Nemec Century Ranch | TSLN.com

Nemec Century Ranch

Loretta Sorensen

Photo by Loretta SorensenMidland, SD rancher Tim Nemec lets his one-year-old daughter Emily get a close look at some of the registered Red Angus Tim and his wife Lori are raising. He expects that both his daughters will enjoy the ranch life that his family established in 1907.

The first animated cartoon was copyrighted and the Wright Brothers patented their aeroplane in 1906, the same year that Tim Nemec’s great, great grandfather Jacob homesteaded near Midland, SD.

After more than a century, Tim and his family are carrying on the tradition Jacob began all those years ago.

“Jacob was 57 when he came to South Dakota in 1890,” Tim says. “He arrived in the United States in 1864, emigrating from Czechoslovakia. He was a stone mason in Baltimore for a while, working on the oyster boats there during oyster season. He and his wife had a daughter living in the Yankton area and that’s what sparked their interest in South Dakota.”

In 1906 Jacob settled his homestead about 15 miles northeast of Midland, SD. In 1907, his son Joseph followed him and established the ranch Tim and his family now call home. The Nemecs currently run about 300 commercial cows and 60 registered Red Angus cows. They also do some farming, raising wheat, millet, and sunflowers for a cash crop and oats, milo and sudan grass that serve as livestock feed.

“It always has been and it still is a family operation,” Tim says. “My dad, Mike, and I do most of the work. My wife, Lori, is a school teacher but she helps out when she can, A.I.ing and sorting pairs in the spring or driving a haying tractor or combine in the summer. We have two little girls. Emily turned one in February and Rachel will be three in June. They get mad when I don’t take them with me. They always want to go tag calves, check cows, ride in the tractor, whatever. They want to be part of everything.”

Tim says he and his family are fortunate to live on the Nemec family ranch.

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“My great grandfather, Joseph, had six children,” he says. “Edward, my grandfather, was lucky enough to get this homesteaded quarter of land. He had 17 children and my dad, Mike, ended up with this quarter. It’s not been any big accomplishment on my part that I’m here. The credit goes to my family who came here before me.”

As he begins developing his Red Angus cattle herd, Tim’s finding that the Hereford cattle business his ancestors established is still evident in the Midland area.

“My grandpa Edward raised commercial Hereford cattle,” Tim says. “Two of his brothers, Ernest and Emil, raised registered Herefords. When I was calling around the area to let people know about my first Red Angus bull sale, I was asked more than once if I was related to the Nemecs who used to raise Herefords. Some ranchers who bought their Hereford bulls from Ernest are still in business.”

It was in the 1970s that Mike took a different path with the Nemec livestock. He was interested in crossbreeding Limousin bulls and Angus cattle when he began his ranching career. He switched to Charolais bulls in the 1980s and by 2005 the Nemecs were using strictly Charolais bulls in their operation.

“When it was my turn to start heading up the operation, I believed it was a good idea to make some changes to what we were doing. Using Charolais bulls is strictly a terminal cross, meaning all the calves, both steers and heifers, go to slaughter,” Tim says. “We had to buy replacement heifers every year and I didn’t like that. As I was looking for a better method, I kept coming back to the Red Angus breed. What I liked was the easy fleshing ability, feed efficiency and heat tolerance of the breed. They also have good maternal traits and dispositions.”

When Tim heard that Sodak Angus was dispersing their spring calving Red Angus herd, he was ready to take a hard look at his production goals. After looking at the genetic traits Sodak’s Vaughn Meyer developed in his cattle over several decades, Tim decided it was time to bring the Red Angus breed to the Nemec ranch.

“Vaughn’s from over by Reva,” Tim says. “He put together a great herd of Red Angus cows with moderate frames, easy fleshing, high efficiency and strong maternal traits. Those are all great genetic strengths. My focus is raising good cows. I want to see marketability in both the heifers and the steers.”

Tim is now selling Charolais cross feeder calves and a few Red Angus bulls. In the coming years he expects to raise quality replacement heifers along with bulls and feeder cattle.

“I like having more than one option with my heifers,” he says. “Right now, red heifers are bringing a premium at the sale barn. People are finally realizing that Red Angus cattle are not inferior to black Angus. I think some producers are seeing the improved heat tolerance the red cattle possess. When it’s breeding season in June, July and August, some people think Red Angus usually have better conception rates during that first cycle because they don’t have the level of heat stress you see in the blacks. Producers are also recognizing improved heat tolerance in the feedlot. Another thing is that they feed and grade just as good as the blacks and when you put a Charolais bull on them you don’t get the greys and rat-tails like you do from the blacks.

