with Justin Josey and Ross Hill who taught him at the development camp. He credits his success to these bullfighters as he continues on his journey to success.

"My long-term goals include being named a Badlands Circuit Finals bullfighter, and definitely try to win a world title or two and compete at the National Finals Rodeo, Ward said.

As for this year, he'll be spending time practicing his leatherwork and attending farrier school in February along with big plans for bullfighting.

"I'll still be doing protection rodeos. I just received my PRCA permit so I'll work a few pro rodeos and try to get my card. And, I'll make a run at ranking #1 in the BFO."

2019 Winter Cattle Journal: Schiefelbein Farms

In 1955, Frank Schiefelbein and his wife, Frosty, were a young city couple who knew nothing about farming or cattle. Frank did know one thing–people liked a good steak. That foundational concept led to the start of Shciefelbein Farms, the largest registered Angus operation Minnesota.

They started by buying two heifer crops from another Angus farmer in Minnesota. Frank chose the Angus breed back then for two reasons—they were good eating and didn't have horns.

As Frank and Frosty were starting their farm, they were also starting their family. After the birth of their ninth son, their family was complete. As the boys grew, so did Frank's ideas for the herd.

In the late 1970s Frank wanted more from his calves and knew he needed to do something to make them stand out from the others. He decided to start breeding his Angus cows with a Simmental bull. This didn't work out very well in the beginning because the calves were too big at birth and they had too much frame. That didn't stop Frank. He knew there was a way to do this, but not the normal way. Frank knew that by taking the egg out of one cow and putting it in a donor cow that he would be able to get the results he wanted. This led him to discovering the benefits of embryo transfer, making them one of the first breeders to try this.

As the years went by the boys grew and headed to college. Frank continued on the farm and waited for the boys to finish school. All of them were welcome to come back to the farm, but there was one stipulation–they had to bring a skill back that would add value to the farm. Seven of the nine boys came back, while the other two continued on with their own career goals. No two of the seven who returned share the same skills.

With all the skills that the boys brought back to the farm that meant there were more opportunities for the farm. Besides more crops, the Schiefelbeins were able to build a state-of-the-art feeding facility, increase their herd numbers, have an annual bull sale, sell semen and embryos, and finally, run a calf buy-back program.

The farm is split into two. One half of the farm is used for crop ground and the other half is pasture. About, 2200 acres of crop ground are planted to corn, soybeans and alfalfa. The pastures run 1,200 pair and are full of rolling hills and timber that provide great shelter for the cows during the summer months. To get the most out of their grass they have incorporated rotational grazing in their program and have enjoyed the benefits. In the winter and after harvest the cows are moved to graze cornstalks.

The closed herd goes back to the very first group of heifers, the Elbow line that Frank bought in 1955. They've never been afraid of innovation and use a combination of embryo transfer, in-vitro and AI. Their embryo transfer embryologist is just 20 minutes away and a Transovo In-vitro station is just 10 miles away, which makes it easy and efficient to use the latest technology.

With seven sons, and now four grandsons, working on the farm, it's important that everyone knows their own job, but is willing and able to help with whatever needs to be done.

Every morning at 8 a.m. the brothers meet to discuss what they're doing that day and what help they might need. No one is exempt from any task, from picking up rocks in the field to sorting cows and hauling grain.

Frank III, the oldest boy, manages the farm's steer barn, the spray application, and is trained to AI. His son, Frank IV, took over the embryo transfer program. Sam is in charge of feeding of the 2,400 steers, as well as 200 cows. When he's not feeding livestock he is helping maintain the farm equipment.

Rick, the second oldest, is in charge of checking on the more than 1,000 registered animals on the farm.

Bob manages the crops and also acts as the farm's operation manager. Austin, Bob's son, runs the plow, the digger, and the fertilizer spreader. He's there to help with anything that needs to be done.

Tom is a welder and mechanic so he spends his time building pens, fences, or fixing machinery. In between all of that you can find him doing dirt work or feeding the livestock.

