Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A collision of equine cultures! - An AQHA tale.

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation.

This post is an Equine tale (not to be confused with an Equine tail).

For people that love animals, but have only experienced relationships with them as a caretaker / owner and not from the position of a person that raises them, this 'tale' may fall short.  If so, I apologize in advance.

We raise cattle and horses.  Because we raise them, we also sell them.  The selling part of the business sometimes is very difficult for me because I have built a relationship with them, especially the horses.  None the less, if we didn't raise them, that animal would have never existed in the first place to have a relationship with... so I do truly believe in the saying "It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all".  And in the case of the animals we raise, this happens over and over and over again.  Yet, these animals sustain us and it brings pure joy to me to see others enjoying and benefiting from animals that we have raised.

So this is a tale of lost love (for me) and found love for others (including the equine tail in the tale), which brings a tear to my eye and joy to my heart.

The first mare that Pete and I found when we started putting our little brood mare band together was Jacks Bo Jacke.  We call her Kelly.  Kelly still to this day is out in our pasture raising babies and she is very good at what she does.  To date, she has raised five colts which are in the possession of others now and four prospects that we still have on the ranch.  Through the five produce of hers that we have sold, she has more than paid her way (and earned a rare ticket to our horse cemetery on the ranch when the time comes) with cumulative gross sales five times what we paid for her as a halter broke three year old.  These colts were all prospects (started under saddle, but not finished in a discipline) when sold and they have gone on to do various things for other people and other ranches.

That being said, there is a diva in the bunch and her story is my horse tale.

Mimi Stanley and AQHA filly, Sparkin Hot Jacke (Sparkin Hot x Jacks Bo Jacke) doing a stretchy circle.  I don't know what a stretchy circle is, but what I can see, Mimi has beautiful balance, wonderful hands and excellent control as Sparkin Hot Jacke is holding collection and balance without direct pressure from Mimi's hands while still driving from behind (creating the strong top line) and guided through a circle with leg pressure alone.  Truly beautiful.

From time to time, we have more horses around than we have miles to ride.  My sister said to me one day while we were out riding two summers ago, "My friend Bobbi is looking for a horse to ride for a while.  She's not in the market to buy, but is looking for a horse that has good legs and needs miles.  Do we have anybody to send her?"  Knowing Bobbi and trusting her to take excellent care of any animal under her supervision, I thought for a while and said, "How about Tara?".  Kim and the rest of the ranch crew were shocked by this as they knew how much I loved that filly.  I explained that if she stayed here, I wouldn't get the miles on my geldings that they badly needed.  Tara was going to make her way to the brood mare band that next spring anyway so she could go spend some time with Bobbi until then and when there was riding to do I wouldn't be tempted to grab her and leave the geldings standing in her dust.

I called Bobbi and we talked.  We figured out an arrangement and the next trip to Bismarck we brought Tara along.  Bobbi looked her over and went to riding her.  Bobbi would give us updates from time to time and eventually there was an understanding that the discipline that Bobbi had been riding Tara in, dressage, Tara was pretty good at.

Dressage is a discipline almost exclusively commanded by the warm blood breeds of the horse world.


That being said, many of the 'western' disciplines use the foundation of dressage for proper positioning of western riding and cattle maneuvers.  None the less, to see an American Quarter Horses at a competitive dressage event is rare, especially a platinum blond (a palomino) one.

Bobbi decided after having Tara for about 6 months that she wanted to make the commitment and purchase her.  She did so.  Her barn name is now PAQ.  Bobbi and PAQ attended their first AQHA sanctioned dressage event this past June and Bobbi provided me with a full report after they got home.  PAQ was a rock star and a novelty at the event for several reasons.  In a field of bay and liver chestnut warm bloods, she is a palomino American Quarter Horse (AQHA) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Quarter_Horse

In addition, she does not have a breed brand:  http://www.dressageamerica.com/brands_new.htm ,
but she does have a ranch brand, our ranch brand (North Dakota - box cross) which she sports proudly on her right hip.  Bobbi happily explained to the 'dessage folks' questioning that brand what a ranch brand was.  Cross cultural education!

Aside from being beautiful, this photo represents somethings so much bigger than what meets the eye.  This filly is bred to chase cows.  She looks so very happy working here and in every photo I have seen of her in the dressage pen.  Essentially she has been 'discovered' - something life on the ranch would have never offered her.  She was afforded an opportunity outside her normal comfort zone and she seized it.  An American (Quarter Horse) Success Story.
PAQ's mom, Jacks Bo Jacke (Jacks Notation x Zans Bo Jacke) at age 6 in 2003.
Three of PAQ's brothers - L to R - 'Bill' is in Nebraska competitively roping calves, 'Howard' is in the Killdeer area ranching and youth rodeoing with the owner's grand kids, 'Will' who's current status is unknown.

