Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kohlhaas Cattle Co., Iowa

We are excited to feature one of our recent cattle website designs, Kohlhaas Cattle Co. of Lu Verne, Iowa.

The Kohlhaas family came to us earlier in 2012 because they really liked the work we had done for lots of other Iowa club calf producers, and also the website we had just done for Cyclone Trace.

And, no surprise, when we got the design instructions for KCC, guess what their design preference was....Red and Gold, Iowa State colors.

We love working with customers of all backgrounds, but family farms are always special to us. Kohlhaas Cattle Company is a 3-generation family cattle and grain farm. Their business began in 1989, when they bought their first club calf for a 4-H project at the Kossuth County Fair.

Like many others in the business, once they had that first calf, they were hooked. The Kohlhaas's said that that first calf ignited a passion within their entire family and motivated them to work harder each year to grow their success in the show cattle industry.

I guess if you had to say what is the most unique thing about this family, it would be their niche in market heifers. They are pretty much the experts on market heifers. In fact, they have exhibited FOUR grand champion market heifers at the Iowa State Fair and also two reserve grand champion market heifers at the Iowa State Fair. So yeah, they are the people that when you see them in your class, you are silently bummed because you know they'll be so hard to beat!

Since that first calf in 1989, more than 20 years ago, KCC has developed a respected program with proven consistency in the show ring. They use their experiences from what they learned while showing all those champions to help their clients.

This really was an awesome group to work with -- and I hope you will check them out at

And yeah, if you are in the market for a market heifer -- you know where to go!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Are you a show manager? Or a livestock judge? If so, we invite you to check out a new website we have been working on - This is a new site that is sort of like a for shows and judges.

If you are a show manager, this is a great tool for finding judges in your area, or finding some new judges that maybe you have not used before.

If you are a judge, this is another great tool to get your name and qualifications out there, and possibly connect with new shows too.

We are proud to be one of the collaborators on this site, and we hope you will check it out!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Louisville 2012 Recap

Well we just returned from Louisville for my favorite show of the fall. And as always, we came home with lots of new stories and good memories from the show. 

Here's a few things I learned at the show....
If you have a phone number listed on your livestock trailer or stall signs, be sure to include your cell phone #. We had a friend who had a heifer get their head stuck in the fence. Someone tried to call the # listed on their sign but it was a home # and they couldn't get ahold of the people to let them know.

The Cardinal Grill is not NEAR as crowded on Sunday night, and if you get there around 6 you can avoid the wait!

The shuttle at the Hilton Garden Inn is great.

The Cinnamon Toast french toast at Cracker Barrel is SOOOO worth the calories!

The hallways of Freedom Hall is THE place to see and be seen. Forget the main aisle ha ha! We loved chatting and visiting with everyone at the show.

The Showtimes Magazine and The Showbox Magazines were clearly stepping it up even more than what they already do it that is even possible. They were there handing out magazines like crazy, handing out caps, goodies, give-a-ways, etc. Everywhere you turned you could see these two magazines and people looking at them.

Why is it that the barn is 30 degrees colder than the showring? It makes it so hard to decide whether to bring a jacket or leave it at the stalls.

And the newest observation of the year from Louisville....

This year's gate people are R-U-D-E!!!!! They turned me and Emily around after we walked all the way from the hotel to the gate because we hadn't got our passes yet. So to avoid the $12 per head fee to get in the gate, we, of course, devised a backup plan to get in which SUCCEEDED. I still don't understand why certain gate people at livestock shows think that just because they are an hourly paid rent-a-cop that they have this super authority to turn people away or let them in. Really, we're here all the way from Texas, we're clearly cattle people, we're SUPPOSED to be inside that gate.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Best of the Barns 2012

Voting is now underway for Best of the Barns 2012 - The awards program that rewards the best of the best in the livestock business!

To cast your vote, go to and get started.

This year we have over 40 categories ranging from best online show broadcast team to best semen sales firm and much much more. And our biggest question is the very last question....which you'll have to complete the survey to see!

And new for this year....the Best of the Barns Hall of Fame. Including new categories for Sire of the Year for the club calf category and showpig category, best cattle fitter, livestock friend of the year and more!

After completing the survey you'll also get a special code to use in the RHD store.

Thanks again and go to to vote!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rachel Cutrer & Cari Rincker win Awards at A&M

Earlier this month we were very excited to celebrate two young women winning big awards at Texas A&M!

Rachel Cutrer and Cari Rincker (a client of RHD) were selected as the two winners of the TAMU Outstanding Young Alumni award from the College of Ag.

Here are the 2 videos about the winners, we are really happy for them!
Rachel's Video:

Cari's Video:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012-2013 RHD Scholars Announced

Twenty-seven young professionals have been selected to participate in the first annual RHD Scholars program! We are so proud to have created this mentorship program designed to recognize and build the brightest aspiring livestock marketing and advertising professionals. We had more than 100 applicants from 35 different universities, and are excited to be working with this group of students.

The 2012-2013 RHD scholars are:

Adelyn Allen, a junior agricultural leadership and development major at Texas A&M University;
Sierra Angell, a junior agriculture major at University of Missouri;
Kali Begalka, a senior animal science and agricultural communications major at Oklahoma State University;
Emily Brinkman, a senior agricultural communications major at Oklahoma State University;
Michaela Buford, a sophomore agribusiness major at Lone Star College;
Sarah Caffey, a sophomore agricultural communications major at Texas A&M University;
Bailey Core, a freshman animal science and agricultural communications major at Iowa State University;
Ashley Culpepper, a senior agricultural communications major at Auburn University;
Carrie Elmore, a senior animal science major at Clemson University;
Chloe Geye, a junior animal science major at Texas A&M University;
Victoria Glaser, a freshman agricultural business major at Louisiana State University;
Kelsey Jones, a junior agricultural communications major at Texas Tech University;
Jordan Kuhn, a freshman agricultural communications major at Purdue University;
Meredith Larson, a junior agribusiness major at Texas A&M University;
Keegan Langford, a junior agricultural communications major at Texas Tech University;
Lynsey Meharg, a sophomore agricultural communications major at Connors State College;
Morgan Meisenheimer, a senior agricultural communications major at Oklahoma State University;
Hannah Miller, a senior agricultural communications major at Tarleton State University;
Stefanie M. Neuhaus, a junior agricultural communications major at Texas Tech University;
Bethany Nolan, a sophomore agricultural communications major at Texas A&M University;
Elizabeth Oliver, a senior agribusiness management major at Michigan State University;
Victoria Pilger, a senior agricultural communications major at Texas A&M University;
Brooke Prather, a junior agricultural communications major at Louisiana State University;
Tana Simmons, a freshman agricultural communications major at Purdue University;
Meagan Stephens, a senior agricultural communications major at Oklahoma State University;
Cally Thomas, a senior animal science major at Kansas State University;
Ashley Vogel, a junior agricultural communications major at Iowa State University;

