Protect Your Brand: Trademarks for Beef Cattle Operations

by Joe Mask | Published June 25, 2013

Guest Blog: By Cari B. Rincker, Rincker Law, PLLC

Brand recognition can be a valuable asset for beef cattle operations. Obtaining a registered trademark gives the owner enforcement rights against others who use confusingly similar marks in a particular class of goods or services. Cattlemen and women should consider taking this step towards protecting its intellectual property, which can oftentimes be an invaluable asset to a livestock operation.


Put simply, a trademark is the identifying mark of a beef cattle operation for consumers or other members of the agriculture community in connection with particular goods (e.g., beef, show cattle supplies) or services (e.g., consulting services, cattle photography). A trademark can take place in many forms including words (i.e., a standard character or stylized wordmark) (“Rincker Beef”) or a symbol/logo (i.e., a design mark).

A trademark can only be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) if the goods or services are used in interstate commerce (i.e., across state lines). If the livestock good or service is only used with intrastate commerce (i.e., within a state boundary) then a trademark may be sought for at the state level. For example, if you an Illinois cattle producer and out-of-state buyers have purchased calves at your annual production sale, then your beef operation has entered interstate commerce. Alternatively, if you are a beef blogger in Nebraska and sell advertisements on your blog to vendors throughout the country, then you are doing business in interstate commerce. If a beef cattle operation is not currently using the mark in interstate commerce but plans to use it in the future, then an “intent to use” trademark application can be filed.


Additionally, a trademark must be distinctive in order to be registered. The best trademarks are arbitrary or fanciful – such as Kraft® cheese, Aunt Jemima® or Nike® — and don’t have a separate meaning other than the brand of goods it represents. Suggestive marks include language regarding the goods or services provides, such as Agvance®, eSaleBarn®, or Breed Lautner®.

Marks that are considered “merely descriptive” are not typically registered unless distinctiveness can be gained over time (e.g., AgChat because it is used as a popular hashtag on Twitter among the agriculture community). Last names (surnames) are also considered descriptive. Descriptive brands (“Rincker Cattle Co.”) can be put on the USPTO’s secondary registry until the necessary distinctiveness is achieved; then, the mark will be put on the USPTO’s principal registry so long as the mark has been used exclusively, and continuously for 5 years. In such cases, the applicant can still use the ® mark and have certain trademark enforcement rights.

Generic marks can never be trademarked (“Farm” or “agriculture”). However, if a brand name or logo contains a generic term then a disclaimer can be used stating that no exclusive claim is made to that term (e.g., Software Solutions Integrated, LLC® with no exclusive claim to “Software Solutions” or “LLC”).

Enforcement Rights

Importantly, a trademark or servicemark offers protection against “confusingly similar” marks within a certain class of goods or services. For example, if a cattle farm or ranch obtained a servicemark for “the breeding and sale of seedstock cattle” it would not have trademark protection if someone decided to use the mark for an agricultural magazine or a t-shirt. That said, each trademark class of goods and services has a separate filing fee. Beef cattle operations should
choose the number of classes that properly cover the goods and services offered to the public.


Although registration is not essential to trademark protection in the United States, if eligible, trademark registration with the USPTO greatly enhances legal protections to the trademark owner within a class of services or goods. Before registering a mark with the USPTO, a beef cattle operation can usually use the small ℠ (servicemark) or ™ (trademark) symbol to help protect the brand. Before doing so, the livestock farm should consult with an attorney. Once a farm has a registered trademark, it can use the ® symbol by the mark.

What Next

Once trademark registration is obtained, the work is not over. The farmer or rancher must renew the mark at 6 years, 10 years, and every decade thereafter showing the USPTO that the owner is still actively using the mark in interstate commerce. If these deadlines are not timely met, the applicant will need to reapply for the trademark. A good trademark lawyer will help calendar these deadlines to ensure that the client does not miss these important renewals; however, cattlemen and women should also pay attention to these deadlines. To help manage deadlines for multiple trademarks, livestock operations are encouraged to work with their lawyer and maintain a trademark spreadsheet to help organize important information relating to the trademarks, including renewal deadlines.

Once a farm has obtained a trademark on the principal registry, it may license use of the trademark to other persons for a monthly or annual fee. For example, Farmer Jane may come up with a great slogan or logo for agri-tourism and wish to license it out to those farms who wish to use that mark. The owner of the trademark may also sell or assign its trademark rights to another owner. A trademark assignment is an important (and sometimes forgotten step) with the sale of an agribusiness.

