AGRICULTURE

Gelbvieh Association inducts Nebraska couple into hall of fame

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Farm Forum

Eldon and Kathy Starr of Stapleton, Neb., were one of two inductees into the American Gelbvieh Association Hall of Fame for 2014. The induction took place on Saturday, January 11 during the AGA’s Impacting the Beef Business: It Starts with Membership Annual Convention. The second inductee was Jeanette Rankin of Oilmont, Mont.

The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to recognize individuals for their lasting contribution to the growth and development of the Gelbvieh breed. That contribution is through the influence of the cattle they have bred, their breed promotion efforts, and the leadership provided to the AGA.

Eldon and Kathy, along with their family, own and operate Cedar Top Ranch and Bull Barn Genetics. Cedar Top Ranch is a large scale seedstock and commercial cow-calf operation located in the Nebraska Sandhills. Approximately one-third of the herd is registered Gelbvieh, Balancer, Angus and Red Angus cows. The other two-thirds are Gelbvieh-influenced commercial cows. The ranch has been in business since 1938.

Cedar Top Ranch started in the Hereford business. In the early 1970s, Gelbvieh genetics were incorporated and since then the herd has developed to have a Gelbvieh-influenced based. In 1974, Cedar Top Ranch joined the American Gelbvieh Association, of which they are lifetime members.

The Starrs appreciated the maternal traits of the Gelbvieh breed including milking ability, growth, fertility and docility. Their commercial and registered cattle are all managed together, in the tough, unforgiving country of the Nebraska Sandhills. When speaking about the Cedar Top Ranch business, Scott Starr, Eldon and Kathy’s son states, “In the end, it is about selling grass. We need to identify those cattle that convert grass to pounds; that is what makes a guy money! Our job is to put together cattle with the genetics and conformation to get the job done.”

A production year on the ranch begins with calving in May and June. All cows are artificially inseminated once, synchronizing 500 cows a week. After grazing for the summer, the calves are weaned in November, and then run out with just range and cake. Steers and bulls are separated to graze as yearlings. For the last ten years, Cedar Top Ranch has topped the feeder calf market of Superior Livestock, selling yearlings weighing 850 to 950 pounds. Bulls are sold in their annual production sale in Burwell, Neb. This year they will sell 175 coming two-year-old bulls on February 18, 2014.

Bull Barn Genetics is an AI semen company with the most powerful, complete and comprehensive list of Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Hereford, Club Calf, Shorthorn, and Simmental bulls used in the AI industry. Kathy explains that Eldon started Bull Barn Genetics because, “He vowed that he would help the common man breed good cattle and no salesman was ever going to tell somebody that a bull was good when he wasn’t.” Gelbvieh Bull Barn was started when Eldon purchased the entire Gelbvieh semen inventory of Carnation Genetics, who was the first marketer of Gelbvieh semen in the United States.

The list of accolades for Eldon and Kathy could go on. Nominated for this honor by the Gelbvieh Association in Nebraska, the American Gelbvieh Association recognizes Eldon and Kathy Starr as one of its 2014 Hall of Fame inductees. To watch the Starrs’ Hall of Fame presentation video, visit www.gelbvieh.org.