In 1955, brothers Don Jorgensen and Martin Jorgensen, Jr., started Jorgensen Ranches, originally known as Jorgensen Brothers, in Ideal, S.D. The American Angus Association is proud to recognize the Jorgensen Ranches herd as a recipient of the Historic Angus Herd Award as a way to showcase their commitment to the Angus breed. This award is presented to active Angus breeders and immediate family members who have been in continuous production of registered Angus cattle for 50 years or more.

Martin had a vision of the type of bulls he wanted to breed with their commercial herd. In his failed search to find those ideal bulls, he made the decision to go into the registered Angus business with one purpose in mind – to produce quality bulls to be used in his commercial herd.

Martin was inspired to build a herd of 200 cows and sought out cattle from ranches practicing performance testing. Their first purchases came from AW and Margret Eklund, Schrock Farms, Warren Angus Ranch, and Justin Mortvedt.

In 1958, Martin started performance testing and has never deviated from his genetics program. Cattle are still selected in this order: high production ability, fast growth and desirable carcass. Today, Jorgensen Ranches market more breeding bulls (sales and leasing) than any other beef cattle seedstock producer in the U.S. and the operation still follows the ideas of Dr. Jay Lush in practicing linebreeding performance cattle – “Stacked Performance Genetics.”

“The early Angus carcass database was made up of the work of two people: Martin Jorgensen and Henry Gardiner,” said Larry Corah, past vice president of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). “When no one else was willing to put on the hardhat, go into the cooler and record carcass, both of these men did and were willing to share that data with the American Angus Association. Martin was the visionary behind the data that is now considered the best carcass database in the world. He felt that the kind of beef product we produce, the eating quality of it and all those attributes were important to the industry. He supplied that data, so that genetic analysis could occur.”

Once Martin’s oldest son Greg returned home from college, he became more involved in the operation and in 1973, bought out his Uncle Don’s portion of the partnership. His younger brother Bryan also joined the operation after college, and they now are in partnership with Greg’s son, Cody and Bryan’s son, Nick.

Cody currently manages the Angus herd, which consists of approximately 800 head of registered Angus cows.

Visit for more information on the Historic Angus Herd Award and to view a list of awarded members since the program began in 1988.

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