Beware of Trademark Infringement

Finally, before starting a business, it is prudent to run a search on the USPTO’s website to ensure that another person or entity has not already registered a confusingly similar mark. In certain cases, it is wise to hire a professional searcher to give a thorough report of similar trademarks filed at the state and federal level and other public records. Even if someone has not filed a trademark does not mean that they do not have trademark rights to protect their brand. Trademark registration gives the owner a rebuttable presumption in court that they were “first in time, first in right” to the use of the mark.

Before filing a trademark with the USPTO, beef cattle operations are advised to consult an agriculture attorney licensed in any U.S. jurisdiction. To file a trademark at the state level, a farm or ranch should work with an attorney licensed in that state.


For more information contact:
Cari B. Rincker
Rincker Law, PLLC
Licensed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the District of Columbia
535 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 427-2049

Same Name, New Owners: Sam Kane Beef Processors

by Joe Mask | Published June 21, 2013

An appreciation dinner to honor the new owners of Sam Kane Beef Processors out of Corpus Christi, Texas was hosted by Graham Land and Cattle Company on June 19, 2013 in Gonzales, Texas. The dinner was attended by Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins and BBU Communications Coordinator Jeralyn Stephens. Several prestigious cattle industry professionals joined the BBU staff in honoring the new owners and the future of the South Texas cattle industry and beyond.

BBU Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins and Ernie Gill of Prime Cuts radio visits with Dr. Charlie Graham.

Among the attendees were Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Chairman of the Board R.H. “Steve” Stevens. While representing the Beefmaster breed the BBU staff visited with several other attendees that ranged from radio hosts to pharmaceutical representatives and college professors to cattle breeders prior to the dinner presentation.

The evening was of course catered with an outstanding steak dinner and the presentation was emceed by the owner of Graham Land and Cattle Company, Dr. Charlie Graham. The presentation started with Mr. Staples addressing the crowd and assuring them that despite the low cattle numbers throughout the state of Texas he has confidence that the new leadership at Sam Kane Beef Processors will provide excellent guidance and service to cattle feeders, as it always has. Mr. Patterson also addressed the crowd with great confidence in the new owners and investors. Patterson and the owner of Capital Land and Cattle Jim Schwertner both expressed that the beef industry needs to fight government over-regulation and the crowd was encouraged to contact their representatives to combat the issues plaguing the cattle industry on Capitol Hill.

Several more influential professionals in the beef industry expressed their excitement for the new owners of Sam Kane Beef Processors and how the South Texas cattle industry has a bright future. The professionals included Molly McAdams, an independent beef consultant and Ethan Stool who is prominent in the animal pharmaceutical industry.

However, the highlight of the night was when the program was turned over to the new owners and investors of Sam Kane Beef Processors. Lou Waters Jr., spoke on behalf of all the new investors. Waters discussed how the new owners would manage the processing plant, which would continue to keep the name Sam Kane despite Kane no longer being involved in the ownership.

Lou Waters Jr. visits with Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples.

“We have received a lot of support from the industry,” said Waters. “We are here to stay. We are capitalized with a great group of investors.”

Waters continued with focusing on four points of management that the new owners would implement at Sam Kane.

“We are going to focus on numbers every day. We understand that some days we will lose money and some days we will make money. By focusing on numbers we will guide the over 750 employees at Sam Kane processing with greater knowledge.”

Quality and strength of branded products was also addressed to the crowd. Waters assured the crowd that Texas would see a lot more branded products coming out of Sam Kane Beef Processors.

“We are bringing knowledgeable people in to help brand products and to help our feeders get a premium. You will see a lot more Texas branded beef products.”

Waters also expressed that the new ownership will work closely with feeders and they will have people in the feedyards talking about price on a daily basis. He also noted that Sam Kane will not only work strictly with cash, they will also work off of grid pricing.

New investor in Sam Kane Beef Processors Lou Waters Jr. and Dr. Charlie Graham of Graham Land and Cattle Co., visit with attendees of the Sam Kane Beef Processors Appreciation Dinner.

“We do not want to be just keeping up with the industry, we plan to be driving the industry,” said Waters. “We will be passing on the premiums to the feeders. We will be happy when the whole industry has success.”

Waters ended with confidence that Sam Kane Beef Processors will bring a lot of cattle back to South Texas. The evening concluded with handshakes and congratulatory remarks.

Beefmaster Breeders United is confident that this new ownership will be a positive impact to our breeders in South Texas, as well as breeders all over the world. The cattle industry will remain strong under this new leadership and Beefmasters will continue to be a great influence in South Texas, in the Mid-West and every place in between and beyond.