Additionally, two graduate students were selected to the program:
Chelsey Ahrens, a doctoral candidate studying agricultural communications at Texas Tech University; and
Lyndi Jury, a master’s candidate studying animal and dairy science at Mississippi State University.

The students will begin a 1-year mentorship program with RHD, in which they will focus on building their professional skills in livestock advertising and web design, livestock marketing, photography, video, journalism, and social media. The students will participate in mentorship opportunities at the American Royal, North American, Denver, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston Livestock Shows. Additionally, each student will be paired with an industry mentor who will help the students achieve their career goals. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Faces on the RHD Team!

2012 has been a big year of continued growth at RHD and as always we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with the best customers in the business.

This fall we have greatly expanded our staff and thus, our areas of service as well! I am so proud that these new team members have joined RHD. They are all SMART and experienced people that just add to the outstanding team that we have here. So, here are a few of our new team members! Some are new faces, and some need no introduction :)

 Callie Graves was our first hire of the summer / fall. Callie is originally from East Bernard, Texas, making her the 4th "Brahma" fan on our staff. Well, actually we are all BRAHMAN fans but we're talking about being fans of her alma mater, East Bernard High School, who's mascot is the Brahmas.

Callie will be working in our print division, primarily working with graphic design projects and also serving as a designer for the Chianina Journal and Chi Connection, which RHD is now designing. Callie has past experience as a print designer and is extremely familiar with Photoshop and InDesign, and also the rodeo business. She is awesome!

Next up, a lady who needs no introduction in the cattle business: KC Kinder. I always say KC Keffer, but then again, lots of people refer to me as Rachel Williams still...and it doesn't bother me... so I doubt KC minds either for those of us who always say KC Keffer. KC is an Indiana native and now an Oklahoma resident. She has a B.S. in Ag Communications from Oklahoma State and a great deal of experience in the cattle business.

KC joined the RHD team on a part time basis about a year ago as one of our RHD reps. She quickly became one of the top RHD Reps and then we hired her full time this summer. She does a lot of things around here. First, she is serving as our special projects coordinator, and currently her biggest project is the Best of the Barns contest which will crank up this fall. She also serves as coordinator of our RHD reps program and is our livestock sales representative. And she photographs and does video editing too. And, starting this fall, she joined our web updates team and spends a considerable amount of time working on websites now too. If you don't happen to know KC, she'll be at Louisville and lots of other fall shows and sales, most likely in the Hereford aisles. She's also the proud mother of two little adorable twins, who we all affectionately refer to as "Surround Sound."

Joining us in September 2012....Melissa Guttenberger, formerly Melissa Muegge and a Brenham, Texas native and Santa Gertrudis showman. Before Melissa officially agreed to join our team, I kept telling everyone at the office "She's a genius! She has a master's degree in ag communications!" To which then Carole sweetly reminded me that I TOO have a master's degree lol.

Melissa is super talented and extremely well versed in the agriculture and business industries. She has a B.S. in communications from Texas A&M where she worked for Dr. Joe Townsend and was very involved in all kinds of things there. Next, she received a M.S. in ag communications from the University of Florida, which us ag comm folks recognize as one of the top programs in the nation. From there, she went to work for Allflex as their national accounts manager, then later the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. So how'd she end up in Wharton, Texas? LOVE! Her husband Kelly is a Wharton native and the Guttenberger's have made their home here. Melissa joined our team as our web division project manager. We have been growing so much in the web division that we felt the need to split Tricia's past project manager duties into a print division and web division. So Tricia will continue to work with our print projects, and Melissa will now be handling the web projects. Melissa is also a proud mom of a handsome son, Grant.

And look at this...a MAN on the RHD team!!!! Some people ask how he handles it, but most people think he's pretty lucky to be working with 10 beautiful ladies all day! :)

Matt Sweeney joined RHD in September 2012 as our lead developer. So what does that mean? Means he's the smartest person on our staff. Including smarter than me!

Matt is a web design guru. He had been doing some freelance work for RHD for the past 2 years, but never had been able to take a full time position with us because his first calling is serving as youth minister for Grace Community Church here in Wharton. This fall, an opportunity came up where Matt could do both - work for RHD full time and still work with the church. God is so good!!!

Matt knows more about web design than I could ever dream of, and we expect that to start showing when you see the new designs that RHD will be able to produce with the addition of Matt to our team. His addition to our group means we will be able to offer advanced web design services now with lots of "bells and whistles" and new services. Matt is also an experienced videographer, and we will be able to offer that service now too. Before you start calling us to come video your sale cattle, we want to say that we will not be offering video services as extensively as some of our friends and colleages in the business like Ideal Video or Cattle in Motion. But we WILL be offering the kind of videos businesses and ranchers need like promotional videos, video blogs, and more. We have some awesome video work coming down the pipe in the next month so stay tuned.

WOW! So big things are happening here at RHD, and we give all the glory to GOD. Thank you to everyone who helps make our jobs a joy and for allowing us to do what we love!!! The best is yet to come from RHD! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 24, 2012

RHD Scholars Program

Last week we came up with a new idea as just one more way RHD can help contribute to giving back to the industry....The RHD Scholars program.