It has been an absolute treat to see other's have success and find joy in our horses.  I am just so thankful that the day Kim and I had the discussion about Bobbi wanting to find a horse to ride for awhile, I didn't pull the selfish card.  PAQ appears to love the dressage pen and Bobbi is so very good to her, always has her best interest in mind and is helping her meet her potential.

This horse tale has been such a pleasure to follow and I wish Bobbi, Mimi and PAQ great success next show season!

A breather in between show seasons?
As beautiful as ever sporting the natural look on a 'stay at home' day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly! Did I mention the ugly?

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation.

Before I proceed, I must declare that I am under the influence of prescription pain meds.... so please bare with me.

Just got off the phone with my 'Ask A Doc' and he agreed that this SHOULD hurt... good to know that I am 'normal'.  OSB board meets stock trailer door frame with thumb in between.... and glad that I have so carefully horded my oxycodone from when Kyle was born.  I WILL be able to sleep tonight.
This past week has been an interesting one that repetitively reminded me that I am thankful for where we are and what we do - with the freedom to sore and explore and participate in a unique lifestyle where every day is different and exciting - in a place that I love (whether it is hot and dry or cool and wet).
I snapped this shot on the way home from the hay field one night last week.  A Bakken well being 'fracked' near the Marsten (my Grandma Olga Hovet's family) homestead claim.
When you tell people that you ranch for a living, they often ask what that really means.  In addition to the physical management of the cattle and ranch resources, when raising registered cattle, there is also a lot of record keeping, paper work, and data reporting.  Above, the unique bar code on a DNA sample of one of our heifers is being double checked on the online form for lab submission to Igenity, the company which parentage verifies cattle for registration to the American Angus Association.
My 'paper' notes of all the calves that need to be submitted to Igenity for DNA parentage verification.  The samples (hair) are maintained in a fire proof safe from collection time (at branding when the calves are between 2 and 6 weeks old) until we are certain that they are 'quality breeding stock' and worth registering.  The ones that are not submitted are then discarded.
A majority of our calves every year are AI sired.  The calves that are not AI sired are from the bulls that cover our cows in the pastures.  Due to the fact that we have very large pastures (a product of the USDA Forest Service's grazing strategy) we run 3 to 4 bulls in each of our cow pastures.  When a 'bull sired' calf has proven throughout it's first year of life that it is of breeding stock quality - will either be a bull or a replacement heifer, we then parentage verify it.  It costs $18.00 per head to parentage verify and $25.00 to register it.  This adds anywhere from $800.00 to $2400.00 of value to each individual animal.  It is an amazing technological tool that was not available to ranchers until  the mid-1990's and one of many scientific breakthroughs coming from land grand university research efforts.

From the 2011 calf crop, of the approximately 90 calves that were not AI sired, there were 13 submitted for parentage verification this past week.

In addition to haying and record keeping, I had a couple meetings last week.  After dropping Kyle off at Wiggles and Giggles (he goes to day care three days a week), I headed the back roads to one of my meetings.  I seldom go by the grade school, but the back road trip unveiled an interesting discovery... I knew that the grade school (K-6) was adding one section to each grade to handle the influx of students to the McKenzie County area that will be educated in the McKenzie County School District #1 in the upcoming school year.

A new class room and teacher housing for the Watford City Grade School.  The North Dakota way - identify problem, roll up sleeves, determine a plan / response to solve problem, execute... Not sure where these units will be set up for the upcoming year, but glad to see the structures are here.
I grocery shop one day a week.  On my 4th trip to and from the suburban with groceries, this little nuisance decided to let me know of his presence in our front yard just a couple feet from our deck... Legend has it that 'girl scream' could be heard all the way to Rolette (4 hours away by motorized vehicle).
Correct.  It is a Prairie Rattler.  Correct.  They are venomous.  Correct.  He was 'euthinized' with a golf club.  Just in case there are PETA or HSUS members that read this post, Sand Adders and Bull Snakes get a free pass around our place and are encouraged to continue hunting crickets and mice.  The same 'house rules' are not granted to the poisonous variety.... That damn snake was TOO close to civilization for a second chance.
Brad taking a west river souvenir back to NDSU with him.  After no encounters last summer (last summer was too cool for snakes), he has two rattles from this summer... this one and one that was on the road blocking his running route one evening. 
So now that we have covered the first part of the week, the second part brought many 'firsts' for me and revealed that even though I love my home town and the county I grew up in (and have the privilege to call home again), there is SO MUCH I don't KNOW about it and its history! 