Rebuilding Herds and Marketing Cattle Discussed at Beefmaster Field Day

by Joe Mask | Published June 20, 2013

SAN ANTONIO (June 20, 2013) – Several Beefmaster breeders gathered together on June 15, 2013 in Cassville, Mo., for the Cattleman’s Field Day sponsored by the Ozark and Heart of America Beefmaster Marketing Group, Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association and Berachiah Beefmasters. These three respective parties worked in cooperation with Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) to host the field day as an educational tool to local cattlemen and women who are current or potential Beefmaster breeders.

The hot topics for the field day involved discussion on rebuilding the cow herd after a drought and marketing feeder calves. University of Missouri Regional Livestock Specialist Andy McCorkill and Tom “Tonto” Kissee Jr., of Springfield Livestock Marketing Center led the discussions. Both gentleman shared that when marketing cattle in today’s market it is important to market uniformity through marketing non-paint colored and healthy cattle in order to receive a premium.

“A valuable piece of information I learned from the field day is that the main reason Beefmaster cattle get docked at the auction barns here in the mid-west is because of color, more specifically spots and paints. Kissee said if we would concentrate on making our cattle either solid red or solid black it would benefit us financially,” said Davin Vaughn, a Beefmaster breeder from Mount Vernon, Mo.

Kissee also informed attendees that a Beefmaster featured feeder calf sale was scheduled for the November of 2013 in Springfield, Mo.

McCorkill focused on the importance of pasture rotation during and after a drought. He discussed that it is important to keep replacement females based on structural soundness, longevity, fertility, docility and carcass attributes. He talked about how keeping updated working facilities and implementing the use of artificial insemination (A.I.) can benefit a breeder during drought conditions and when rebuilding a herd.

The discussion was followed by BBU Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins addressing the crowd on how the Beefmaster breed exceeds the characteristics that McCorkill discussed.

“It is evident that the Six Essentials that helped develop the Beefmaster breed are still essential in the cattle industry,” said Perkins. “Rebuilding your herd with Beefmaster females will provide soundness, longevity, fertility and countless more attributes. Their balanced performance and genetic diversity give you options in the direction you want to take your cattle program.”

The cattlemen and women in attendance were also educated on how to properly evaluate beef cattle and then they participated in a judging competition. The attendees evaluated three classes of registered Beefmaster animals and got a hands-on experience on how to select structurally sound animals when rebuilding their herds. The attendees also received information on the importance of semen handling, cow management and estrus synchronization in a herd. Tammie Wallace and Ashley Hoff with Genex of Strafford, Mo., utilized their mobile breeding barn to discuss various estrus synchronization protocols available for Beefmaster cattle A.I. programs.

“The Genex speakers reiterated what I read in the Beefmaster Cowman about the B-sync 5 day CIDR protocol for setting up American breeds of cattle. I will definitely try this protocol,” said Vaughn.

The field day also featured cowboy poet Gabe Pennell, door prizes and a Chuck Wagon style lunch.

“The field day was an outstanding educational opportunity for our breeders. Beefmaster Breeders United strives to provide field days, workshops and programs that enhance our breeder’s knowledge of the cattle industry,” said BBU Field Service Representative Jason Bates. “We even provide ranch visits to our members to assist with cattle classification and consultation.”

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United and its programs please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Click here to schedule a ranch visit. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.


Stewards of the Land and Beefmasters

by Joe Mask | Published June 14, 2013

Outgoing and ambitious are two words that describe Helen Palmer of Palmer’s Double Box Ranch and Beefmasters. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Milton and Helen Palmer then you have had the opportunity to meet two of the best agricultural producers and conservationists around. Milton and Helen have been married for thirty-one years and live on their property that is part of the original family ranch dating back to 1847 in a community outside of Pleasanton, Texas. You can say that their ranch is a part of the family because the Palmers stay very active with their two grandchildren and protecting the family’s land.

The couple is seen out and about tending to their 450 acres that is home to wildlife, Beefmaster cattle and a highly productive vegetable garden. Milton began his career as a peanut farmer and soon diversified, the couple began growing produce including organic to sell at a farmer’s market. The team works together to grow everything from asparagus to turnips and almonds to watermelons. It is truly a labor of love, as they both enjoy caring for their ranch and managing the land. They make a great team in managing all aspects of the ranch, but when it comes to the expenses and cattle records Helen is in charge.

However, this ranch would not be where it is today without Helen and Milton’s first love; cattle, specifically Beefmaster cattle. The cattle are also a first love of their grandchildren. The Palmers own approximately 100 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) registered Beefmaster females. Their cow-calf operation is grazed on a rotational system to keep the grass from being overgrazed. To assist in the rotational grazing, cross fences have been built with the assistance of the Natural Resource Conversation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP) program. The Palmers are active producers in their local NRCS programs and Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) where they focus on conserving their land’s natural resources.

