The Nielsons should have no problem merchandising their bulls this spring, thanks, in part, to recent successes at several regional events this winter. After a banner run at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo., where they won Grand Champion Limousin Pen and People’s Choice Grand Champion Limousin Pen with a set of three massive and stylish cherry-red bulls, it’s clear that ROM’N Limousin is producing bulls appreciated by the industry.
ROM’N Limousin won Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Limousin bull honors at the Sioux Empire Farm Show & Red Carpet Sale in Sioux Falls. A few weeks later, they clinched the Reserve Grand Champion Limousin bull and Reserve Senior Limousin bull titles, following just behind the overall Supreme Champion Bull at the Black Hills Stock Show.
“Today the basis for our program is to strive for high-performance, structurally-sound, easy-fleshing and eye-appealing cattle,” said Adam Nielson. “Our goals for the operation are to increase our standards even more in the years to come, so we can provide the absolute highest quality product for our customers. We also plan to implement a more extensive embryo transfer program in the future.”
Adam, along with his wife Michelle, and their two children, Greyson (age eight) and Palmer (age three), are actively involved in the operation, joining Adam’s parents, Robert “Cookie” and Mary Nielson, who established ROM’N Limousin in 1976.
“Having been in a dairy operation with my father and brother, I chose to start a commercial herd of cows consisting of Angus and Hereford,” said Cookie. “In 1976, I went on my own, and I tried different breeds. I spent a lot of time in sale barns and saw groups of Limousin-influenced calves. I appreciated the muscle expression they carried, so I bought a set of calves to finish out. They sold at IBP in Luverne, and the yield premium on the Limousins compared to the my other calves really impressed me.”
Hooked on the added muscle Limousin offered his English-based cowherd, in 1980, Cookie purchased a Boventure Farfaleu son at Pompadour Hill’s production sale.
“My first calf crop was awesome,” said Nielson. “The calves were small, but were up and nursing in a matter of minutes. This made it easy for me, while having to calve cows and put a crop in by myself. At two weeks old, the calves were as big or bigger than my other calves. This was the turning point for me in my decision.”
Using the North American Limousin Foundation’s (NALF) silver and gold certificate program, Cookie spent the next decade breeding his cows to Limousin bulls in order to build up his purebred herd. In the 1980s and 90s, his sons Peter and Adam, got more involved in the operation, showing the Limousin calves they raised on the ranch.
“With the family’s enthusiasm, we did a large amount of artificial insemination (AI),” said Cookie. “We also bought herd sires from fellow breeders. With the whole family involved, we tried to make the best product we could. When both boys headed off to college, I questioned whether I should continue in the purebred business or go back to a commercial program.”
A few years later when Adam graduated from South Dakota State University with an agricultural degree, Cookie welcomed him back to the operation. Instead of moving the focus back to a commercial herd, they put their energy into the purebred program, creating new opportunities for advancement along the way.
“When Adam decided to come home in 1998, we started an intense program to raise and select cattle based on docility, structure, phenotype and testicular development,” said Cookie. “Today, we run about 180 head of registered red and black purebred, mostly polled, Limousin cattle, as well as 40 head of crossbred cows. We farm about 1,000 acres of land, consisting of corn, beans and oats.”
With the bull sale just around the corner, the Nielsons have selected their best 20 bulls for cattlemen to sort through.
“We have upped our standards with higher criteria for weaning and yearling data and EPDs,” said Adam. “We felt that our customers deserve to get the best and that is what we wanted to offer. This year, our offering includes red and black purebred bulls. All have been homozygous-polled tested and will have a complete list of carcass and yearling data. The bulls can be viewed any time at the farm.”
This year’s sale offering are sired by some of the popular Limousin AI sires raised by ROM’N, including: ROMN Made To Order, ROMN Deadwood, ROMN Xpect More, ROMN Xpress Lane, ROMN Justice, ROMN Unbelievabull, ROMN Tuff Enuff, ROMN Tow Truck and ROMN Systematic. Many of these sires have semen available through Grassroots Genetics, LimiGene, ABS and Semex Canada.
An industry proven bull, ROMN Made To Order, was a calf champion at NWSS in 2003, where ROM’N Limousin sold partial interest on him to J Yorga Farms and Anchor B from Canada. More than a decade later, Made To Order is still producing standouts.
“Made To Order mamas have been the dams to a large majority of herd sires that we have sold over the years,” said Michelle. “In fact, all three pen bulls this year were out of Made To Order daughters. In Canada, it is hard to go through a sale catalog without finding Made to Order in the pedigree.”
While ROM’N Limousin focuses on raising practical, functional cattle for the commercial cattlemen, that doesn’t mean they have sacrificed on style and eye appeal. The Nielsons have developed a strong reputation for raising show winners over the years, and it didn’t take long for demand for ROM’N heifers to grow.
As a result, they now host an annual online female sale each fall called, The Fall Spooktacular Online Sale. Held at the end of October on CW Cattle Sales, the Nielsons offer 12 head of multiple breed show heifer and steer prospects, with 90 percent of the calves selling out of state and competing in shows across the country.
Additionally, in September, Nielsons merchandize 20 head of crossbred show heifers and steers in the annual ROM’N Limousin & Club Calves pasture bid sale.
Many champions have been sold off of these two sales, going on to win at several junior national shows, NWSS, American Royal, Fort Worth Stock Show and San Antonio. Most recently, heifers from the 2016 Fall Spooktacular have gone on to win Reserve Heifer Calf Champion at the Fort Worth Stock Show, Reserve Champion Limousin Female at the San Antonio Stock Show and a class winner at NWSS, just to name a few.
While it’s been a few years since Adam has competed in a junior show himself, things are coming full circle now as the third generation of ROM’N Limousin, Greyson, begins his first year in 4-H this year.
“Greyson is in his second year of showing, and his official first year of 4-H as an eight-year old,” said Michelle, who grew up raising and showing Chi-influenced cattle on her family’s ranch near Highmore, S.D. “Experiencing a third generation showman has been fun for our family.”
Since birth, both Greyson and Palmer have been ringside watching ROM’N Limousin cattle at shows. The Nielsons have been active in leadership roles within the breed for many years, as well. With three generations involved on the ranch, ROM’N Limousin is truly a family-owned and operated business, focused on producing high-quality Limousin genetics that have both made their mark on the breed and continue to exceed their customers’ expectations.
On March 20, 2017, long-time breeders ROM’N Limousin will host its second annual Private Treaty, First Come, First Serve bull sale. After years of selling bulls through an auction format, the Nielson family of Arlington, S.D., decided to offer a smaller set of elite bulls to their valued customers without the added hassle and pressure of a fast-paced auction sale.
For more information on ROM’N Limousin, check out http://www.romnlimousin.com or find them on Facebook.
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