You can check out all the details here:

But basically, the program is a nationwide mentorship program designed to help build future leaders in livestock advertising and marketing. Who should apply?

1) College students who have ever said "I wish I could work for RHD"
2) College students who have ever said "I wish I could start a business like RHD"
3) College students who want to be livestock photographers
4) College students who want to work for a breed association
5) College students who'd like to be advertising designers or web designers
6) College students who'd like to work as a sale consultant or livestock consultant
7) College students who'd like to work for a magazine, design agency, PR firm, etc.

We are going to go through all applications to the program (as of writing this blog we have about 35 applications from students across the USA) and we are going to select 20 students. Then basically we are taking these students under our wing for the school year and beyond.

We will work with them in the areas of design, marketing, photography, journalism, social media, and more.

We will be scheduling RHD Scholars events at Kansas City, Louisville, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston and other big livestock industry events. We are also working the logistics of possibly doing a special RHD Scholars event where all of the group will come to our headquarters in Texas for a special RHD Scholars conference.

Basically we will team each of the scholars up with various members of our staff as well as industry contacts who share their same professional goals. And wow do we have some awesome industry mentors lined up!!! Just a few of our industry mentors include Martha Garrett, Julie French, Jeremy Haag, Luke Bowman, Brooke Bennett, Jim Williams, Wade Fischer, Crystal Blin, and many more! The scholars will be able to call upon their mentors for career advice, networking, and critiques.

The elite group of RHD Scholars will also be recognized and promoted on the RHD website and have access to industry job postings and scholarship announcements.

The application process is super easy, you can get it here: It's not meant to be a huge ominious application just a way for us to get to know the applicants and their career needs.

Applications are due September 31st, so check it out!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why we hate the words "CLICK HERE TO...."

People here at RHD affectionately (NOT) refer to me as the web updates nazi at certain points because I have very particular pet peeves and standards that we follow for all web updates. For example, consistency in captions like things like using Exhibited by vs. Shown by vs. Owned by for captions. Another example is consistent image sizes, or not using music on websites, and things like that.

Perhaps my biggest pet peeve and web design no-no is the use of the words CLICK HERE TO.....bla bla bla. As in:

Click here to view videos
Click here to read our newsletter
Click here to see our sale catalog

The only way this could be worse would be if it is accompanied by a flashing icon that says CLICK HERE

Ugh I almost have a panic attack just looking at that!!!

Yet continually, we do have clients who ask us to put in the words "CLICK HERE TO..." and though we do it if the client specifically asks, I really hate to do it. And here is why.

The bottom line is it is insulting to your viewer. It implies that people aren't smart enough to know that if there is something that's a link, that you click on it to access it.

Second, it's unnecessary words. As trained journalists we are always working to keep things as concise as possible. Get your message out in the least amount of words as possible. Click here to is 3 un-necessary words. 

As the updates nazi, I suggest replacing the words Click Here To" with something as simple as:

View Video or Watch Video
Read our Newsletter 
Browse our Sale Catalog 

All of these are active voice, direct, to the point, and the least amount of words as possible.

Here's another great blog on the history of why not to say CLICK HERE....

HA HA HA I just had to say it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goal Accomplished: Article in Angus Journal

I've always felt that journalism was my passion. Though today my career finds me doing more PR and graphic design work, it was writing that first drew me into the field of communications.

My college major was animal science. But that wasn't exactly how I planned it. I first applied to Texas A&M University under the Ag Journalism department. When I went for my new student conference and it came to the point where you go meet with your department advisor to schedule your classes, no one from the Ag Journalism department showed up. So there my mom and I were sitting alone in Kleberg looking around wondering what the heck do we do now??

After sitting there, feeling stupid, and waiting for the ag journalism people to show up, Dr. Chris Skaggs came in and saw us. We knew Dr. Skaggs from showing and judging. He asked what was wrong, and said hey, don't worry, come with me...we want you in animal science! So I switched my major and Dr. Skaggs got me enrolled. I always say that was probably one of the most pivotal moments of my college career. Just think how my life would have been different if it wouldn't have been for the great people of the animal science  department like Dr. Skaggs, Dr. Boleman, and Dr. McNeill who shaped my life so much.

Despite the obvious shunning from the Deparment of Ag Journalism, which I've never quite got over, I graduated with a degree in animal science but I always had the passion for writing. When I was a junior at A&M, I wanted to take journalism classes for my electives. So I took the dreaded GSP (Grammar Spelling Punctuation) test that you had to pass to get admitted into the regular communications program. Made a perfect score. But since I was an animal science major (not communications) they still wouldn't let me in the journalism classes.

So, what did I do? Well, to be honest, I never gave up. I tried a different route...doing things on my own. I bought journalism textbooks and read them even though I wasn't in the classes. I got a mentor, Martha Garrett, who let me do some writing for her and she critiqued and edited it for me. I volunteered at The Eagle (Bryan Newspaper) and wrote for them to gain experience under the mentorship of Beverly Mosely. I volunteered with the TAMU Ag News team and wrote news releases. I joined the AgriLeader staff. I stalked news releases put out by the TAMU public relations office and I tried to learn everything I could in every way I could, even though Texas A&M journalism department seemed to keep closing the doors on me.

At that time, I idolized the Angus Journal. To me this was (and still is) the premier beef cattle breed association publication. I applied for their internship. Made the finals, went to St. Joe to interview, but didn't get selected. So, I then applied for a program they had at that time called the "Young Guns Writer Program" or something like that. It was for college students and you wrote articles kind of as mini-internships. I wrote several, submitted them, but none got published. I remember looking each month at the other ag journalism students who's stories made it and I'll admit, I was jealous.

One of my favorite songs of the summer is Eli Young's Keep on Dreaming. There's a line in that song that says "Some dreams stay with you forever, drag you around and bring you back to where you were. Some dreams keep on getting better, gotta keep believing if you want to know for sure." That is one of my favorite lyrics ever, because it's true.