The Palmers have also implemented practices that help produce efficient cattle. Every three months bulls are placed with the heifers and cows and the females are bred at about three years of age. In order to keep accurate records Helen has implemented a tagging system that identifies the sire of each calf by the color of its ear tag. This has allowed for more efficient cattle identification and improved cattle records.

Milton and Helen work hard and thank God for their health that enables them to live the life they love. Helen was raised in Hobson, Texas and learned her work ethic and survival skills from her parents who raised dryland cotton, corn and cattle. Helen learned to be a farm hand and when times got difficult the family survived off catfish, dove and jackrabbits. Part of her work ethic has been applied to reducing fertilizer use on the ranch.

The Palmer’s nephew informed the team that in his college courses the professors are teaching that the constant use of fertilizer would someday leach into our underground water supply, as well as ruin our soil. This information prompted Helen and Milton to stop fertilizing their coastal fields and to implement disking the fields every other year instead. Helen spent many days hand grubbing the mesquite trees in order to eliminate them and clear the fields for a hay field. Now the hay field is disked every year and their Beefmaster cattle are turned out on it every fall season. They have had tremendous results from this practice.

Helen realizes that the land and the animals belong to God and we are to be good stewards of the land, wildlife and all living creatures. The couple believes in conservation and preserving the land for future generations, for the well-being of their Beefmaster cattle and especially for the future of their grandchildren.

With true work ethic and implementing these practices on their ranch and Beefmaster operation Helen Palmer was recognized as the 2013 Atascosa County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Homemaker of the Year, which notably could not have been possible without her teammate and husband. This couple makes a great team and represents what cattle producers are first and foremost; stewards on the land and conservationists of natural resources. We as Beefmaster breeders raise cattle and grass, let’s take care of the soil, the grass, the air and the water on our land in order to improve the future of the cattle industry.

Attention New Members: Win a trip to Convention

by Joe Mask | Published June 6, 2013

The Central Texas Beefmaster Breeders Association (CTBBA) will sponsor a new Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) member and a guest to attend the 53rd Annual BBU Convention from October 31 to November 2, 2013 at the Fort Worth Historic Stockyards. The sponsorship is for two (2) full registrations (includes all meals and events). It does not include hotel and travel expenses. A hotel room will be reserved for the winner and their guest to use during the convention, but the cost is not included in the sponsorship. The application deadline is August 2, 2013.

  1. Criteria For Selecting Recipients:
    1. Must be a current active (financial) BBU member.
    2. Must be a new member that joined BBU on or after August 2, 2010 (3 years).
    3. Must be willing to attend the 2013 BBU Convention for the scheduled three (3) days.
  1. Selection of Recipient:
    1. The recipient will be selected by a committee consisting of one (1) BBU staff member and two (2) at large members to be selected by CTBBA.
    2. Relatives of persons on the Selection Committee are not eligible for this sponsorship.
    3. JBBA members do not qualify for the sponsorship.
    4. All applications for the sponsorship shall be reviewed without regard to the applicant’s race, gender, religion, physical condition or national origin.

Please submit applications before August 2, 2013 to


Attention: Gary Frenzel

7163 FM 3117

Temple, TX 76501-7209

For questions contact Gary Frenzel at 254-721-2214 or gary@frenzelbeefmasters.com

Click here to download the application


Nominate your Bull for Herd Sire of the Year

by Joe Mask | Published June 3, 2013

By: Raney Lovorn, JBBA District 5 Director

The Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA) National Convention has always been the highlight of the year for young Beefmaster showmen and breeders. It is truly an inspiring event and each time is a unique experience. Every year students, families, and children of all ages gather together to exhibit some of the best cattle in the breed, test their Beefmaster knowledge, present speeches to raise awareness for our breed, judge the quality of our herds and just have an all around good time with friends and family.

One factor that is often forgotten among those of us that participate is exactly who makes the financial sacrifice so that we are able to participate in this life-changing experience. When we are told that it’s the breeders of Beefmaster Breeders United, the next question posed is “What are we doing for them in return?”

Although we know that our breeders give generously without asking for anything, this year out of gratitude for everything they have done we are offering several ways to give and also to receive. Any donations given to the JBBA will be used to help make our national livestock show happen. This year the show will be held in College Station, Texas on July 22-27, 2013 and although this location is definitely fantastic for facilities and proximity, it is not at all cheap. As in previous years, breeders can contact a JBBA Director or send cash donations straight to the BBU office, but this year we offer a few more options.

