National Angus Tour: In the Heart of Texas
By Kindra Gordon
Angus enthusiasts from across the United States — and even a few international guests — traveled to the Texas countryside for the National Angus Tour Friday, Nov. 3. The tour was hosted by the Texas Angus Association just prior to the 2017 Angus Convention, which was convened Nov. 4-6 in downtown Fort Worth. Tour-goers visited two locations: Hoofstock Genetics Bovine Division of Ranger, Texas, and Wilks Ranch of Eastland, Texas. More than 450 people attended the daylong tour.
At Hoofstock Genetics, guests learned about the elite embryo transfer (ET) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) facility. The company was founded in 2010 by Todd Stroud, who had an initial focus on assisted reproduction in deer. Today, Hoofstock’s deer division, which works with 30 farms in six states, boasts more combined experience in whitetail deer ET than any other company in the world. Stroud earned degrees in animal science and veterinary physiology and pharmacology from Texas A&M, and credits his father, veterinarian Brad Stroud, for being his mentor.
Stroud established the Bovine Division of Hoofstock Genetics in 2012. He told those attending the Angus Tour that today’s IVF technology has made ET much more efficient and cost-effective. Compared to a traditional flush, which requires a series of injections over several days, IVF reduces the labor because there are no preparatory shots. Cows can be collected the same day they arrive and can be put back in the pasture. He also explained that IVF can be done every two weeks, as opposed to every six to eight weeks with traditional flushing.
“The stress on the cow with IVF is minimal and, as a result, we are seeing better embryos and healthier calves,” he noted. For more information visit www.hoofstockgenetics.com/.
For a steak lunch and an afternoon of viewing cattle on display from about a dozen Texas Angus breeders, the tour visited Wilks Ranch, which is owned by brothers Dan and Farris Wilks. They started in the cattle business in Cisco, Texas, and today have expanded to six large ranch holdings in the states of Texas, Idaho, Utah, Montana and Oregon. The brothers established a registered Angus seedstock operation in 2013. They now have 400-600 Angus cows at their Eastland, Texas, ranch. For more information visit www.wilksranches.com/about-us/.
At this stop, tour attendees were welcomed by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. A cattle producer himself, Miller spoke of the importance of agriculture and the beef industry in Texas and around the world.
He noted that Texas is the No. 1 beef-producing state (there were 12.3 million head in the state in 2016. With the beef that Texas produces, he said, you could build a hamburger super highway laying hamburgers end-to-end that would wrap around the earth 400 times.
Miller emphasized the importance of global outreach in selling both live cattle and beef exports. He shared that he has been involved in mission trips to Argentina, Israel and China, and expressed excitement in the opening of U.S. beef trade to China in June 2017.
In his closing remarks, Miller shared that his ties to agriculture also include breeding and raising Pearl, a horse that has been the PRCA Tie-Down Horse of the Year, has won AQHA World Championships, and has been ridden by Cody Ohl numerous times in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Miller concluded that Pearl “is more famous than me.”
Editor’s Note: This article was written under contract for or by staff of the Angus Journal as part of Angus Media’s coverage of the 2017 Angus Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Nov. 4-6. For permission to reprint, please contact editor Shauna Rose Hermel at 816-383-5270 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For complete coverage of the event, visit www.angus.org/Media/News/AngusConvention.aspx.