I'm 33 years old, and it's been over 10 years since I sat there in my little office at Kleberg looking at the Angus Journal online and wishing it would be MY name on the byline. Between then and now, I've become a leading ag communications professional in the world, written a book, won 30 national design awards, and won Aggie 100 5 years in a row. But as they say, some dreams stay with you forever. And I'm proud to say that this May, I finally accomplished that goal. One of my stories was published in their May issue, and you can read it here:

You're never too old, or too professionally successful to re-visit old goals, set new goals and accomplish them. And it's true, if you keep on dreaming, and keep on trying, you CAN accomplish anything you want. It might take you 10 years, or even longer, but you CAN.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

History: Conoco

Our first "History Lesson" on our RHD facebook page of course had to be this famous steer!!!! Here is what we have learned from each other about this significant historical animal!

  • Chris Terembes first identified the steer as "Conoco", followed by Sarah Abatti adding that he was the first crossbred steer to win a national show, judged by Dr. Don Good.
  • Jeannine Doughty (who happens to know a lot of history by the way) added that indeed, Conoco was the Grand Champion Steer at the 1969 International, a Charolais x Angus steer who weighed 1250 pounds.
  • John Dickinson (of course he had to get an Angus plug in there) noted that the steer was sired by an Charolais bull and out of an Angus cow from North Dakota. 
  • Curtis Ohlde taught us that Dr. Good was a professor at Kansas State University, then Chris Cassady shared that the steer graded Choice and was a Yield Grade 2.  
  • Beth Riffel told us that Conoco's picture still hangs in Weber 123 on the campus of K State University.
  • Holly Martin knew that the exhibitor's name was Brad Lindskog and shared a great blog about this story that was published in the High Plains Journal: John Dickinson shared that Lindskog had won in Illinois a lot with the steer and then went on to win Chicago. Les Reel is on the halter on this picture. Chicago Mercantile bought the steer for $12/pound.
  • Dr. Twig Marston, beef cattle professor, added that Conoco was the beginning of the modern beef industry, and Debbie Crow shared that she was there that day and remembers the show!
Then, we all got a treat!! Kris Miller (sister to Brad, the exhibitor) shared: "That is my big brother's steer Conoco!" At that point everyone was delighted to get the birds eye view of the show from the people who experienced it first hand! Kris shared that the family also won the show a few years later with a steer named Bold Move. Conoco was presented to a Japanese official in Washington, D.C. and lived out his life there. He was never butchered.

THANKS everyone for sharing and helping us learn about a great piece of history!

History: "The White Heifer that Travelled"

In August we posted this famous Shorthorn photo to our facebook page where our friends take part in our "History Lessons" where we post old photos and then everyone shares what they know. This photo features "The White Heifer That Travelled", an old Shorthorn photo.

Here are some great tidbits about this significant animal.

  • J.E. Ranch first identified her as "The White Heifer That Travelled", and later Jeannine Doughty identified that she lived in the early 1800s and was a freemartin heifer.
  • Charles Anderson helped us learn that she was bred by Robert Colling and that the freemartin weighed over 2,300 pounds at maturity! He also said that she was so fat that the groove down her topline was so deep that locals would drink their favorite "beverages" out of her back with straws!! John Mason corroborated this story, adding that the drink of choice was whiskey!
  • Grant Alexander (a Canadian Shorthorn breeder) helped us learn that she got her name because she was displayed all across England as "the model beef animal" of that time.

And finally, WB Show Cattle intrigued us with the question of: "Wonder what would happen if we bred her to Heat Wave!"

History: "David" The Hereford Bull

One of our popular facebook fun items is our "History Lessons" where we post old photos and then our friends share what they know about the significant animals. It's an awesome way to hear good old stories from people nationwide.

One of these recent "History Lessons" included this family bull, named "David." As we gathered comments and stories on facebook, here are the great stories behind this famous bull.

  • David was owned and exhibited by Bright Bros. Herefords of Le Grand, California. Sandy Meyer shared that his sire was the bull named "Lerch"
  • 1981 Denver, National Western Stock Show
  • Caroline McMahon shares:  It sold for a record $301K at auction!
  • Matt Leo (James Bright's son), shares:  As the story goes Goliath was his competition and a popular bull at the time James Bright thought he could beat him so he named him "David" . Lerch was his sire the 1978 Reserve Grand Bull. David won Denver in 1980 under Bill Jacobs and in 
    1981 got beat by another Bull Bright's sold named Centenial shown by V Bar Ranch af Stanton, Tx . " David was bought buy Born Herefords and Granite Hills for $301,000 and still the Denver record. We still to this day work out of the showbarn and ranch " David" built! 
  • Val Reiss of Kansas shares: " David was very line bred, same grandfather both sides. Legend has it David was conceived when Lerch jumped fence and got in with show heifers next door. Our black baldy steer that was Reserve Grand at Michigan 5 years ago shown by Ryan Smoes had a Hereford grandmother by David. Good genetics fit everywhere"

To this day, David holds the record of the highest selling bull of the Hereford breed. And, the Bright Bros. and Leo Bros. is still a great cattle operation in California. Thanks for sharing the photo with us!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Customer!

We got this email over the weekend from our customers at Montgomery Stockyards in Alabama! Made our DAY!

I just wanted y'all to know I watched your YouTube video, and was reflecting on many of the things you all talk about in that video.  It is certainly true that customer service is of your utmost concern, and I could not be more pleased with the web design and hosting services
RHD has provided Montgomery Stockyards, LLC.  I really do appreciate it.  Y'all run a tight ship and do a tremendous job and are extremely talented at what you do.  I hope we have the opportunity to use your expertise more extensively in the future.  Please share our "thank
you" with all of your team that has been a part of developing or maintenance of our website.   Super Job!!!  May God continue to bless you all.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sullivan Farms :: Dunlap, Iowa

I remember very clearly the first time I had spoken with John Sullivan about a website for his Shorthorn farm. It was back in the summer of 2003 and I was driving from College Station to Huntsville, Texas to watch my little cousin in a rodeo. This was at the time when I still operated RHD alone, out of my dining room in College Station. When I talked to John about his website, this was one of the largest breeder sites we would be doing at the time. I was ecstatic.