In order to promote the outstanding herd sires in our industry, we have created a competition among the breeders for the best bull. A bull can be nominated to win Herd Sire of the Year by filling out a form and sending it in with a $150 donation. Then $50 of that donation will be put into a jackpot. In order to win the title Herd Sire of the Year and the jackpot prize, the bull nominated must be the sire of the heifer named Grand Champion Female of the JBBA National Show. The competition promises to be intense, but with that much money on the line why wouldn’t you nominate your bull?

In addition to bull nominations, we are also offering advertising opportunities in our JBBA National Show Program. Advertising is a great way to get your name recognized and also to get more bang for your buck.  Also, donors can choose to donate to specific awards such as belt buckles, banners, ribbons and showmanship. Donor’s names will be added to banners that will be visible in the show and their ranch name will be called out along with the awards that they sponsored.

The JBBA membership is so grateful for the donations that have been given in the past in order to maintain our bright future and we could not be more thankful for the strong support system that the BBU provides for our organization. We are honored to be able to show such superior cattle and to be able to call ourselves Beefmaster breeders. It means a lot to us to know that we can have one of the strongest national shows in the nation due to the encouragement of our parents, friends, breeders and mentors. Thank you so much for your undying support.

Click here to nominate a bull for Herd Sire of the Year

Guest Blog: Just getting started . . . for the second time around

by Joe Mask | Published May 20, 2013

By Belinda Hood Ary, Cattle Today

By the time most cattle producers reach their 78th birthday, they are looking for ways to slow down and retire from the cattle business. But Jennie Lee Zipperer is an exception to that rule. She is just getting started…for the second time around.

“Figure that one out,” she laughs.

When you look at Zipperer’s journey through the cattle business, it is easy to see that she has never been one to do things the conventional way. Her journey has been filled with many firsts in the Beefmaster breed.

Jennie Lee Zipperer wasn’t born into agriculture, but like anything else she puts her mind to, agriculture became a part of her. She was studying science with an interest in genetics at the University of Florida when she met and fell in love with fellow student, John Zipperer, Jr., who she married. It was obviously a perfect match because in June the Zipperer’s will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary with a family of four children, eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

After marrying, the couple began working for John’s father in Fort Myers. Zipperer Farms was already established as a distributor of floral ferns and a grower of gladiolas. But it wasn’t until Zipperer applied her knowledge of genetics that the farm first developed its own varieties of gladiolas. Through the years of trials, her efforts yielded several superior varieties for winter cut flower production in south Florida, and those are still in production today in Florida and elsewhere around the world.

Following up on the success of her gladiola efforts, Zipperer channeled her interest in genetics to cattle production. The Zipperer’s purchased a ranch in Oklahoma, already stocked with black baldies. In order to introduce some heat tolerance and insect resistance into the herd, they began looking for some options. An ad for Beefmaster bulls caught their eye, so they decided to buy a truckload and try breeding them to their black baldie females.

According to Zipperer, the results were better than they ever imagined.

“When the vet came out the first time right after the first calves were born, he told us they looked like a bunch of goats,” Zipperer recalls. “But when he came back a few months later he quickly changed his mind, and told us we had some good looking, marketable calves.”

The Zipperers were pleased to see an immediate increase in their calves’ weaning weights, with heifers increasing around 35 pounds and steers increasing around 50 pounds.

“We proved the Beefmasters with those impressive improvements in weaning weights,” Zipperer says. “It is pretty major when you can put that much weight on the ground. It puts a lot of jingle in your pocket!”

That success made it a simple decision for her to start her own Beefmaster herd. It was also during that time that Beefmaster Breeders United was being formed. Zipperer credits two early pioneers in the association, Wallace Harrell and Joe Hendricks, in building the association from the ground up, encouraging people to raise Beefmasters.

“It was a wonderful time of camaraderie,”she remembers. “All of us just starting out would sit around with them before sales in the hotel and ask questions. We were there to learn and they were there to teach.

“A group of Beefmaster breeders got together to promote a breed. They led us and helped us plan field days and sales, and a breed association (BBU) was born.”

Zipperer learned fast and worked hard to improve her own herd using sophisticated techniques such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer and careful selection. Electronic monitoring was used to individualize feed conversion on young bulls. She also introduced ear tagging to track cows sired by a particular bull, which would later become a requirement for purebred certification by the association. In addition to producing outstanding animals in her own herd, Zipperer was able to identify superior animals in other herds. She purchased and syndicated two bulls significant to the Beefmaster breed – Robert E.Lee from Barfield Beefmasters in Florida and King Cotton from Schutts Land and Cattle of Texas.

