By Reed Boettcher (Originally Published in the 2016 Summer Issue of Great Plains living)
There’s nothing covert about the operation at Allen Angus Ranch. The ranch’s dedication to providing quality cattle to the commercial cowman is backed by superior genetics and forage. Through improvements and utilization of resources, Allen Angus is streamlining it’s operation to increase productivity and higher profits for their customers.
Vertical integration was the goal of Greg Spears, co-owner and Operations Manager of Allen Angus, when he purchased the 5200 acre ranch in 2014. As owner of the Texas based FMC Feeds & Supply, which is managed by Kelley Adair, Spears decided to get into the cattle industry to better understand his customers and to fulfill his wife Kathy’s childhood dream of owning a cattle ranch. Kathy and Greg have been business partners for 25 plus years. As a CPA graduate from Texas Tech, she is a major contributor and the “soul” of the Spears enterprises. First, Greg and Kathy started Scenic Point Land & Cattle in Young county Texas. As this operation began to take off, they started looking for ways to raise more cattle with less acres. When an opportunity arose in Allen Okla., Spears, along with business partners Jack Little and Randy Cantin, recognized the land’s potential and made the decision to purchase what is now Allen Angus. There was a lot of work to be done to bring the ranch up to speed, but with the advice of several entities Spears quickly made ranch improvements that are increasing production.
Customer service is important for any retail business, and understanding the wants and needs of customers is at the core of service. By purchasing the ranch north of Allen, Okla. Spears and his partners have literally put themselves in their customer’s shoes. It would have been simple enough to research his target audience, but for Spears, becoming a customer himself not only strengthened his Texas based feed store, but streamlined his entire business operations as well.
First and foremost, Allen Angus is in the forage raising business. Spears commented on the importance of good forage for the ranch.
“We are blessed to have the opportunity to be stewards of this ranch, but there have been some challenges. When we took over and started Allen Angus there were a lot of forage improvements that needed to be done. This is where good equipment comes into play. If you have a tractor that won’t start, or a baler that won’t bale, or swather that won’t swath, you can’t effectively produce the forage you need to improve production. We decided to buy local and went with Great Plains Kubota because they’re cattle people and farmers. Like us, they understand the importance of our windows of opportunity. Thus far GP has been responsive. In the Ag business, I view the service provider and service purchaser as best friends. Nobody can make you madder than your best friend, but in the end it’s almost unconditional, because you both have something invested. Great Plains has invested in Allen Angus, and likewise us with them,” Spears stated.
Since the purchase of the Allen ranch in 2014, the lands’ productivity has come a long way. It has flourished over the last few years which Spears contributes to good management and advice from outside sources such as the Noble Foundation, and Mark Gardiner of Gardiner Angus Ranch.
Ranch Manager James McWilliams has been with Allen Angus since the purchase, and he brings 14 plus years of experience from a Missouri ranch to the Allen operation. It’s the sound management and employees of Allen Angus, FMC Feeds, and Scenic Point Ranch that help streamline the entire operation.
The Noble Foundation has also been instrumental, and has helped set the pace for everything Allen Angus does. Hugh Aljoe with the Foundation has been a huge help, both with the cattle and with improving grass. Before purchasing, Spears met with the Foundation to get an idea on the Ranch’s potential, and what expectations Spears and his partners should have. Mark Gardiner, of Gardiner Angus Ranch in Ashland, Kansas, not only provided 100% of the Allen Angus genetics, but has given unmatched sound advice. Much like the Noble Foundation, Gardiner has been a critical part of the start up and growth of Allen Angus. As a business owner, Spears understands good vendors, such as Kubota, can also play a vital role in the ranch’s success.
The Allen Angus mission is to raise known genetic cattle of the highest quality that is affordable and profitable to the common cowman. Their goal of raising the same quality cattle as registered Angus is obtained by using Method Genetics which test the known genetics of all their bulls and heifers. There are three points of production they focus on; carcass yield, grade, and performance. Allen Angus Ranch provides profit proven breeding stock to the commercial producer for a value that helps secure long term viability. Their cattle are raised on grass range with low stress handling methods. Allen Angus offers calving ease Angus bulls, yearling bulls, cow bulls, semen, pairs, replacement females, open heifers, and bred heifers. The 5200 acre ranch is divided into three sections which house 1160 “Momma” Cows, 27 sire bulls, 120 development Bulls, 140 “AI” heifers, and 600 calves. Allen Angus closely follows the protocol set by Gardiner. The genetics are present, and it’s up to Spears and ranch employees to give their cattle the husbandry needed to develop to full potential. Quality genetics, given proper husbandry, provides this ample growth and development. Method Genetics, and the other practices mention all create a better paycheck for the cowman. As mentioned early forage is primary at Allen Angus. Some of the crops raised are; Midland, Bermuda grass, five pastures of native grasses such as love grass and blue stem, along with vetch, and clover. Since their start, they’ve been no-tilling 700-1000 acres, which has increased forage for the winter. Spears elaborated further on the importance of quality forage.
“At Allen Angus we invest in components that will make more money for the commercial cowman. We invest in forage and the quality of our herd…period. We put money into things that add value. At first, we were focusing on repairing the forage and ground to ensure a good future. Our future is with forage, both quality and quantity. We will continue to improve the land and upgrade cattle so that we can continue to make our customers a profit.”
Allen Angus Ranch is a doorway that leads to good genetics for the commercial cowman. Through sound forage practices, research, and efficient equipment, Allen Angus develops a profitable product at an affordable price. Those dedicated to the ranch are staying the course, and investing in their labor of love to insure growth and a sustainable future. Some people are betting against the ranch’s success, but Allen Angus will stay the course. It’s only been two years after all, and look how much they’ve accomplished.
For more information about Kubota equipment visit www.greatplainskubota.com