Back in January, I made a phone call.  That phone call led to a formal request in April.  That formal request made it possible.  Made what possible you ask?

After seeing such rapid change in the area with the development of the Bakken play, I felt the need to document the history of the area as well as showcase what the area has to offer both from a business and professional standpoint and from a tourism standpoint.

The Janaury phone call?  To Cody Shimek, owner of Media Men, Inc. from Minneapolis.  Cody produced a documentary titled 'Small Town Soldiers' and is a Emmy Award winning videographer.  Did I mention that he is a graduate of WCHS?

The April proposal?  To the Watford City Roughrider Fund.  The fund committee recommended funding of the project and the Watford City Council voted to fund it.

So Thursday through Sunday of this past week Cody (with some shadowing and commentary from me) researched, interviewed, videoed and scouted for his September visit to Watford City and McKenzie County.

The Levang (my mom's dad's family) homestead (claimed in 1902) barn just east of Johnson's Corner.
Cody filming McKenzie County winter wheat harvest - David Hoffman's field just off of Co Rd #37.  He also got to ride in the buddy seat for a round.  Thanks David!
Cody filming the reclaimed site of the Risser oil well - the first producer in McKenzie County - spudded in 1952.
Cody prepping Gene Veeder for a 'frame work' interview.  Gene has a very unique perspective on the Bakken play.  In addition to his current position with McKenzie County as the Executive Director of Job Development Authority (JDA), he ranches and his families too, homesteaded in McKenzie County.
HAPPINESS IS IN THE JOURNEY.... this past week has been a GREAT JOURNEY!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back to the grind - after reflection and celebration

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!

As the end of July is creeping up on us, I wanted to take a moment to share with you the love I have for my life and the livelihood that sustains our family.  Self indulgent, I know, but bare with me... there is just something about the knowledge that we are on the back end of summer that stirs reflection in the soul.

Since we turned bulls out the last week of June we have been focused on keeping water lines going, cows and bulls bunched and where they are suppose to be, attempting to control pests in our fields, planning for the arrival of the custom harvesters and arranging delivery of the Canola and Flax, and of course WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO HAY!

Two days last week required parts runs, one to Prairie Implement in Killdeer and one to Anderson Vermeer near Sidney MT.  Here, dad adjusting the 8840's sickle mount after changing out a broken sickle bar.
Kyle napping in the back of the Ford in the hay field while dad and I were fixing on the 8840.  Haying season is tough on everyone!
The 'in the field' repair shop - tools on the Dodge and work space on the Ford.  Unfortunately, there is no AC in this repair shop.

The weather has been very cooperative with the exception of the heat.  July 2012 has been a hot one which is hard on plants, humans, and livestock.  We, unlike many areas of the country have been blessed with timely moisture keeping the forages and crops looking fair to midland (which comparatively speaking, we are most grateful for).  I wish the equipment has been as cooperative as the weather.  Alas, it has not.

In between all that is going on at the ranch, we have had reasons to celebrate.  To celebrate a way of life that few are fortunate enough to experience.  What brings this celebration to the forefront of my thoughts?  The Farm and Ranch Guide's Country Woman of the Year Awards Luncheon.

In June I received a phone call from Kathy White at the Farm and Ranch Guide http://www.farmandranchguide.com/ , a publication that services over 38,000 farmers, ranches, and agri-businesses in North Dakota and the surrounding area.  She informed me that my mother had nominated me for their Country Woman of the Year annual award and that I had been selected as one of the six finalists.  This was exciting, but at the same time my self-talk was saying "I don't deserve this.  There are so many other women that do more for their farm or ranch, their family and their communities.  I simply do not deserve consideration for this award."


None the less, I was honored for the selection and honored to participate in the process, yet fairly naive as to what exactly that process included.

So last Thursday, we shut down the hay equipment, hooked up the trailer (killing several birds with one stone), loaded up a bobcat and a couple colts (all for delivery to places along the way) and headed to the two day interview and awards luncheon for the Farm and Ranch Guide's 2012 Country Woman of the Year.

