Well twenty years later Trevor and Torri Lienemann of Princeton, Neb., have four kids, a 300-cow seedstock operation and lots and lots of data.
It was the numbers that Trevor had never been able to see before in cattle that helped them quickly multiply their cowherd. The more he learned about cattle, the more their operation grew until 2008 he quit the day job to become a full-time, first-generation cattle rancher.
“Being called the business breed and being a CPA, the two meshed very well,” says Torri.
Not having a background in Angus or cattle, Trevor became a student of the business and the breed. Once he learned something he yearned to share it with his bull customers. But not until the data had been verified, of course.
While he says they were in their “rookie season” for the first 10 years, Trevor longed to be able to feed out his cattle to validate his ultrasound data. When corn reached $7 per bushel he took the plunge and started a customer buyback program.
His commitment to numbers paid off. His first group of fed cattle earned 65% Certified Angus Beef® acceptance, and his customer-bought cattle earned 35% CAB with the whole group grading 100% Choice.
A seedstock producer who concentrates on the end product, Trevor works hard to help his customers maintain the same vision.
“We work to help our commercial guys realize that their customer isn’t the sale barn where they deliver their cattle; their customer is the consumers in the grocery store and the retail outlets for beef,” says Trevor.
The buyback program brings it full circle for this family. Trevor admits that if he could collect data on the eating quality of the steaks his cattle produce, he would gladly apply that to his herd selections, too.
“We realize our effect on the industry is exponential through our bull sales. When you start doing the math on selling 50 bulls a year that will breed 25 cows per year and last about four years, you are starting to effect a lot of individual carcasses out there,” says Trevor.
“And a lot of eating experiences, too,” his daughter Maci adds.
What started with just six cows, now affects an immeasurable number of meals – and the Lienemanns are working hard to make sure those eating experiences are top quality.
Until next time,
For more about the Lienemanns, check out future editions of the Angus Journal.