Mike owns a trucking business and doesn't work at the farm full-time, but does still help out at the farm and hauls the farm's crops.

Tim runs the family's buy-back program and the feedlot risk management. His other job includes heading up the farm's bull sale. The farm's state-of-the-art feeding facility is full of calves that Tim has bought from their buy-back program. Travis, Tim's son, sells calves on Superior Livestock Auction and writes the articles for their catalog and flyers.

Dan, the youngest brother, is in charge of running the seedstock operation.

The annual bull sale, the pinnacle of 63 years of breed development, is held every February at the farm near Kimball, Minnesota. The two-day event includes a viewing of the sale cattle, farm tour, social hour, educational panel and free prime rib dinner. Sale day starts with another viewing of the sale cattle and free beef lunch. The sale is broadcast by Superior Livestock.

In addition to their live cattle sale, they also sell semen and embryos through genetic marketing companies like Genex.

Their buy-back program is a testament to the faith they have in their breeding program. This year alone, Tim, who's in charge of the program, has bought about 30,000 head of their customers' calves for their farm to feed out, and for other feeders who are looking for a proven quality feeder animal.

From a young city couple to one of the most progressive Angus breeders in the state, success has been a series of small steps. They have come a long way from filling up their corn crib with an old picker on an International M. Tim says the drive to do better is the key to success. Their family's goal is to do something better every year, and for at least the last 10 years, they've accomplished that. From incorporating rotational grazing, to fall calving part of their herd and new this year, planting rye grass, which will provide early forage for cows and new calves.

The emphasis on family shows, in that, even given the size and diversity of the business, every person working on the farm is a member of the family. Tim said, "We grew up building this farm together. We're hard headed and want to keep it that way."

2019 Winter Cattle Journal: Mohnen Angus

Steve Mohnen is passionate about Angus cattle. He's spent the last 38 years studying the breed and building his herd of elite mama cows.

"I was 25 years old when I started working for Howard Hillman of Bon View Angus Farms in Canova SD from 1980-1985," said Steve. "While there, I learned how to AI and about the genetics of the breed. Bon View Farms was one of the most progressive Angus operations in the nation, and in starting my own herd back home, 90 percent of my cows originated from Bon View's proven 8-10-year old cows."

Steve added, "In 1980, my dad started purchasing bulls when I was working for Bon View and was proud of the calves they produced on his commercial cows. Our registered Angus herd began to grow, and we proudly became Mohnen Angus."

The Mohnen family has been a staple of the White Lake community since German immigrant Matthew Mohnen homesteaded the ranch in 1884. Since then, generations of Mohnens have worked the land.

"I learned my hard work ethic from my Dad," said Steve. "Growing up in a family of 11 brothers and sisters, we were expected to help on the ranch. I always enjoyed working with the cattle and hogs. In 1985, I came back home to work alongside my dad, and for the next 10 years, I built my own cow herd, as well."

In 1994, Steve and his wife Kathy purchased their own place, just four miles down the road from the original homestead site where he grew up. Together, the couple raised cattle and four children — Josh, John, Jenny and Jared.

Josh, his wife Katie, and their four boys — Koye, Kade, Kase and Kole — are back on the ranch. John, his wife Tory, and their two children — Gage and Laynie — also came back home to continue the family tradition in the cattle business.

Meanwhile, Jennifer, and her husband Ty Krell, along with their two children — Jake and Hadlee — ranch near Sundance, Wyo. Jennifer works for Wyoming Farm Bureau Insurance, and Ty serves as the vice president of the Sundance State Bank. Jared Mohnen owns and operates Dakota Ag Insurance Mitchell SD, and runs cattle on the Mohnen ranch, as well.

Today the ranch consists of a registered Angus seedstock herd located near White Lake, S.D., as well as a 275-head commercial herd located in Canova, S.D., which is managed in a partnership with a family friend. To support three families on the ranch, Mohnen credits slow and steady expansions over the years.