It was a wonderful experience with the six finalists (alphabetically listed below):
  1. Myself
  2. Jill Brown of Berthold
  3. Sandy Laub of Elgin
  4. Karen Mitteness of Benson, MN
  5. Rita Mosset of Linton
  6. Misty Steeke of Rhame
As the Friday noon luncheon neared and people began rolling in, I started to realize that this award was a pretty big deal to the upper mid west and rural America.  There were approximately 300 people (from my rough table count) in attendance with numerous distinguished guests including 15 of the 18 past Country Women of the Year.  In addition, first lady Betty Dalrymple, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Senator John Hoeven and candidate for US Senate, Heidi Heitkamp were all in attendance and shared their appreciation for the contributions of women in agriculture.

The thing that resonated with me in addition to the people in attendance was the support of businesses and individuals, through their generous contributions toward recognizing the commitment of women in agriculture to their rural lifestyles, their family businesses, their family members and their defined communities.

The winner of the 2012 Farm and Ranch Guide Country Woman of the Year Award was someone who couldn't be more deserving for all she does and the lives that she touches while being an incredible ambassador for agriculture.

CONGRATULATIONS Misty Steeke - http://www.farmandranchguide.com/news/regional/ffa-advisor-ag-teacher-rancher-misty-steeke-a-true-country/article_1b5be2ec-c0a2-11e1-b6b9-0019bb2963f4.html

To the Farm and Ranch Guide, to all those who support the process, to all those who celebrate rural America and appreciate the contributions of farmers and ranchers, THANK YOU! 

Please know from this rancher, that it is an honor and privilege to be able to tend to the resources entrusted in our care and to provide the highest quality protein in the world for a growing population.

Until next time, here is to doing what you love and loving what you do.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

4-H Families - proud reflections of rural America

I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking,
my HEART to greater loyalty,
my HANDS to larger service, and
my HEALTH to better living......
for my club, my community, my country and my WORLD. - the 4-H pledge

The five McKenzie County 4-H showmen competing for the 'Round Robin' award.  For each species (goats, horses, beef, hogs, and sheep), each year the champion showman competes in a round robin competition.  Gracie Dahl (goats), Taylor Dwyer (horses and beef), Breann Obritsch (reserve champion beef), Seth Obritsch (hogs), and Nate Egeberg (sheep) are pictured here awaiting the results after showing all five species, with the highest point earner winning the 2012 McKenzie County Round Robin Showmanship award.  Seth was the 2012 winner and Breann reserve.  Both received trophy buckles  from the Zaye Lindvig (a McKenzie County 4-H member who died in 1996 at the age of 19 from a childhood disease and who's family still exibits the 4-H's in the above pledge) livestock showmanship memorial.

Last week was the McKenzie County Fair.  County fairs are the highlight of most 4-H families year and a social staple of rural America.

The ranch had the honor of sponsoring a couple of the awards given there and Rita, Kim and I had a great time judging static exhibits, interviewing the 4-Hers and learning more about the experiences behind their projects.  I attended the livestock sale and was able to purchase the Grand Champion market hog that was locally raised and cared for by a 4-Her who's family embodies all that is good with rural America and the lifestyle (as well as life lessons) it has to offer.  This is a win : win situation for both our family and visitors to the ranch (there will be a little pork to break up the beef based meals periodically) as well as the 4-Her.

One of five steer classes at the 2012 McKenzie County Fair.

McKenzie County is cattle country, specifically cow/calf.  The county has a large amount of 'badlands' terrain which without ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats have a stomach with 4 compartments allowing them to make use of forages that monogasterics (humans, poultry, hogs...) cannot) has little to no food production value.  Most of this country is not farmable due to ruggedness and soil that is less productive due to its type.  My point, when there are 65,000 cows and 15,000 people (before the oil boom, that number was closer to 5,000) in a county, the 4-H livestock projects, specifically steers, are a BIG part of the county fair.

The McKenzie County 4-H livestock community 'chillin' in the beef barn after the show.

There were 44 steers this year and a handful of hogs, sheep, goats, poultry and other small animals.  Unlike many county fairs where premiums are sold, when you buy an animal at the McKenzie County 4-H livestock sale, you own the animal.  There is a huge amount of support from local and regional businesses that understand two things - 4-H and the lessons learned through it's participation strengthens the H's (again, see the pledge above) and instills a deeper understanding of them in participating youth.  Also, they have the opportunity to purchase locally raised, fed, harvested and processed meat to fill their and their employees freezers for the upcoming year.

This year there was an interesting twist to the 4-H livestock sale.

