A century of Angus cattle production

Farm Forum

History runs deep in the Angus business. Today’s nearly 25,000 American Angus Association members have their Angus predecessors to thank for the breed’s well-earned reputation of success.

To honor the breed’s most long-standing operations, the Association presents Century Awards to recognize herds, their owners and families who have been in continuous production of registered Angus cattle for 100 years or more.

This year’s Century Awards were presented Nov. 6 during the Association’s Awards Recognition Breakfast, held as part of the 2014 Angus Means Business National Convention and Trade Show in Kansas City, Mo.

Larry Dahl of Dahl Angus in Estelline, S.D., accepted the Century Award on behalf of his family, which is now in its seventh generation raising Angus cattle, and Cody Sankey accepted the Century Award on behalf of the Laflin family, which raises quality Angus cattle in Kansas and Nebraska.

Dahl Angus

After more than 100 years, the cow that started it all, Rindahl’s Beauty, is still part of Dahl Angus. The cow meant so much to the family that when she died, James Dahl skinned and tanned her hide. Larry Dahl, Dahl Angus current owner and manager, confirms the family still has the hide today.

The cattle operation began in 1897, when Peter Dahl purchased 20 bred Angus heifers and brought them home to the ranch in South Dakota; records do not indicate these heifers were registered. Peter’s son, James Dahl, purchased the family’s first registered-Angus cow in 1913, when Rindahl’s Beauty – with a bull calf by her side – was hauled to the home place from Iowa by horse and wagon. Even to this day, her lineage can be traced in the Dahl Angus cowherd.

In 1947, Lester Dahl, James’ son, took over and continued to grow the operation. Lester was awarded the South Dakota Angus Association’s Centennial Angus Herd Award in 1983 for operating an Angus herd 49 years or longer. At the time, Dahl Angus had 70 years in the business.

Larry and Rita Dahl began managing the registered herd in 1972. Through the use of artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer, they continued to build the herd using semen from bulls, such as Big Bandy and Ankonian Dynamo.

Spotting the potential this technology brought to their operation, Larry became an ABS Global representative. He also served as South Dakota Angus Association president from 1992-1993, and Rita served as the first president of the South Dakota Angus Auxiliary in 1991-1992.

Because of their interest in AI, Larry and Rita have had ownership in several top registered-Angus bulls, including Whitestone General Max and Bush’s Absolute Power. They also exhibit cattle at the annual South Dakota Angus Breeders Show and Sale.

Larry and Rita’s three sons – Shane, Jason and Allan – have all taken interest in the Angus cattle. They have seven grandchildren, and with the recent addition of a great-grandson, there are now seven generations of Dahls involved in raising Angus cattle on the original Peter Dahl home place in South Dakota.

Laflin Angus

Laflin Angus, residing in Kansas and Nebraska with their family operations, can trace their cattle roots back to 1799. However their Angus heritage began in 1900, when Eugene B. (E.B.) Laflin purchased the family’s first Angus cattle. Today, the operation remains one of the oldest continuous Angus herds in the United States.

Even at the turn of the century, E.B. stressed that his cattle be efficient, exceptional in size and have bred-in-performance – a tradition that continues today. He was one of the first breeders of registered-Angus cattle in Nebraska, and his early dedication to turn the West “black” set the stage for generations committed to the Angus breed.

To his name were the following bulls: Louis of View Point 7, Glen Eyrie Black and Eline’s Marshall, son of Earl Marshall. E.B. served as the second president of the Nebraska Angus Association and on the American Angus Association Board of Directors in 1924.

Succeeded by his son Lewis E. Laflin, the Laflin Angus legacy continued to gain strength. A skilled manager, Lewis guided the herd through the depression-ravaged 1930’s, even giving $500 of his own money to keep the Nebraska Angus Association afloat.

When the drought-stricken state ran out of feed, Lewis decided to ship the cattle to the northern Flint Hills near Bigelow, Kan., for summer grazing. The cattle were shipped back to Nebraska for wintering; this system continued for nearly 30 years. Like his father, Lewis also served on the American Angus Association Board of Directors from 1935-1941. He also served as the fifth president of the Nebraska Angus Association.

In 1962, Lewis’s sons, Bob and Lew, expanded the operation with Bob buying a ranch near Olsburg, Kan., and Lew staying on the home place near Crab Orchard, Neb. Lew served as president of the Nebraska Angus Association in 1981 and 1982.

Today Barbara Laflin, wife of Bob Laflin, still raises Angus cattle at Olsburg, Kan. All four of Bob and Barbara’s children are active members of the American Angus Association. Lew and his wife, Virginia, and sons raise Angus in Crab Orchard, Neb.

The Laflin family’s fifth generation is raising Angus cattle and the sixth generation has just arrived. They are spread throughout the United States, and continue to share a passion for the Angus breed set forth by their ancestors more than 100 years ago.

For more news from the Angus Means Business National Convention and Trade Show, visit