"We have continued to increase our land, which has allowed us to grow," he said. "Our early-calving commercial cows in Canova are used as recips in our embryo transfer program, which has allowed us to bring great genetics to our customers year after year."

Mohnen Angus hosts an annual bull sale, marketing 140 bulls, that is held on the ranch the second Thursday in February. February 2019 will mark the family's 25th annual bull sale. Although the Mohnens don't sell females every year, a fall female sale is slated for 2019. Also new in 2018, Mohnen Angus introduced an "Open the Gate" May bull sale selling an additional 35-40 bulls to customers.

"The Open the Gate sale allowed us to further develop a younger set of bulls with the same strict set of criteria as the bulls sold in our February sale," said Josh Mohnen. "This was our first year of doing this, but it gave us the opportunity to help our customers out who were needing bulls after semen testing or if a herd sire had gotten hurt. In previous years, when we had gotten those calls, we were sold out of bulls and had to turn them in different directions."


The Mohnens agree that it's the great people in the cattle business that makes it so enjoyable.

"We love the people in this industry, our customers and the relationships we've developed over the years," said Josh. "Our customer base is a big factor in our business. We need to have strong relationships in order to be successful, and we need to believe and stand behind our products."

With strong demand for Mohnen Angus genetics, the ranch has enjoyed tremendous success over the years. In 2013, Mohnen South Dakota 402 sold for $120,000 for two-thirds interest to Semex, Dale Edwards and Anvil Angus. In 2014, Mohnen Impressive 1093 sold two-thirds interest for $160,000 to Richard Angus and Genex. Other successful sires for the Mohnens include Long Distance, Dynamite, Substantial, Success, Global and many more.

Another prestigious highlight for Mohnen Angus was winning the 2014 National Western Grand Champion Angus carload show, with a set of 10 Angus bulls. Six of the 10 bulls were sired by Mohnen South Dakota 402, and all 10 went back to the pedigree of Mohnen's very successful well-known foundation cow, Mohnen's Jilt 910.
So what has been the secret to Mohnen Angus' success?

"It all goes back to the Angus cow, and the hard work each and everyone here does to make it successful," said Steve. "We have a lot of different ideas, and that's what makes it so rewarding. We are passionate about our part in the Angus business, and we will never stop working to keep our genetically-sound females. Angus are the best mama cows there are, in my opinion. Our cows graze until two weeks before calving. They aren't pampered. They are expected to work for us and be profitable."

"Raising quality cattle isn't just our job; it's our life," added John Mohnen. "Everything goes back to the cow, and the Angus cow has always been superior as a maternal female."

"Angus females breed back on time. They are functional, easy-fleshing, and good-uddered, can wean a calf that sells well at market and produce a premium beef product that consumers all over the world love," said Josh.

This passion for the breed extends to the next generation, as well, as the Mohnen grandkids are learning the ropes from a young age.

"Every year, the kids gain a little more experience helping us in the business," said Josh. "We started in 4-H this year, and Koye is really enjoying it. Every kid gets to keep one cow each year, and they get to make their own breeding decisions. It's a learning tool for them and a way to keep them involved and have something to build upon."

"I hope our kids love the Angus breed as much as we do, and they can continue Mohnen Angus for years to come," Josh said. "We are very excited for our future in this business. One day, we'll be retired and our kids will be selling the bulls in their annual sale. It's something to look forward to."

Yet, like all ranching families, the Mohnens have faced ups and downs. In the early 2000s, they were forced to disperse half the herd after a five-year drought left them short of grass. They've weathered the market swings, the inclement weather and other challenges over the years, but Steve never wavered in his goals of developing a premier Angus herd that would serve his commercial and registered breeders.

"We've weathered the challenges by selecting the best genetics possible each year," he said. "I built this cow herd from the ground up; nothing was handed to me. I never chased fads, and I've always just focused on raising functional cattle that work in my herd. My best advice to others is to keep your mindset on what you really want and don't look the other way."