A little girl (2 years old) in the community, from the Keene area was diagnosed with leukemia the middle of June.  Her father grew up in McKenzie County and was a 4-H kid back in the late 80's and 90's.  They are a ranching family and all the kids were members of the 'Keene Lucky Leaf' 4-H club growing up.

Before the 4-H livestock sale this year,  each 4-H youth selling a market animal in the sale was given the opportunity to donate a portion of the sale of their animal to this family to defray medical expenses and expenses incurred during their two month stay down at Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN.

Before the sale started, the county agenty held up a 3 inch stack of donation cards which were voluntarily contributed to the family from 4-H members wanting to help one of their community members in need.  When I asked the dollar amount this morning, it was yet to be tallied, but it was predicted to be significant.  This group of 4-Hers were AMAZING and expressed their 4-H's (again, see the above pledge) in a way that brought a tear to my eye and reminded me yet again of how important 'community' is and how at their young ages, these 4-Her already know this.

During the Round Robin competition.  Each showman has 2 minutes with each of the five species.  The judges score the showman's handling of each animal as well as asking them production questions to evaluate their knowledge of each of the livestock species.
Around Elkhorn Creek Ranch, we bleed NDSU BISON green and gold, we howl with the WCHS Wolves, and we are KEENE LUCKY LEAVES at heart!
My parents enrolled me and my sister in 4-H the first year that we were eligible and we were active members from ages 8 to 18. 

Just a few of the life lessons I learned in 4-H:
  • Winning isn't everything, but still do your best at what ever you commit to doing.  Anything less will let down your team and yourself.
  • Be a gracious winner, but an even more gracious loses.  Losing graciously makes you a winner in the end and you will probably learn more from the loss than you would have from the win.
  • Your 'competition' is also your community members (genetic (yes, a genetic community is a family), 4-H or otherwise) - play fair, play hard, RAISE those around you UP as sometimes you might be the one raising and sometimes you might be the one needing the 'up' - either way, it promotes the greater good and supports 'team'. 
  • Take care of your animals - how they are cared for and how they act are a direct reflection of you.
  • Understanding the circle of life and what makes the world go around.  Keep it real.  Respect the resources, others and yourself.
  • Cry for 'SPUD' (my first 4-H steer and class II winner of the 1984 McKenzie County Fair) and then move forward always remembering it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
  • At ANY AGE, keep your head clear, your heart loyal, your hands serving (others, that it... if you have come to serve yourself, go home and do that on your own time) and your health a priority (so you have more years of service to others in you)!
To the 2012 McKenzie Country 4-Hers and their families, congratulations on an excellent fair and for being a PROUD reflection of all that is good in rural America.  And to Seth, thanks for the pork!  We are looking forward to it!

As always, greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July Festivities

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation!

I understand that the United States' Independence Day is a big deal from sea to shining sea.  It is safe to say that in rural America it is cherished not only for being America's birthday, but also as an opportunity to honor our veterans.

The small community of Arnegard, 7 miles west of Watford City on US Highway 85 has an amazing celebration of America's Birthday, an honored homestead family (this year was the Schultz family) and recognizing our veterans and their families for their sacrifices and contributions to our country's freedom.

On a ranch level, it is a way that we celebrate Independence Day, but also celebrate Mother Nature's blessings of a wet spring (if it has been, we have fireworks and campfire..... if it has not, we don't). 

So it was two days of CELEBRATION, on the evening of the 3rd with family and neighbors at the ranch and on the 4th with our local veterans and the community of Arnegard.  After two days of celebration, it was back to ranch activities with gathering the two pastures of cows to ensure the bulls had optimal coverage for our 21 day check back after AIing.

This is my dad, Kurt Hovet, a veteran of the Vietnam war carrying one of the four honored flags in the Arnegard 4th of July parade.

Veterans of all wars and branches of service being honored at the Arnegard celebration.
The parade is a celebration of veterans and heritage.  This 'horse power' display is owned by the Madison Ranch and driven by Milt Madison.

The color guard at the Arnegard parade.  All veterans and all keepers of western heritage - Dennis Johnson, Glenn Skoglund, LeRoy Defoe, and Kurt Hovet (my dad).
The Schultz family - the honored homesteader family.
Neighbors and Family at the ranch.

The 'after fireworks' nearly full moon at the ranch.
A backup visual in the event the video doesn't work - Lee Murphy (my sister's husband) is the selector and executor of the ranch's fireworks show.  It was another great show this year enjoyed by approximately 20 neighbors and family members!