The first animated cartoon was copyrighted and the Wright Brothers patented their aeroplane in 1906, the same year that Tim Nemec’s great, great grandfather Jacob homesteaded near Midland, SD.

After more than a century, Tim and his family are carrying on the tradition Jacob began all those years ago.

“Jacob was 57 when he came to South Dakota in 1890,” Tim says. “He arrived in the United States in 1864, emigrating from Czechoslovakia. He was a stone mason in Baltimore for a while, working on the oyster boats there during oyster season. He and his wife had a daughter living in the Yankton area and that’s what sparked their interest in South Dakota.”

In 1906 Jacob settled his homestead about 15 miles northeast of Midland, SD. In 1907, his son Joseph followed him and established the ranch Tim and his family now call home. The Nemecs currently run about 300 commercial cows and 60 registered Red Angus cows. They also do some farming, raising wheat, millet, and sunflowers for a cash crop and oats, milo and sudan grass that serve as livestock feed.

“It always has been and it still is a family operation,” Tim says. “My dad, Mike, and I do most of the work. My wife, Lori, is a school teacher but she helps out when she can, A.I.ing and sorting pairs in the spring or driving a haying tractor or combine in the summer. We have two little girls. Emily turned one in February and Rachel will be three in June. They get mad when I don’t take them with me. They always want to go tag calves, check cows, ride in the tractor, whatever. They want to be part of everything.”

Tim says he and his family are fortunate to live on the Nemec family ranch.

“My great grandfather, Joseph, had six children,” he says. “Edward, my grandfather, was lucky enough to get this homesteaded quarter of land. He had 17 children and my dad, Mike, ended up with this quarter. It’s not been any big accomplishment on my part that I’m here. The credit goes to my family who came here before me.”

As he begins developing his Red Angus cattle herd, Tim’s finding that the Hereford cattle business his ancestors established is still evident in the Midland area.

“My grandpa Edward raised commercial Hereford cattle,” Tim says. “Two of his brothers, Ernest and Emil, raised registered Herefords. When I was calling around the area to let people know about my first Red Angus bull sale, I was asked more than once if I was related to the Nemecs who used to raise Herefords. Some ranchers who bought their Hereford bulls from Ernest are still in business.”

It was in the 1970s that Mike took a different path with the Nemec livestock. He was interested in crossbreeding Limousin bulls and Angus cattle when he began his ranching career. He switched to Charolais bulls in the 1980s and by 2005 the Nemecs were using strictly Charolais bulls in their operation.

“When it was my turn to start heading up the operation, I believed it was a good idea to make some changes to what we were doing. Using Charolais bulls is strictly a terminal cross, meaning all the calves, both steers and heifers, go to slaughter,” Tim says. “We had to buy replacement heifers every year and I didn’t like that. As I was looking for a better method, I kept coming back to the Red Angus breed. What I liked was the easy fleshing ability, feed efficiency and heat tolerance of the breed. They also have good maternal traits and dispositions.”

When Tim heard that Sodak Angus was dispersing their spring calving Red Angus herd, he was ready to take a hard look at his production goals. After looking at the genetic traits Sodak’s Vaughn Meyer developed in his cattle over several decades, Tim decided it was time to bring the Red Angus breed to the Nemec ranch.

“Vaughn’s from over by Reva,” Tim says. “He put together a great herd of Red Angus cows with moderate frames, easy fleshing, high efficiency and strong maternal traits. Those are all great genetic strengths. My focus is raising good cows. I want to see marketability in both the heifers and the steers.”

Tim is now selling Charolais cross feeder calves and a few Red Angus bulls. In the coming years he expects to raise quality replacement heifers along with bulls and feeder cattle.

“I like having more than one option with my heifers,” he says. “Right now, red heifers are bringing a premium at the sale barn. People are finally realizing that Red Angus cattle are not inferior to black Angus. I think some producers are seeing the improved heat tolerance the red cattle possess. When it’s breeding season in June, July and August, some people think Red Angus usually have better conception rates during that first cycle because they don’t have the level of heat stress you see in the blacks. Producers are also recognizing improved heat tolerance in the feedlot. Another thing is that they feed and grade just as good as the blacks and when you put a Charolais bull on them you don’t get the greys and rat-tails like you do from the blacks.

editor’s note: tri-state livestock news will feature century ranches and farms throughout 2009. if you or your neighbor operate a century ranch or farm and would like to be featured in tri-state livestock news, contact tsln editor aaron nelson at 877-347-9117 or email anelson@tsln-fre.com.