That's been nearly 10 years ago! And wow have things changed since then! It really seems hard to believe that we have been working with the Sullivan account, and many others, for 10 years!

Here at RHD we keep a list of each site, along with the date it was designed, and last updated. Then we try to periodically check with clients who have an older design and recommend we give it a little fresh look about every two years or so. We also have the "Top Ten Oldest Design" list in which we identify the oldest 10 designs currently in use. Then we really try to encourage those people to get a new look.

Well, to cut to the chase, the Sullivan Farms site was #2 on our "Oldest Design" list. We began asking John about a year or two ago if we could work on a new look. But, we got so busy working on projects for the exciting Stock Show U last year, that it seemed that the new website for the farm got put on the back burner. After a year of friendly reminding (lol) we started putting John's print designer, Arin Strasburg, in the mix of this pleading. Me, Arin, John, and Dede set a goal to have a new site up and running before August 15th of the year so that it would be up just before they began posting sale photos from their fall sale.

I have to say, this is one of my all time favorite sites. I just love it. I love the awesome photos, the colors, the logo, the style, and the great family history behind this business. Oh and it doesn't hurt that the pictures are great Shorthorns too by the way!

So, I really hope everyone will take a moment to visit (named after their sale) and see our latest creation! We love it and hope you do too!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Younge Cattle Company :: Iowa Angus Breeder

We always love working with Angus breeders on new website designs and Younge Cattle Company is our latest creation!

The Younge's came to us by a word of mouth referral from their friends at Four Corners Farms, another Angus client of ours. The folks at FCF were happy with the work we did and they told their friends.

After a quick phone call early one morning with owner Marc Younge, we had a service contract faxed back in and a design proof rolling! That's the kind of customer we love working with.

The Younge Cattle Co operation is a family business. It all started when Marc and Robin wanted to help their children learn responsibility and work ethic by showing cattle. Marc, being a businessman, chose The Business Breed: Angus! :) (We always love to throw in that slogan whenever we can.)

The family began studying Angus genetics and decided they were going to focus on proven cow families....Georgina, Keymura Katy, Champion Hill cow families, and more. They felt that these cow families were the best investment for both their daughters show heifers as well as future production.

We loved working on this site. We hope you will visit it at and see some of the great Angus females owned by the Younge's. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Indian Mound Ranch :: Hereford Cattle Ranch

Isn't this an adorable ranching family!

One of our newest cattle website designs is Indian Mound Ranch, a family owned and operated business located in Canadian, Texas.

Owner Lee Haygood is the 4th generation on the ranch that was founded by his great grandfather in the mid 1880s. Today, he operates the ranch with his wife Jacqui and their two sons Luke & Mark (who we are all in love with here at RHD by the way....aren't they just adorable little cowboys!)

With it's rich history, Indian Mound Ranch has stayed on top of technology which allows them to offer fault-free and functional cattle. Their Herefords are raised on range country with minimal inputs. They breed top quality herd bulls and use strict culling to keep the cow herd moving in the right direction.

Bull development is also important for the Haygoods. Bulls are fed a 20% range cube diet at a minimal rate. Bulls are kept in a pen and feed tested to identify the bulls that can thrive and perform on range conditions. When you buy a bull from Indian Mound Ranch, you can expect him to go straight to work, without melting or falling apart when he gets in the pasture. The Haygood family also collects a lot of performance data and conducts carcass ultrasounding to provide the most information possible to clients.

Sounds like a recipe for success to me! I hope you will visit and check it out.

We are so appreciative of all of our Hereford website clients that have joined the RHD family in the past few months. We are currently designing and maintaining about 25 different purebred Hereford ranches, including many of the leading breeders in the nation both commercial and show oriented. Our team includes two Hereford ladies: KC Kinder and Ashley Middleswarth, and we are very passionate about this breed.

GR Construction :: Texas

One of our newest sites to go on line is GR Construction, a construction firm based out of Wharton County that serves the Texas gulf coast and greater Houston area. GR Construction is owned by Garrett Rod, a native of El Campo, Texas. He started the business in January 2010 after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in industrial technology / construction management.  
Starting from the ground up, Garrett began getting the hands on experience to match his degree by working with various companies in the Houston area. After a few years, he started his own company. Initially, he began with working on small remodeling jobs, and through the years has steadily grown. 

In the past year, he has completed a variety of construction projects including remodels, commercial construction, ground up constructions, home additions, and more.

As a motivated small business owner, Garrett seeks to continually expand his services. He recently added the technology to offer his clients computer aided design for site work, floor plans, and 3D renderings. 

Here at RHD, we know what it's like to start your business from nothing, and then put in the long hours and efforts to make it a success. That's why we love working with businesses like GR Construction to help them expand their marketing efforts. 

We invite you to check out his site, and if you are considering a home building project, a construction project, or even a re-model to contact Garrett at 979-541-9488 or email

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best of the Barns Nominations Underway

You may have seen on facebook, but nominations for Best of the Barns 2012 opened up this week! Best of the Barns is our annual contest to recognize the best of the best in the livestock business, and it's a contest voted on and picked by YOU!

To start the ball rolling, the first step is that we ask you in the livestock business to tell us who should be in the running for the awards. This is our nomination phase. Each day we will post a category and we ask YOU to write in and tell us who are the top people or businesses in the category. The top 5 responses will make the ballot later in the fall.

We also need your help in some new categories for 2012. Some we already have in mind are Best Livestock App, Best Cattle Record Keeping Software, and a new Best of the Barns Hall of Fame. 

So keep watching our facebook page to chime in on who should be on the ballot. And if you have an idea for a new category this year, email it to

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moore Land & Cattle :: Jerseyville, Illinois

We love working with family businesses in the cattle business and our newest website is a great example of families working together and having a great time!

We made contact with Moore Land and Cattle through an old Shorthorn / MSU connection with our good friend Robbie Duis, who is now working at Moore Land & Cattle.

