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:  http://www.hpj.com/archives/2012/feb12/feb27/0222EditMR27_hm.cfm. 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 www.maternallegends.com (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 http://youngecattle.com 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 www.indianmoundranch.com 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 garrett.grc@gmail.com

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 kc@ranchhousedesigns.com.

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 http://moorelandandcattle.com/winners.html...you 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. mattlautnercattle.com) 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 www.showsteers.com 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 www.ranchhousedesigns.com > 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 http://bigjimscattleservice.com/index.html.

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 www.pljenterprisesllc.com to check them out.