Thursday morning, the 5th, headed to the barn to gather cows.
L to R - Brad on Maggie, Pete on Dos, and Nancy Broderson (my friend and high school classmate from the Twin Cities on Hoss) and Oop's ears.... Oops has been my project this summer and the reason that you haven't had alot of 'a top a horse' shots the month of June.... he is a bit of a handful.  Oops and I are usually 50 feet ahead of everyone else.  We have already stopped for a drink and climbed the other side of the Cherry creek bank and are impatiently waiting for the rest of the crew.
Sweeping the pasture and pushing all the cows and bulls to 'new grass'.  Nancy on Hoss - they were a good team that day!
The Rough Creek pasture cows almost to 'their new grass and the water tank'.
We like to 'trade riders' as part of our 'young horse' training.  Pete rode Oops home and I am atop Dos.  In the fore-ground, you can see our house.... HOME SWEET HOME after a long day.

It really was a wonderful 4th of July week both in the rural western North Dakota community of Arnegard and also at our little piece of heaven at the end of the road!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Show time!

Greetings from Elkhorn Creek Ranch near the epicenter of the Bakken oil formation.

June 23rd was our big day!  Embryo Transfer (ET) day.

Embryo transfer is a technology that is used both in the production of high quality seedstock (livestock as well as recreation and companion species) in the animal world and also in human society.  Although the reasons are different, it is safe to say the technology is nearly the same between all species (including humans).

First, the WHY:
We raise bulls and heifers for commercial cattlemen.  We want to be using as much 'elite' genetics as possible that is highly predictable and will provide the most amount of financial success for our commercial customers.  Examples - calf easy, are good mothers (take good care of their calves so preditors don't get them and give them enough nutrient dense milk so they grow fast and are healthy and wean heavy in the fall), are efficient (use less feed and resources to generate more pounds of beef), have longevity (so they stay in the our customers' herds for more years and raise a good calf each year).... 

Second, the HOW:
The first thing is to determine the elite genetics.  Due to the fact that we register almost all of our eligible calves (where both the sire (father) and dam (mother) are reistered (parentage traced)) and we report the annual production of all of our calves to the American Angus Association (AAA) every year, we have many statistical tools / data to help us determine our strongest cows (the ones that will raise calves that will make our customers profitable) in the herd.  These cows are our 'highest honors honor roll students' or our 'Mother of the Year' cows.  These cows are known as our 'donor' cows.

Through technology, we are able to allow these donor cows to have multiple calves in each calf crop.  They go through the same process a human would that either can not conceive naturally or wants multiples... like Octa-Mom.  Only, unlike Octa-mom's doctor, Dr. Michael removes ALL the embryos from each donor cow and transfers them into recipient cows.  We select five donor cows each year, which have earned this elite status.

It is very technical and very scheduled and timed out, and on the day that these embryos are ready to be moved from the donor cows into a recipient mothers (typically our commercial / nonregistered cows), the doctors, technicians and lab equipment show up and set up.

Dr. Michael (Doctor of Reproductive Physiology) and Dr. Bruce (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) bringing expertise and technology to the ranch to continue to improve our cow herd.  This has both a trickle down effect on our customers' success and profitablity and also an impact on the US Beef industry, which is known as the world's source of the safest, most efficiently produced and highest quality Zinc, Iron and Protein available. 

Dr. Bruce using his electronic tablet to capture images of the embryos under the microscope from one of the five donor cows which will be transferred shortly to the recipient mothers after being graded and aged.

The 10 little embryos from one of the five donor cows which Dr. Michael transferred into our commercial recipient cows.  Using eight years (the number of years that we have used ET on our ranch) of statical data, we can expect to have seven of these little eight celled embryos become calves. 

The record keeping system to track each embryo which is transfered until they are born next spring at which time they are tagged for individual identification.

Through ET, we are able to focus on our best cows and provide multiple full brothers each year out of them in our private treaty bull offering to our commercial customers.  This allows them to breed all of their cows to full brothers adding uniformity to their calf crops.  Uniformity typically adds value to the feed lots that purchase their calves which continues to affect each part of the beef industry until we get to the end customer - MOM (the household's domestic manager).  When she goes to the grocery store to select tenderloins for grilling for her family and the neighbor's family on a Friday evening gathering, this uniformity in genetic selection promotes the likelihood that each steak will be more uniform in size and similar in eating quality (tenderness, juiciness and flavor).



So there you have it!  That is why we (and so many other US ranchers) work so hard the month of June with our AI and ET programs - the tools we use to stay on the cutting edge of 'beef genetics'.