While she saw success with her own herd, Zipperer also saw the need for more promotion of the breed and became involved in the Southeastern Beefmaster Breeders Association (SEBBA). She served in many positions, and the year she was president the association was able to achieve over $1.6 million at SEBBA sponsored auctions, a first for the Beefmaster industry.

In addition, she served on the board of directors and as vice-president of the Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association. But perhaps most notably, at the national level, she served on numerous committees, the BBU Board of Directors, and in 1992 was elected the group’s first female president. No small feat in an organization of thousands of cattlemen.

“It requires a lot of hard work being the President of BBU,” she explains. “There is not a weekend that goes by that you aren’t attending an event or a sale or a committee meeting. I admire the men that take that job on.”

In 1998 Zipperer was forced to take a break from the cattle business,due to health issues. Fortunately for Zipperer and the Beefmaster breed, that “break” only lasted 14 years and in 2012 a healthy Zipperer made the decision to jump back in, purchasing the Southern Cattle Company Beefmaster herd in April 2012.

Obviously for Zipperer, the decision to jump back in with Beefmaster cattle was an easy one.

“I could have gone with any breed when I went back in,” Zipperer says. “They are all down here. But the Beefmasters are the only ones who select on the ‘Six Essentials’ and I just think that is what the commercial producer needs.”

“Beefmaster cows today are way ahead of when I quit,” she continues. “When you go away and come back, you see things you didn’t see before. I am amazed at what they have done with the cattle and I am proud of what they have accomplished.”

Today, Zipperer’s 400 head of momma cows live in harmony with the birds that inhabit the family’s bird sanctuary called Devil’s Garden, just outside Fort Myers.

“The cattle and birds are completely compatible,” she explains. “The cows and birds and whatever else is out there, all get along just fine.”

Currently Zipperer is spending a lot of time on the farm getting things organized and familiarizing herself with the cattle. She has also spent time travelling with her partner and son, Douglas, looking for bulls to enhance her breeding program.

“I’ve got to get settled first,” she laughs. “It’s like moving into a new house. I don’t know where everything will go yet.”

“Our goal is to get these cows bred to a bull that will produce a marketable calf,” she explains. “But I am very fond of the maternal side of the pedigree. When I look at a bull, I want to know about that bull’s momma. If a cow can produce a good bull calf consistently each year, that is a plus.”

Zipperer’s enthusiasm for her cattle and the Beefmaster breed continues to grow. And it seems she has picked back up right where she left off 14 years ago, reacquainting herself with old friends.

“The nicest thing about being back in the Beefmaster breed is the people,” she says. “I have more friends in this breed than anywhere else.”

“I am proud of this breed and what they have done with the cattle,” she continues. “The breeders should be proud of themselves as well.”

Note: Article reprinted with permission from Cattle Today. Original article can be viewed in the May 18, 2013 issue of Cattle Today or online at http://www.cattletoday.com/ctonline/18may2013/#p=6.

Stephen F. Austin State University Beefmaster Field Day

by Joe Mask | Published May 9, 2013

On June 8, 2013 Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) and Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) is hosting a Beefmaster field day and all BBU members are invited to attend. The one day program will be held in Nacogdoches, Texas at the Walter C. Todd Agriculture Research Center Beef Farm, 442 CR 123, Nacogdoches, Texas and the Agriculture building on the SFA campus, 1972 Wilson Drive, Nacogdoches, Texas. Please contact Dr. Erin Brown with SFA at browneg@sfasu.edu or 936-468-3705 to RSVP for the event.

Field day registration will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. Central Standard Time (CST) at the Walter C. Todd Agriculture Research Center and the sessions will conclude around 3:00 p.m. CST at SFA campus agriculture building. The morning sessions include classes focusing on pasture management presented by Dr. Vanessa Corriher with Texas AgriLife Extension, nozzle selection for boom sprayers to control drift presented by Shane Colston with Winfield Solutions, basic genetics presented by Dr. Jason Banta with Texas AgriLife Extension and collecting DNA samples and overview of the BBU genomic project presented by Collin Osbourn with BBU.

SFA Beefmaster Field Day Flyer 2013

The afternoon sessions include classes focusing on ultrasound and using ultrasound information presented by Collin Osbourn with BBU and how to use social media to promote your ranch presented by Dr. Erin Brown with SFA.

For those interested, Emmons Ultrasound will be available to ultrasound any cattle that you might want to bring to have scanned. Please contact Dr. Erin Brown to let SFA know if you plan to bring cattle to the field day. This field day will also be offering Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) pesticide CEUs credits, one general and one drift management for a total of two TDA CEUs.

For more information about the SFA Beefmaster Field Day, please contact the Dr. Erin Brown at 936-468-3705. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.


