All-American Beef Battalion donation raises more than $21,000 at Aberdeen Auction

Amanda Radke
Courtesy photo/Travis Swisher"We are supportive of our troops and the service they give our country," says rancher Travis Swisher from Groton, SD. His family's donated heifer brought more than $21,000 for the All-American Beef Battalion.

More than $21,000 was raised at South Dakota’s Aberdeen Livestock Auction on Jan. 9. This dollar figure will be donated to support the All-American Beef Battalion (AABB), a non-profit organization comprised of a group of individuals involved in the U.S. beef cattle industry. The AABB works to support troops fighting the global war on terror.

The purpose of AABB is to organize and sponsor steak feeds, entertainment, programs, meetings and projects with service members and their families. In addition, the group of cattlemen strives to foster an appreciation, respect and honor for the troops while promoting U.S. beef along the way.

It’s an ideal non-profit group to rally behind, and when local ranchers Robert and Travis Swisher heard radio personality Trent Loos speak about it on air, they knew they wanted to be a part of the action.

“This charity fits the bill for us; we knew we wanted to get involved when we heard Loos talk about it,” said Travis Swisher. “We donated a yearling Angus heifer to help the cause. We talked to local businesses, ran radio and print ads and challenged our neighbors to support the cause.”

The Swisher family has been farming and ranching near Groton, SD since the 1880s. The family raises crops and cattle, maintaining a feedlot and commercial cow-calf operation. They are thankful for the troops and their sacrifices, so they can pursue careers in production agriculture here in the U.S.

“We are supportive of our troops and the service they give our country,” said Swisher. “When people came back from Vietnam, there weren’t many thank yous for the troops. We want to say thanks. We have family members who are in the military, and we say thanks, but there’s more we can do than that. This is a great way to show how grateful we are for their service, so I can be here pursuing my career in agriculture. They make huge sacrifices so we can be safe at home and have freedom.”

Donations continue to roll in, but there were several supporters on auction day, including: Bieber Red Angus; RDO Equipment; Groton Lumber; Larson Livestock; Ulrich Cattle; Mark and Deb Hove; Home Federal Bank; Doyle Harms Livestock; Kappes Simmental; South Dakota Wheat Growers; Carrico Cattle; Joe Akkerman; Ag Venture Seeds; Edgar Brothers; Schley Farms; Braun Farms; Barney and Sharon Bain; Prins Cattle Co.; Burton and Rich Baloun; Pro Ag Supply; Roe Farms; Hosmer Vet; Dacotah Bank; Mark and Deb Boraas; Midwest Ag and BMJ.

“Promoting beef is another benefit of the AABB,” added Swisher. “There’s no better way to say thank you then with a steak. They do an excellent job of promoting our products. You can’t beat a good steak as a way to say thank you! These families will never forget the steak feed they receive and the dinner they are able to have as a family before the troops are deployed. We are happy to be a part of that.”

Previous auctions such as this one have raised anywhere from $1,500 to $45,000.

AABB founder and Kansas cattleman Bill Broadie said one of the most memorable was the sale of a Charolais heifer in Salinas, KS.

“The heifer raised $25,000 and an American flag was painted on her side the day of the auction,” Broadie recalled. “Once she was sold, that same heifer was donated back and has been resold to benefit AABB several times. We challenge other states to step up to the plate and get involved. We are so thankful for the support from South Dakota ranchers. Every little bit helps. We think this thing is finally catching on. We plan to keep pushing forward with our mission in 2012.”

Since 2007, the group has served more than 100,000 servicemen and their families.

Get involved with AABB, donate to the cause and learn more about the group at