He said, "Don't build your cow herd solely off the results of a 50K test. Just because a female has the best genomics scores, doesn't mean she stays. A functional cow with a good udder, temperament, structure and feet is critical. The power is in the genetics.”

2019 Winter Cattle Journal: Barenthsen-Bullinger Red Angus

Mark Barenthsen recognizes the part his wife and daughters have played in making their cattle business what it is today—a recognition that's reflected in the name, which is now hyphenated to include his daughter and son-in-law.  

"It's not an 'I' operation, it's a 'we' operation," said Mark about Barenthsen-Bullinger Red Angus. "My wife and I have developed this together and our girls have worked hard on this too." 

Mark and his wife, Kathy, are fourth generation cattle producers near Powers Lake in northwest North Dakota. Together with their son-in-law and daughter, Jeremy and Jessica Bullinger, the family farms small grains and raises purebred Red Angus cattle.  

"We were always a commercial operation," Barenthsen said of the family's ranch when his father and grandfather were in charge. 

In 1976, Barenthsen came back to the ranch and after their marriage, he and Kathy began trying out different breeds of cattle including Herefords, black baldies, Charolais, and some Simmental before deciding to focus on Red Angus.  

To make a go of it in the early years, Mark sold insurance and Kathy worked as a part-time registered nurse.  

"We wanted to make our living off the farming and ranching, so [working as a nurse] was supplemental income," Kathy says. 

In 1993, the couple decided to go into the seedstock business and began selling purebred registered Red Angus. This February, they'll be hosting their 20th annual sale at the ranch.  

Around ten years ago, the Bullingers joined Jessica's parents back on the ranch.  

"I always had that desire to be back on our place," Jessica, the oldest of the four Barenthsen girls says. "It kind of just really played out. We knew we wanted to be back here and my parents were willing to work with us."  

The Bullingers have three children, Jaden, Avah, and Adalyn, who are also involved on the ranch and with their 4-H projects.  

Jessica isn't the only daughter who works in agriculture; each of the Barenthsen's daughters married farmers or ranchers and work along side their husbands at their operations.    

"Kathy and I have watched our other daughters develop their own operations and to see the kids do the same thing is the most rewarding thing to us," Mark said.  

Together, the two families have been able to improve upon the business and expand as well.  

Barenthsen explained that they decided to stick with Red Angus because they "cover all of the bases."  

"They have a lot of maternal value and are a little more docile—that's a big plus for us. They clean up a lot of udder problems other breeds face as well," he said. "One big thing that helped us decide to be in Red Angus too was the demand from other breeds. It's a non-diluter breed so you don't get gray colored calves and that's a big advantage for selling bulls." 

When the Barenthsens began raising Red Angus, the demand for the breed wasn't that high; however, over the years they've seen an increase.  

"Red Angus has really been becoming more in demand," Mark said. "We never knew it would be this strong, but it is one of the things we've benefited from." 

Variations in demand for different breeds isn't the only change they've witnessed.   

"There have definitely been a bunch of changes since the time that we started," Mark said. "Earlier in our career a 500-pound calf was a good weaning weight."  

Along with the progression and focus on a heavy weaning weight, Mark has noticed differences in what has been considered the desired frames in cattle.  

"We've gone through times where cows were short and thick, then in the '80s the focus was on larger-framed cattle that were harder to keep," he explained.  

The family's ranch is located twenty miles south of the Canadian border, which means a harsh winter climate. "The weather can be unpredictable, so we raise cattle that are going to stay in our herd because of where we live especially," said Jessica Bullinger.   

"We're trying to raise cattle that can get by on less feed—less hay and grain—than we used to," Mark said.  

Another change that has impacted the cattle industry is the increase in available technology and various tests.   

"One big change for sure was the use of EPDs and technologies. We've been able to develop cattle that are much more functional," said Mark. "We've developed cattle that can calve on their own without any assistance where, back a few years, you'd have people hauling cattle to town to get assistance or a cesarean.” 

