Iowa family honored for historic herd

Farm Forum

The Historic Angus Herd Award is presented to Angus breeders or immediate families who have been in continuous production of registered Angus cattle for 50 years or more. To honor their dedication to the breed, the American Angus Association is proud to recognize KM Cattle Company, Coon Rapids, Iowa, as a Historic Angus Herd.

One November day in 1964, the late Thomas E. Musfeldt visited the Bread and Butter Sale in Denison, Iowa, where he purchased his first registered-Angus heifer, Energice of Val-Mar 339, from Otto Frank’s Val-Mar Farms. The Energice cow family is still represented in today’s cowherd at KM Cattle Company.

Thomas must have been pleased with his purchase because 13 years later in 1977, the Musfeldt and Sons ranching enterprise purchased the entire Val-Mar cowherd and began leasing Otto Frank’s Manilla, Iowa, farm. The Val-Mar herd had a storied history with Earl Marshall genetics at the National Western Stock Show, showing more champion pens and carloads of bulls than any other herd at the time.

The legendary bull Earl Marshall, bred by W.A. McHenry of Denison, Iowa, was born in 1913 and sold to Escher and Ryan, who made the bull famous and expanded his influence in the Angus breed. Earl Marshall sired six International Grand Champions, and today more than 15 million of his descendants have been registered with the American Angus Association.

Now the second and third generations of Musfeldts are continuing the family’s Angus legacy. Thomas’s son, Kent Musfeldt, along with his wife, Jill, and their son, Kyle, manage KM Cattle Company today in Coon Rapids, Iowa. They moved to the area in 1992 from Kansas City, Kan., after managing other Angus programs in the region. In 2002, the family purchased a farm that was once part of the famed Pingrey Ranch, which is where 200 cows from the Escher and Ryan historic Angus herd landed in 1924 for Earl Ryan, prior to partnering with the Harrisons of California and starting the Harrison and Ryan operation.

Over the years, the Musfeldt’s 100 head operation has seen great success. KM Cattle Company has been honored to sell bulls to other renown Angus herds such as Green Mountain Angus Ranch, Montana; Kraye Angus and Wagonhammer Angus Ranch, Nebraska; Mill Coulee Angus, Wisconsin; and ABS Global.

“We’ve come along ways in fifty years, since Dad purchased that first bred heifer, says Kent Musfeldt. “Artificial insemination was in its infancy, and Dad would be amazed at the tools available that we use today in our program to make genetic progress.”

As the cattle business has evolved, KM Cattle Company has implemented many technological advancements to strengthen the herd. They have moved from utilizing the showring in visual appraisal to performance testing, ultrasound and DNA technology to make genetic advancements.

In addition, tools such as heat synchronization, AI, embryo transfers (including in vitro fertilization) help cattlemen propagate the genetics to advance the beef industry.

As a way to continue and honor the rich Angus heritage of the area, Kyle manages the Earl Marshall Sellabration Sale for the Botna Valley Angus Association.

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