Beefmaster Feature to Re-Air on RFD-TV’s The American Rancher

by Joe Mask | Published May 8, 2013

SAN ANTONIO – On April 8, 2013 Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) and RFD-TV’s The American Rancher premiered an episode featuring the Beefmaster cattle breed and it received positive feedback by Beefmaster breeders, RFD-TV viewers and the general public. Due to the huge success of the episode’s premiere on April 8, 2013 the two groups have decided to re-air the episode once again on Mon., May 27, 2013 at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time (CST). The Beefmaster feature will also be broadcasted on the Tues., May 28 episode of The American Rancher at 10 a.m. CST and on Sun., June 2 at 11 a.m. CST. BBU invites the public, cattle industry professionals, all BBU members, Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association (JBBA) members and potential Beefmaster breeders to learn more about the Beefmaster breed and how the breed is positively influencing the beef cattle industry. The episode is also available for viewing 24 hours a day online at the BBU website www.Beefmasters.org, BBU’s Facebook page and BBU’s YouTube channel.

“We had a great response from our breeders who expressed that the episode did a wonderful job portraying the breed and educating the public about high performing Beefmasters,” said Jason Bates, BBU field service representative. “We are excited that the episode will be re-aired and even more potential breeders will be introduced to this outstanding breed.”

The Beefmaster episode on The American Rancher explores the history of the breed and takes an in-depth look at the Six Essentials – weight, conformation, milk production, fertility, hardiness and disposition; that the Beefmaster breed was founded on over 60 years ago by Tom Lasater. The episode features purebred and commercial cattleman, as well as Hall of Fame pitcher and former BBU President Nolan Ryan, as they discuss why they are utilizing Beefmasters in their cattle operations. The show also examines the importance of the Beefmaster breed to the cattle industry as a whole and how Beefmaster cattle bring unique opportunities to cattlemen and women all over the world. Tune into the re-airing of this outstanding episode to learn from true blue cattlemen and how their ranches embrace the Beefmaster breed.

“The show had an outstanding response. The BBU office received several calls from all over the country inquiring about the Beefmaster breed the day after the show premiered on April 8 and our website also experienced increased traffic,” said BBU Executive Vice President Dr. Tommy Perkins, Ph.D., PAS. “We hope to receive even more breeders and inquiries after the May 27 episode.”

The Beefmaster feature sponsors include Bounds Swinging B Ranch, Collier Farms, Emmons Ranch, Lyssy Beefmasters, McManus Beefmasters, the Lasater Ranch and Cherry Glen Beefmasters. These ranch sponsors are also featured on the episode and can be contacted for Beefmaster genetics.

The American Rancher, hosted by Pam Minick, is entering its eighth year of broadcasting on RFD-TV. The series began in the fall of 2004 and brings audiences in touch with the people and places that make ranching an American lifestyle. The American Rancher is a half-hour television series that reaches a vast audience and premieres each Monday night at 8 p.m. CST and re-airs Tuesdays 10 a.m. CST and again on Sundays 11 a.m. CST. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for RFD-TV channel information.

For more information about Beefmaster Breeders United please contact the BBU office at 210-732-3132 or visit www.beefmasters.org. Stay connected to BBU through Facebook, view our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and receive our news updates through joining our mailing list.


Guest Blog: Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef – Tough talk about tenderness

by Joe Mask | Published April 26, 2013

For Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef, “tender” is less a buzzword and more a guarantee.

By Sam Gazdziak, Editor In Chief - Independent Processor & Editor - National Provisioner

There are many words that could be used to describe Nolan Ryan: tough, intimidating, feared, dominating. In a career that stretched from 1966 to 1993, Ryan was one of the best pitchers to ever play the game of baseball. Thanks to a fastball that routinely topped 100 miles per hour, he still stands as the all-time strikeout leader with 5,714 K’s and threw more no-hitters – seven – than any other pitcher.

With that kind of resume, would you call Nolan Ryan tender? Try telling that to Robin Ventura, the Chicago White Sox third baseman who once infamously charged Ryan on the mound and ended up in a headlock as Ryan rained punches on his head.

When it comes to Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef, however, tenderness isn’t just a word that’s thrown around. Every steak that bears his name is guaranteed tender, and those steaks have to go through a rigorous set of standards to even make it to the consumer.

“Only about 50 to 60 percent of the cattle that are evaluated under our guidelines meet our qualifications and actually go into our program,” Ryan says. “I think everybody hopes for a consistent eating experience, and that is our goal, and our customers expect that consistency when they purchase our product.”