And, just check out this picture! Isn't it awesome! It's not every day that you can find four purple banners from the Denver stock show! WOW!

The Moore operation is located in Jerseyville, Illinois, and includes mostly Simi and Maine cattle, but they also have Angus, Shorthorn, Charolais, and some club calves. The Moore's will be hosting their fall production sale on October 6th. They are about an hour and a half from Illinois State Fair and they are inviting anyone to come out and look at the calves while you are at the fair.

This is an awesome family, and we are honored to do their website. Check out all of their winners at will quickly recognize some of the recent greats in the Shorthorn and Maine and Simi breeds.

Thanks to the Moore family for choosing RHD!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

3K Land & Cattle :: Texas Red Angus Breeders

Word of mouth referrals is one of the biggest ways we get new clients at RHD, and that is sort of how we first developed a relationship with 3K Land & Cattle.

For many years, we have handled the website for the Texas Red Angus Association. During this time, we made a friendship and working relationship with Judy Kay Ferguson, who volunteered for TRAA on their website. Through working with her on that site, we made contact and enjoyed working with this volunteer who was always organized and pleasant to work with.

Recently, Judy Kay decided she needed a website for her own ranch, 3K Land & Cattle, and she immediately came to RHD. We loved this project. The 3K site has a very western, ranchy look which is one of our favorite design styles.

3K Land & Cattle is a family owned and operated ranch located in the north Texas town of Drop, Texas. It was originally started by Wayne & Judy Kay Ferguson and originally had crossbred cattle. Wayne and his youngest daughter Brenna went to an auction to purchase "A" show heifer and came back with 13 heifers! Today the ranch is managed by Judy Kay and son-in-law Kyle DeVoe. The DeVoe family lives on the ranch and Kyle manages the day to day operations.

So how did they get the name 3K? It stands for the three females in the family...Judy Kay, Amanda Kay, and Brenna Kay! A family tradition continues with the next 3K generation....Karlee Kay, Kenedy Kay DeVoe and Emerson Kay Owens!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Top 5 Marketing Tools for Club Calf Producers

The fall season is often times the ‘make or break’ time of year for club calf producers. Since most producers use the fall to market their calves, usually the business’s entire year of cash flow can come down to a few days before, during and after the sale. Ranch House Designs, Inc. recommends the following five tools as key to finding success in marketing club calves.

Start With A Quality Product. This is the basic fundamental of success in any cattle operation. Producers must strive to raise high quality cattle that others will desire. In the club calf business, an easy way to do this is to utilize semen from the most popular sires in the busines, which are usually readily available and affordable. In order to be successful, club calf producers should buy the best breeding animals they can afford, and then breed them to the best sire they can afford. Owning quality livestock is a way to continually build and grow your cattle assets over time. Only quality reproduces quality, and as time goes by, the net worth difference between great livestock and mediocre livestock continually becomes larger and larger.

1. Quality Photos and Videos are a Necessity
Just as good cattle are the fundamental to having a good marketing program, good photos and video are the next step. Today’s consumers want to see a photo, and preferably a video, before making a drive to come visit your farm in person. In some cases, especially in online auctions, some buyers may even purchase cattle based on the photo and video alone. For this reason, we recommend hiring a professional photographer or video team to photograph your cattle for your sales.

2. Word of Mouth Advertising
The club calf business is a people business just as much as it is a cattle business. Word of mouth advertising is the most effective means of advertising your cattle.  Personal communication such as telephone calls, texts, a letter, an email, or most effectively a personal visit, help build relationships and strengthen a marketing program. Letting others know about your product should be your #1 job in marketing. Attend shows and talk about your cattle. Share your news with your friends and neighbors. Utilize your marketing network such as semen distributers, customers, and neighbors. Remember the old adage, No Tell = No Sell.

3. Year Round Exposure Through Your Website
By today’s standards, every club calf producer should have, at minimum, a website that can be used as the building block of their marketing program. At it’s basic level, the website is used as a constant online reference for people to find your phone number, contact information, and learn about your program. Every producer should have their own address (i.e. and a stand alone site. The website should also be the go-to place that unites all of your online efforts such as social media, email blasts, and blogs. Every club calf producer should also purchase a link on that directs the viewer to back to their own site. While once thought of as a high tech marketing tool, today a website is a basic requirement for all marketing efforts in the club calf business.

4. Social Media, Blogs & Email Advertising
Once club calf producers have their own website established, it is now necessary to take your online advertising to the next level by integrating social media, blogs, and email blasts into your online mix. Online advertising is affordable, sometimes even free, and reaches the mass public instantly.

Facebook, twitter, and blogs are three very common marketing tools currently being used by club calf producers, but may be viewed as challenging by older producers. This is a great opportunity to involve wives and children in the farm’s marketing efforts.

Blogging is also a useful tool, but may not be for everyone. Even if you do not blog personally, producers should take advantage of the blogs of others in the club calf business. Many farms and bull owners have blogs where they gladly feature their clients photos free of charge. Producers should most definitely take advantage of this shared marketing exposure.

Email blasts are also crucial in promoting club calf sales. Generally email blasts costs less than $300 and reach tens of thousands of producers. The ideal email blast strategy should include 2 email blasts. The first should go out approximately 2 weeks before the sale, or as soon as photos of the sale offering are posted on your website. The second blast serves as a reminder of the sale and should go out approximately 3-5 days prior to the event. If a producer uses online sales, a third blast should be sent the day that the online auction closes as a final reminder.

5. Print Advertising During Key Times of the Year
Print advertising, though expensive, is still considered a marketing must due to the exposure given during select times of year. RHD recommends advertising during key times of year in relation to your marketing schedule. For example, if you host a fall sale, you must advertise in the August show publications of your choice. If you sell semen on club calf bulls, spring advertising is a necessity.

Good print ads include excellent photos, usually taken by a professional, and pertinent information such as sires represented and sale information. When there are 300 other ads in a magazine, you must do an excellent job of convincing the reader why they should pick your farm above the other 299 ads in the magazine.