Jeremy Bullinger explained that their purebred operation pays special attention to developing their females. "We focus mainly on the female side of it. The maternal value in the Red Angus is what has kept us with this breed." 

Besides developing quality cattle, Barenthsen-Bullinger Red Angus strongly focuses on serving their customers. This past June, the ranch organized and hosted a "Red Angus Feeder Calf Marketing Meeting and Supper" for producers to meet with feedlot owners from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota.  

At the meeting, feedlot owners discussed different natural (growth hormone-free and antibiotic-free) programs that can add value to cattle, along with talking about different areas or ways to market conventional cattle for increased profit.  

"I think these are really exciting times—there's a lot of changes, but there's a lot of really good avenues that we as producers can take these days to add premiums to our calves," Jessica said.  

Mark said he feels as though they are removed from "bigger markets," so the meeting was a way for producers in northwest North Dakota to make connections with those larger markets that are farther away.  

"They [the feed lot owners] looked at [the meeting] as an opportunity to visit an area that is overlooked and provided a place for them to develop relationships," he said.   

Around 150 producers attended the meeting and Barenthsen says they are still receiving positive feedback about the event. "It was good to open up new opportunities for marketing for our customers—we totally enjoyed it." 

"Customer relationships are important," Jeremy said. Which is also why the Bullingers have began Bullinger Family Meats.  

The couple saw an opportunity for a niche market and now offer 100 percent All-Natural Red Angus Beef sold directly off of the ranch.  

"We have to be really in tune to what our customers are asking for," Jessica said. 

The two families have also built their own feedlot, which can hold 450 head. For right now the facility is used to develop their own bulls and heifers, but Jeremy said that it could be a way to expand in the future.   

Working in agriculture is a lifestyle that both the Barenthsens and Bullingers said that they enjoy.  

"It is really fun having Jessica and Jeremy part of the operation," Mark said. "It's very rewarding to have family members become involved and gratifying for Kathy and I."  

Likewise, Jeremy appreciates having his children a part of the ranch as well: "It's just a great way of life to have our kids with us and grow and work with us. It's a way for them to learn hard work and dedication." 

"Cattle are important, along with caring for the land, but above and beyond all of that it's all about seeing our family developing their lifestyle and continue in the tradition that we've been able to be a part of," Mark said.  

2019 Winter Cattle Journal: Taubenheim Gelbvieh

Every year on the first Monday in February, beef producers gather at the Taubenheim ranch for their annual Gelbvieh and Balancer bull and female sale. While many of the bulls stay in Nebraska, some of them are sold into the surrounding states, even to as far away as California. Repeat buyers, who trust the Taubenheim genetics, make up a large percentage of the sales. 

But the Taubenheim family hasn't always raised beef cattle. Dale and Jeannette Taubenheim of Amherst, Nebraska owned a dairy and showed dairy cattle.  

Their son Mike, while in college, began researching the different breeds of beef cattle. He was impressed with the many traits of the Gelbvieh breed, the docility, heavy muscling, good milk production and mothering abilities. On the advice of a cattle semen representative, Mike purchased two bred heifers from Jim Wilson of Mankato, Kansas in 1982 and they each had a bull calf. "Back in the early eighties a calf brought around maybe 480 dollars. I sold the bull calves for $3,700," Mike Taubenheim said.   

"We had about 200 head in the '90s and run 600 registered cows now. I try to raise a more efficient cow, who will do more with less."  

The Taubenheims were some of the first to cross their Gelbvieh cows with top Black Angus sires, resulting in Balancer cattle. The Balancer genetics offer producers the ability to crossbreed their herds, taking advantage of heterosis, higher weight gains and the hybrid vigor. At their annual sale, they sell 100 yearling bulls, 25 Gelbvieh, with the remainder Balancer bulls. They also offer 45 bred heifers, right out of their own replacement pen. "These are heifers that are bred just a little later than we like, and some might already have calved by the sale so buyers are able to see what they are bidding on," said Justin Taubenheim, Mike's son. 

