KANSAS CITY — In the center of America’s heartland lies Kansas City, a metropolitan area that boasts a rich agricultural history. Kansas City’s roots can be traced to the establishment of the Kansas City Stockyards in 1871 and the American Royal Stock Show in 1899. Most know that tradition and agriculture have long been linked. In the modern era, livestock families have adopted new and creative approaches to bring the next generation into the operation to maintain their family enterprise. The 2020 National Angus Tour, hosted by the Missouri Angus Association, will shine the spotlight on several innovative farming families.
The first stop on the tour is Valley Oaks Feedlot, located approximately 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City. Owned and operated by the David Ward family, the feedlot is housed in Lone Jack, Mo. and has a 4,500 head capacity. The state-of-the-art Valley Oaks Feedlot was custom-designed to provide cattle with optimal ventilation and temperature control in a low-stress environment. The safe atmosphere and feeding program, combined with a superior genetic platform, elevates their cattle to be highly sought after by packers and local butcher shops alike. The operation typically produces 25 percent Prime and 98 percent Choice or higher premiums and is home to the 2019 American Royal Grand Champion Steak Competition.
Highlights of the Valley Oaks tour stop include animal health and nutrition, a stress-free building tour, manure management and direct consumer marketing. Additionally, the Wards will share personal experiences in Agri-tourism along with challenges from animal and environmental activists.
“We look forward to hosting the National Angus Tour every year, and this year’s tour stops are second-to-none,” Caitlyn Brandt, American Angus Association® events coordinator said, “Attendees can look forward to an educational tour that highlights many facets of the beef business, especially in the Midwest.”
The second stop on the tour is Mershon Cattle in Buckner, Mo. Mershon Cattle is an award-winning commercial cattle operation owned by Bruce and Tracey Mershon. The couple have been honored as recipients of the 2019 Beef Improvement Federation’s Commercial Producer of the Year, the 2018 Missouri Hereford Association Commercial Breeder of the Year and the 2013 Missouri Angus Association Commercial Producer of the Year. This data-driven operation is backed by an Angus-based crossbred cow herd. They utilize Angus, Hereford, Simmental and Charolais AI and natural service sires that excel in carcass quality, feed efficiency, docility and fescue tolerance. Through careful genetic selection over the past 15 years, they have seen harvest data steadily improve and are now consistently running 95 percent Choice or better and 5 percent Prime.
During the farm tour, visitors will see their multi-faceted operation up close and hear from experts who work closely with the Mershon family as advisors on research trials. Attendees will learn about sexed semen and split time AI trials, as well as hair shedding; use of commodity byproduct feed blends; the use of new technology in database management of herd performance; and the symbiotic relationship with their row crop and seed business. Additionally, on display will be cows, yearlings and calves as well as their AI and natural service sires.
Lunch will be served at the beautiful Lone Summit Ranch, near Lees Summit, Mo. Established in the early 1900s, the property has been home to outstanding pedigreed livestock of several species. Purchased in 2015, Linda Sallee and her husband have worked tirelessly to restore the historic buildings and barns to their original grandeur. Today, the facilities are available as a special event venue and host a variety of weddings, corporate meetings, dinners and photoshoots.
“Missouri is the Show-Me State and the Missouri Angus Association is excited to show attendees these progressive operations,” Julie Conover, Missouri Angus Association general manager said. “We hope you join us on Nov. 6 for this great Angus activity.”
Tour is limited to 200 guests and spaces often fill up quickly. Registration and hotel reservations open July 1, and more information will be available online at www.angusconvention.com.
–American Angus Association
For more articles concerning the cattle industry, click here.