Most club calf producers will find that 1-2 ads per year will give them the exposure needed. However, simply running an ad alone won’t get the job done. The print advertising should be one part of the total marketing efforts. Producers should have their website in place prior to running a print ad so that the website URL can be boldly referenced in the ad for readers to access for more information. The print ad should also be email blasted as the sale date approaches.

Putting it All Together
A good rule of thumb is that a club calf producer should prepare to spend 1 to 5% of their gross annual sales in advertising, with the website being the most important tool in the marketing mix. Successful marketing involves planning, implementing, maintaining, and evaluating. For more on marketing, we recommend purchasing the Livestock Merchandising book, available at > Shop.

University of Nebraska NCTA

We were really excited this morning when the University of Nebraska's Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture called to order a set of Rachel's Livestock Merchandising books. This is one of the many agricultural colleges and junior colleges who are now using the book as part of their curriculum in animal science and livestock marketing courses or to include in the college's reading librarys.

NCTA is located 45 miles southeast of North Platte, NE in Curtis, Nebraska.It has a 72 acre campus along with a 562 acre school farm. NCTA was established in 1965 as a land grant institution and has a rich history with many of the original buildings, including Ag Hall, still being used. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Big Jim's Cattle Service :: California

With a name like Big Jim's Cattle Service, you can't help but want to check out this website!

Big Jim's Cattle Service is owned by Jim Vietheer of California, who also is the onwer of HAVE Angus, another RHD website client.

Jim started this business in the late 80’s with hoof trimming services. He purchased a hoof trimming table because he didn’t like to wait for other hoof trimmers to come to him, and he wanted to trim his own way. Over the years it has grown to be a state wide business trimming almost exclusively beef cattle and show cattle.

Later, Jim began selling WW Livestock Equipment and WW Paul Scales. With retirement from his day job in 2008, and the growing sales business, Jim has been able to concentrate on more equipment sales and HAVE Angus. Due to Jim's relationship with Kirby Kelly, Bo Sanders, and Penny Edwards at the WW Paul Scales Division in Duncan OK, he has become a major source in California and beyond.

The third part of this Jim's diversified business is a small amount of custom fitting almost exclusively for the Red Bluff Bull Sale where he takes bulls for producers who either cannot or don’t have the expertise to take their bulls to the sale. Over the last 20+ years he has helped many breeders by allowing them to present and market their product with great success including many breed champions and sale starters.

As you can clearly see, Big Jim loves the agriculture industry and working with cattle people. Check out this great site at

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

PLJ Enterprises : Elk City, Oklahoma

As RHD continues to expand in serving different industries, one of the industries in which we are experience tremendous growth is web design for the oil and gas industry. We have been working with lots of clients who serve the oil and gas industry and it is always enjoyable for us to do these projects.

One of our newest websites to go up in July is PLJ Enterprises, LLC, based out Elk City, Oklahoma. PLJ Enterprises offers a variety of necessity services for the oil and gas business. Owned by Daryle Perry and Mitch Louis, the company brings forth a combined 50 plus year of experience working in the oil and gas industry.

So what exactly do they do? Hydro excavating, mud pit cleaning, tank cleaning, and more. The employees at PLJ Enterprise are extremely experienced in their field and are also as dedicated to customer satisfaction as the individuals who became the business.

While most of our blog readers are probably more interested in the ag industry, PLJ is a great site to visit because they are a great company serving the needs of a very exciting industry.Visit them at to check them out.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Harlan Ritchie's Brief History of Cattle Type

Earlier this summer while I was in Michigan I had the opportunity to visit with two of my mentors, Dr. Harlan Ritchie and his wife Dr. Leah Ritchie. A few days later Matt Lautner emailed me and asked if I could help him find something really cool to publish in his online handbook for 2012. I immediately thought of a presentation by Dr. Harlan Ritchie that he developed at Michigan State University. I asked Leah if she would mind if we adapted it for this publication and she said go for it! If you missed it in the Matt Lautner online handbook, here is the presentation again.

A History of Types of Show Steers
Adapted from Dr. Harlan Ritchie’s “Historical Review of Cattle Type” presentation,
Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, Michigan State University

Purple banners are the goal of every person in the club calf business. Every young showman dreams of claiming their spot at the backdrop. Every breeder spends thousands of ours contemplating mating decisions to produce that perfect show steer. Every judge studies and rationalizes each decision in order to select winners that best fit the beef industry.

Since early cattle show competitions of the 1700s, these dreams and visions of purple banners have not changed. However, the cattle being bred to win these banners have drastically changed, evolved, and improved to meet the visual and conformations standards set by both breeders, judges, and the beef industry.

Early History of Cattle Breeding
Early cattle in the United States and Europe were used primarily for draft and milk. They were extremely large framed, late maturing, light muscled, and slow to finish. They were only used for meat consumption purposes when they were too old to work or produce milk.

During the mid 1800s, most cattle in the western U.S. were native cattle that were primarily Longhorn type. After the Civil War, dual purpose Shorthorn bulls were introduced out West and began crossbreeding with the native cattle to improve milk and meat production. Hereford bulls took over in the late 1870s. Angus came later. The Shorthorn, Hereford, and Angus breed associations were formed during 1881-1883 and Polled Hereford in 1900. The British breeds had found their place in the U.S. beef industry.

1867. “Black Prince.” Angus steer. Champion at prestigious Smithfield show at four years of age. Weighed 2200 lb. It was said,“a short man would need a ladder to see his back.”

1900. “Advance.” Grand Champion Steer at the 1st International Livestock Exposition in Chicago. He was 25 mos. old and weighed 1430 lb. The International began in 1900 and ended in 1975. The steer winners were very influential in setting type standards for beef cattle throughout this 76-year period.

1915-16. “Nebraska.” The only record of a male winning as a bull and later as a steer. In 1915, this Angus bull was Champion at Smithfield. He was then castrated and came back to win the Smithfield steer show in 1916. Note that they were starting to put some straw underneath the cattle in photos to make them appear smaller-framed.

