DENVER - Astute marketing and a commitment to customer service and quality helped earn the North American Limousin Foundation (NALF) Commercial Producer of the Year award for H&T Cattle Company of Rapid City, SD.
The ranch is comprised of Harold and Judy Bies, their son Travis and his family, and their daughter Donna and her family. The family enterprise topped a field of eight nominees. Jerry Wulf of Wulf Limousin Farms presented the award Jan. 9 during the NALF Annual Banquet/Member Social at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo.
"The Bies' commitment to quality shows throughout their operation. They strive to produce cattle that excel from the pasture to the plate, and work to obtain the feedlot and carcass data which they use as a tool to maximize their bull selection," said Joe Epperly, direcort of commercial marketing of NALF.
Consistent proven genetics from top Limousin herds have allowed H&T to pursue the all-natural niche market. Through careful genetic selection for high maternal and growth EPDs, H&T is still able to wean a heavy calf in late September, even without growth implants. By following strict all-natural protocol, this provides them access to specific, value-added markets. Routine vaccinations are still administered, but no implants or antibiotic. Travis explains, "We believe we have to the most dollars out of every calf. Managing our calves the all-natural way is just one more marketing tool to try and increase their value."
H&T markets their steer calves and non-replacement heifers just after weaning through either Superior Livestock Auctions or direct sales to feeders. They maintain contact with the feeders to assess their calves' ability in the feedlot and on the rail. H&T has also retained ownership through the feeding stage to capture added value and to better understand their cattle's performance.
H&T understand the value of information at marketing time as they rigorously document their cowherd's genetic and health records. H&T is certified for the non-hormone treated market (NHTC), qualifying their cattle to sell into the European Union. Selling their calves with this verified information has enabled them to receive premiums. They also participate in the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) program, which allows them to enter the market for Whole Foods and other exclusive retail stores. The commitment to information and an extensive individual identification system have allowed them to assess their cowherd in a more intensive manner. This allows for more scientific culling and a more targeted bull selection.
Jerry Wulf of Wulf Limousin in Morris, Minn. characterizes H&T as the "perfect commercial customer." In his presentation speech, Jerry stated, "they are always hungry for information and ways to improve, which yields a better product every time." A consistent quality hybrid product is a focus for this operation and their dedication to information and enhanced marketing have made them one of the most successful operations in the country.