Breums win Producer of the Year Award
Jim Breum of Taylor has been in the cattle business since he was born 81 years ago. He was born about in the middle of his present living room, he said.
Breum was named Producer of the Year by the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association at the group’s annual meeting recently in Bismarck. He has been collecting production data from his cow herd for 54 years. Criteria for the 2019 award was 15 year of data and the highest 205-day adjusted weight per cow exposed.
Cow identification has been a big item in the Breum herd. “We freeze brand our cows and each cow has a number. We never had to worry about losing tags. We never lost an identity . . . (and ) it has been a good tool.”
The Breum herd is straight bred Hereford cows, (“pretty much every cow on the place is a registered cow”). He uses Angus bulls to produce true F1 black baldy calves, averaging over 600 pounds at weaning on all calves produced.
The black baldy cross, however, was an accident. “The neighbors bull got into our pasture one time and those baldies brought about $8 per hundredweight more,” he said. “And, the next year we had black bulls.”
Economically, the move has been beneficial for the Breum family. “While we had (and have) good cows, there is a lot of demand for the F1 baldies,” he said, recalling the year when his black baldy heifers brought $15 per hundredweight more than his steers.
In his early years, Breum had a closed herd, producing his own replacement heifers of horned Herefords. “We kept the top two-thirds and the rest went to town,” he said. Today, however, replacements, either open heifer calves or bred heifers, are purchased.
But those days are ending, however, for Breum. This January he sold his last calves, and is fully turning the reins over to the next generations. His daughter and son-in-law, Robyn and Rory Rebel, who have been farming/ranching with Breum since 1990, have been purchasing the replacement heifers for the past 12 years.
The Rebels are happy to be part of the generational transfer and are appreciative of the work that Breum has provided. “It is nice to have dad recognized for all the work he has done, making the cow herd the best it can be,” Robyn said. “Even though dad is slowly trying to retire, he is still very helpful and a good source of knowledge for us.”
In addition, Rory and Robyn have engaged their son, Ryan and his wife Ashley (Krebs) in the operation. Ryan and Ashley also have a son George. Breum proudly points to the fact that the one and one-half year-old George is the “seventh generation” on the ranch.
Breum said his great grandfather staked a claim on the ranch in 1882, which was seven years before North Dakota became a state.
“He (Breum’s great grandfather) had staked a claim southwest of Taylor,” Breum said. “(My) great grandfather went hunting and saw this spring and it runs out at 25,000 gallons a day. It is beautiful water. We have a lot of oak and ash wood. We have coal coming out at the surface. There was water and heat and could not have been a better situation, and he staked a claim here.”
Breum continued the tradition on the ranch but admits, “I am 81 years old and it is time to retire. It has been fun.”
Breum and his wife of 51 years, Delores, accepted the award at the NDBCIA banquet from Lee Tisor, who coordinates records processing for the NDBCIA through the Cow Herd Appraisal Performance System.
“I do appreciate the award,” Breum said. “We were in (the cow business) for a long time and I was happy to get the award (but) I am out of the cow business. My last calves went in January.”
The NDBCIA annually gives the award to a producer to the year.
Individuals wanting more information can contact the NDBCIA at 1041 State Avenue, Dickinson, ND 58601; phone – 701-456-1105; email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
– North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association