In December of 2018 the family decided to try something different by offering eleven heifers and one steer on http://www.AngusLive.com, an online cattle auction site. The halter broke yearlings were ready for some young person to show and maybe eventually become embryo donor cows. 

Mike and his family usually artificially inseminate 400-500 females to some of the beef industry's top bulls and implant around 200 embryos a year. They calve in January so the bulls they sell are old enough and ready to go to work. 

Mike and his wife Renee have five children, four sons and one daughter: Justin, Tanner, Sydney, Seth and Kale. Oldest son Justin and his wife Janelle have two kids and Tanner and his wife Kelli have one. The Taubenheims have always shown cattle, competing almost every year at the Junior National Show and the National Western Stock Show among other stock shows. The Taubenheim cattle bring home many grand champion Balancer and Gelbvieh female and bull pennants and awards. The NWSS gives prospective buyers a chance to see some of the sale offerings early with the show bulls being included in the production sale. "I feel showing cattle really helped to make our kids who they are today," Mike said. 

Dale and Jeannette Taubenheim are still active in the day-to-day operations. Dale, at 76, runs the combine, and Jeannette drives the grain cart during harvest and works with Justin to register the calves and put together the sale catalogs. Mike's son Tanner is hoping soon to be able to return full time to the operation.   

In addition to raising quality bulls, the Taubenheim family farms a thousand acres and runs their own 400 head feedyard. They finish out their own cattle and purchase some of their bull customers' calves to keep the pens full. The fat cattle are sold on the grid in Lexington, Nebraska at Tyson Meats. "We sell a load at a time, 40 head fits on the truck. Our cattle grade high with 94 percent yielding choice or higher and 91 percent are 1s or 2s. We are rewarded for how each carcass yields and also for being in the Certified Angus Beef program. We're committed to making the best product we can from start to finish," Justin said. 

Justin hopes to be able to grow the feedyard and one day buy and finish more of their customers' calves. 

The Taubenheims like being able to follow the cattle through the feedlot and see all the data on each animal. "We are confident in what our cattle can do, and this way we can provide more data and information to our bull customers," Justin says.  

Making that information available to both buyers and consumers is going to be a big part of the future of the industry, Justin says.  

"We need to tell our story to the public. Let people know we have a passion to raise quality food and beef. We should take advantage of every chance we have to talk to strangers, tell them about our way of life, and get the true information out there," said Mike. "As producers, stay true to your roots, breed for soundness and fleshing ability, more rib and muscle. EPDs aren't everything; it all starts at the ground." 

Justin agrees.  "As producers we need to roll with the punches, and use the technology available to us. We need to follow through, vaccinate and give the cattle the best chance to flourish in our environment. The world is growing fast, there are and will be a lot of mouths to feed, beef producers are all in it together. There are a lot of changes coming to the industry and people are willing to pay for information. We should provide information and data and show the strict guidelines we have to follow. We need to work together to sell what we have for the most money." 


Noem names a New Underwood native to be on her policy team

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor-elect Kristi Noem announced Jan. 3, 2019, that Jason Simmons, a New Underwood native, will join her staff as a policy advisor.

"Jason's commitment to service and process will be an incredible benefit to my team," said Noem. "I look forward to utilizing his experience and knowledge as we work to design a balanced budget and shape legislation to create a stronger South Dakota."

Simmons is presently the principal fiscal analyst at the South Dakota Legislative Research Council where he's worked with the legislature to craft legislation and develop the state budget since 2013. Prior to his work with the LRC, Simmons served as a utilities analyst with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

Simmons is a partial owner of his family's livestock and small grain agriculture operation near New Underwood.

–Governor-elect Noem

Whitaker makes history with rodeo’s Linderman Award

Nebraska cowboy Kyle Whitaker has done something that has never been done before. 