20th Century Cattle Breeding
Beginning in the early 1900s through the 1930s, cattle breeders gradually began moving towards breeding smaller framed cattle that were earlier maturing and thicker, in hopes that these cattle would be able to finish at a younger age and lighter weight.

1932. “Campus Model.” Grand Champion Steer, 1932 Michigan State Fair.
He weighed 1150 lbs

1932. “Texas Special.” Grand Champion Steer, International, 1932. He weighed 1240 lbs. at 19 mos.
From the mid-1930s to the mid 1950s, this trend greatly intensified, with breeders, judges, and packers putting a large amount of selection pressure towards producing the earlier maturing, smaller framed cattle. During this time, terms like “baby beef,” “compact cattle” and “comprest cattle” came into use. Show winners across the country were small in frame, usually only reaching the belt buckle of the exhibitor. Advertisements of the early 1950s featured small, “belt buckle cattle” that would classify by today’s standards of less than a frame score 1. One advertisement from 1949 advertised a certain animals as the “biggest bull at the show”…however he was only a frame score 2.0.

1945. “TO Model.” Grand Champion Steer, Denver, 1945.
He weighed 965 lbs. The TO cattle were cextremely small framed and early maturing, and became popular during the early 1940s and 50s.

Beef cattle historians know all too well how this trend ended: dwarfism.  Breed associations and breeders took extraordinary steps to deal with and eventually eradicate dwarfism. Cattle size and type tended to stabilize from 1955 to 1960. During the 1960s, breeders began to select for increased size, but were not able to make much progress with the bloodlines they were using at the time.

Following World War II, consumers began demanding grain-fed beef, thus starting the commercial feedlot industry. However, commercial feed yards were having trouble feeding cattle to an acceptable slaughter weight to grade choice without getting them overly fat. To address this issue, U.S.D.A. initiated yield grading in 1965, and the industry began searching for cattle that could be carried to desired slaughter weights without getting too fat. Enter the Charolais cross steer, who became very popular with breeders, feeders and packers for their rapid gains and high cutability.

1969: A Pivotal Year for The Show Steer Business
The cattle industry was forever changed in 1969. The Hereford, Angus, and Charolais associations began sponsoring type conferences in 1969 to evaluate the performance of cattle that varied in frame size within their respective breeds. These type conferences eventually led to the development of the new U.S. feeder cattle grades, adopted in 1979, which identify visual standards for small, medium, and large frame cattle. Many breed associations also revised their ‘ideal standards’ for frame size to update their standards from the smaller framed models of the 1960s.

At the 1969 International Show in Chicago, Dr. Don Good of Kansas State University selected Conoco, a Charolais x Angus steer, as the grand champion steer of the show. This made Conoco the first crossbred winner of a major steer show of modern times. He weighed 1250 pounds, quality graded Choice, and yield graded 2, and would still be considered outstanding today.
1969. “Conoco.” Grand Champion Steer, International. A Charolais-Angus crossbred steer, the first crossbred winner of a modern major shows.
That same year, Dr. Robert Totusek of Oklahoma State University selected “Great Northern” as the Grand Champion Angus bull of the International Show. Great Northern was a Canadian bull that was larger framed, trimmer, and heavier muscled than any Angus bull of the time.  The selection of these two winners at the biggest show in the nation helped set the new trend in cattle breeding.

Upward Trends in Frame Size Spread like Wildfire
In the early to mid 1970s, there were a number of outstanding champion steers exhibited at the major shows that produced great carcasses on the rail, aligning the show ring with the beef industry. However, size was beginning to get out of control at many steer shows.

1973. Champion Crossbred Steer, International. One of the largest champion steers of that era was this 1460-lb crossbred. Packers began to raise their voices against excessively heavy carcasses coming from cattle of this size.

Some steers of this time were exceptional in their cutability but were too lean and lacked body capacity. By the early 1980s, some show steers were taller than their exhibitors. Many champions at Denver and Louisville during the late 1980s were frame score 10.0 or higher.

1984. Grand Champion Steer, Houston. By the early 1980’s, some champion steers were taller than their exhibitors.

Selection for increased size spread like wildfire from 1960 to 1988. However, four significant events of this time led to the next type change, towards more moderate framed steers, which we still see today.

In January 1986, the National Consumer Retail Beef Study shows that consumers wanted beef that was leaner and lower in fat. In April 1987, Excel meat packers announced new specifications for buying cattle that put more emphasis on muscle thickness. Excel’s specs presented a 1,270 pound steer as being near ideal in his muscle thickness along with enough finish to grade low Choice. In May 1988, the National Beef Conference established recommendations for moderating frame size and increasing muscle thickness in beef cattle. In December 1991, the National Beef Quality Audit revealed numerous shortfalls in the U.S. beef carcasses.

1988. Grand Champion Steer, Denver
Following these recommendations from the industry, steer shows began to also reflect a change in their cattle type. In 1988, the Denver champion steer weighed 1,272 pounds and had an outstanding carcass with .35 inch back fat, a 15.0 square inch rib eye, U.S.D.A. Choice quality grade, and yield grade of 1.8. In 1993, the Houston Livestock Show implemented a slick shear steer show in which cattle could not have more than ¼ inch of hair. Other major shows, especially in the south, followed suit. By 1994, breed champions at Denver had down-sized from frame scores of 10.0 in the late 1980s to frame scores of 6.0 and 7.0.

2012. Grand Champion Steer, Houston  
Today’s Ideal Show Steer
Since 1988, the show steer industry and the entire beef industry has placed increased emphasis on carcass traits and structural soundness. Judges continue to select for cattle that are moderate framed and will finish at an acceptable weight with a high quality carcass. In 2012, the Grand Champion Steer at  Houston had a live weight of 1,288 pounds, graded U.S.D.A. Choice with a yield grade of 2. Though the industry has experienced its ups and downs (no pun intended), it appears that for the last 20 years, cattle type has stabilized with a common goal of  increased emphasis on optimal frame, optimal muscle, and high quality carcasses to meet the demands of the feedlot, packer, and consumer.

 -Adapted by Rachel Cutrer