This last week I had the pleasure of touring the Ponca Creek Cattle Company. My Aunt Cindy and Uncle Tom own this operation. My Aunt Cindy grew up on this land and it has been in her family for 100 years.
My Uncle Tom just lit up talking about his cattle company. That was cool. He might be a banker by trade but he’s a rancher at heart. I guess I had to leave South Dakota to get more interested in some parts of the world I grew up in. I could’ve been a rancher, but I fell in love with a boy who grew up by the sea…and much to the chagrin of my family, a Massachusetts Democrat as well. They’ve grown to love him anyway. I digress…
There are terms I had never heard before like breeding “Pathfinders”. How wonderfully connected to the spirit of South Dakota to hear that certain calves are “Pathfinders”—it’s really quite interesting scientifically. Tom has found one of the best guys around to be learn best breeding practices from. A good lesson in “knowing your resources”. Thanks, Uncle Tom.
I have a lot more pictures, this is only the first installment. I hope you enjoy this little tour of a South Dakota cattle ranch, west of the Missouri River and not too far from the Nebraska border.
“The Pathfinder Angus program was started in 1978 in an effort to identify superior cows in the breed based on their records of performance from Angus Herd Improvement Records (AHIR). In identifying these superior cows, emphasis was placed on early puberty, breeding and early calving, followed by regularity of calving and above-average performance of the offspring.
…the Pathfinder Report requires a minimum of three calves from a cow to determine her regularity of calving and ability to produce superior calves for weaning weight year after year. In addition, an important part of the report is the list of bulls that have sired five or more qualifying females.”
(I felt compassionate for these parents. There’s too much pressure to create superior offspring. Right?)
Here is a link to the American Angus Association if you would like to learn more:
This is a really fun post! Great pix of Tom with each of his ladies! My mother’s cousin (who is well in his eighties now) has raised Black Angus for many years in Northwood, NH; we drive past their home when we go to ME! His farm is minuscule (always thought that was spelled “mini…” ’til spellcheck corrected me!) compared to this ranch, I’m quite sure!
Ponca…what’s the story behind that?
the video of Cindys family home is here
what a wonderful prairie story… you are a pathfinder my friend