The Chambers, Neb. man has won ten Linderman Awards. 

The Linderman Award is a pro rodeo award given to the cowboy who wins at least $1,000 in each of three events. Of the three events, one must be a timed event (tie-down roping, steer wrestling or team roping) and one must be a roughstock event (bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, or bull riding.) 

Whitaker competes in the tie-down roping, steer wrestling and saddle bronc riding. 

He earned his first Linderman Award in 1997, when he was 21 years old, following in the footsteps of his dad, Chip, who won four Lindermans (1975, 77-79). His dad, who worked the same events as Kyle, laid the foundation for his son. "My dad taught me and took me to schools in all three of those events," Whitaker said. 

After he won the award in 1997, his goal was to win it three more times, to match his dad. After that, "it kept going from there." 

This year was the most difficult in the ten years (1997-98, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2015-2018) for Whitaker to qualify. Usually, he works to earn his $1,000 per event in the spring and early summer. This year, he didn't qualify in the saddle bronc riding till the fall.  

And this is the last year he'll try to win the award. He plans on quitting the saddle broncs. "Bulldogging is my main event," he said. "Every time I get on a bronc it's like, don't get hurt here. That's not a good idea to have in the back of your head when you're trying to make money." 

He's in his prime in the steer wrestling, he believes. "I still feel about as competitive as ever in that, and I have good horsepower. That's probably seventy-five percent of bulldogging, to have a horse you can get out (of the box) and get one caught in the right place." 

Jesse Bail, Camp Crook, S.D., won the Linderman Award twice (2000, 2001) while competing in the steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. 

His forte was the saddle bronc and bull riding but he had done some steer wrestling in college and enjoyed it. Those two years, he borrowed horses at rodeos, even Whitaker's a time or two, to steer wrestle.  

He had complimentary words for Whitaker. "He's a good hand and he has been forever, since I've been (rodeoing). He can do everything." 

For Bail, who qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo twelve times, the Linderman Award is special. "It's probably one of my biggest wins," he said, "because you have to be able to do several events. It's pretty awesome. I feel it's like winning the world all-around" title.  

Trell Etbauer has won the Linderman four times (2008-2010, 2013) and has a strong admiration for Whitaker. "Kyle's done a heck of a job at it," the Goodwell, Okla. cowboy said. "He's a heck of a cowboy, a heck of an athlete." 

It will be a long time before someone else wins ten Linderman Awards, for several reasons. 

Etbauer points out that working three events requires a contestant to hustle to prepare and compete. "Usually, at a lot of rodeos, the steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and tie-down roping are back to back to back. So you have to get horses ready before the rodeo, have everything booted up and ready, so you can run from one event to another." 

Rodeo has grown financially as well, Whitaker said. "Now, it's to the point where the events are so competitive and the financial incentive to make the (Wrangler) National Finals Rodeo and do well there is so great, that almost everybody specializes in one event." The shrinking rural population makes a difference, too. "There are fewer people growing up on ranches now. If you grow up on a ranch, you're more likely to be able to ride a bucking horse and rope," and thus be able to work two different categories of events.  

Not only has Whitaker won the award a record ten times, but he is the only man to have won it four consecutive years. His dad, Phil Lyne, and Etbauer have won it three consecutive years.  

The Linderman Award was named after Bill Linderman, a pro rodeo cowboy who won six world championships: two in the all-around (1950, 1953), two in the saddle bronc riding (1945, 1950), and one each in the bareback riding (1943) and steer wrestling (1950). He died in a plane crash in 1965.   

The award began in 1966; there were two years (1994, 1996) that there were no qualifiers.  

A Nebraska High School Rodeo Association award has been named after Whitaker and The Fort Western store. The Fort Western Whitaker Award is given to a cowboy who has amassed a minimum of twenty points in each of three events. Like the Linderman, one event must be a timed event and one must be a roughstock event. The winner receives a trophy saddle and a $500 scholarship from the Fort Western Stores.