Over an approval process of several years, he notes, Nolan Ryan Beef became the first USDA-certified all-tender program. While the company does not do the beef slaughter or processing, it oversees the aging process for each steak out of its warehouse. Every cut of beef is aged for a minimum of 14 days before it is sent to a customer’s warehouse or restaurant.

Currently, Nolan Ryan Beef is distributed throughout Texas and Louisiana. It’s a popular brand at retail stores in major Texas markets like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin and Houston, and the foodservice side of the business has grown thanks to some new national chain accounts. In addition to the all-natural beef, the company, headquartered in Huntsville, Texas,  has expanded into grass-fed beef products as well as further-processed items like beef franks, patties and sausages.


Ryan’s exploits as a baseball player and later as an executive (he’s currently the CEO of the Texas Rangers) are well known, but he has been involved in cattle production for almost as long as he has in baseball.

“It’s something I always wanted to do and had an attraction to,” he explains. “Baseball afforded me that opportunity, so I’ve been ranching in Texas now right at 40 years. It’s been a big part of my life.”

Ryan, no stranger to building a successful team, isn’t the only cattle veteran in the company. Charlie Bradbury, CEO of Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef, has an animal science degree from Texas A&M University and has worked for several breed associations. He was working with the Beefmaster Breeders United when he first met Ryan, who is a Beefmaster breeder and sat on the Association’s Board.

“I was chairman of their Long Range Planning Committee,” Bradbury explains. “They asked us to look at what was going on in the marketplace that was impacting their ability to sell bulls to commercial cattlemen.”

The Committee at that point saw the impact of brands like Certified Angus Beef, which had made Angus beef a premium item. They looked into a branded beef program of their own to help bring attention to the breed. Beefmaster cattle are a cross between Hereford, Shorthorn and Brahman cattle and were bred to produce well in the harsh Texas climate.

“They were looking for what might help bring attention to our program versus somebody else’s program,” Ryan says.

To help with the marketing and branding standpoint, the Committee asked Ryan if he would lend his name to the project. After doing the due diligence and gathering some investors, Beefmaster Cattlemen LP was formed, which owns the rights to the Nolan Ryan Beef name.

Bradbury says that the decision to pursue tenderness was a priority to fight a misconception that cattle raised in Texas and the southern United States has tenderness problems.

“We had done a lot of research on the palatability and tenderness of these cattle, and we knew that really wasn’t true in general, but there are cattle within the population that are tough,” he says. “We felt if we were going to make any headway using cattle produced in these environments with those breeds that worked really well to adapt to the environmental conditions, we were going to have to address that perception head on.

“That’s why we took that approach and wanted to eliminate tenderness as one of the issues that buyers gave as a reason not to buy our product,” he adds.

There isn’t one silver bullet that can guarantee tender cuts of beef, but Nolan Ryan Beef takes a HACCP-like approach to preventing a bad eating experience by doing a lot of little actions, from the feed lot to the aging process.

The cattle are not allowed hormone implants or antibiotic injections within 100 days of harvest in order to eliminate a stress that could lead to tougher beef. The company also requires high-voltage electrical stimulation on every carcass. Bradbury notes that electrical stimulation accelerates the aging process and burns up the lactic acid left in the cells.

“It will impact tenderness as much as 10 to 15 percent if it’s done correctly,” he points out.

In order to make sure it is done correctly, the company requires packers to certify that the carcasses have been stimulated with the correct combination of voltage, frequency and amperage. In some cases, he says, the company found that plants would turn down the voltage and amperage for electric stimulation in order to avoid slowing the speed of the production chain.

Nolan Ryan Beef also uses infrared technology to scan each ribeye at the grading stand and use the results to predict the tenderness of the carcass. The technology is very accurate in determining if a carcass is going to be tender.

“It’s a useful tool for us,” Bradbury says. “It’s a way we can evaluate every carcass that otherwise meets our requirements and predict whether it will be tender or not. If it is predicted as tender, then it’s accepted and specified into our certification program.”

The final step is the 14-day wet aging process, which is also part of Nolan Ryan Beef’s USDA certification program.

“It’s not any secret weapon,” Bradbury says. “It’s all based on a lot of Checkoff research that’s been done in the last 15 or 20 years. You just have to do all these things. If you do, you come up with a pretty tender, consistent product.”

While the principals in the company are experienced cattlemen, it has been a learning process to learn about the science of producing a quality beef product. They consulted experts like Dr. Gary Smith of Texas A&M and Colorado State University, Dr. Keith Belk of Colorado State and Dr. Russell Cross of Texas A&M.

“It was an ongoing process that took a couple of years to put everything into place and have a feel for it,” Ryan notes. “It’s been a learning process for me.”

Expanding the brand

Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef is available throughout Texas and western Louisiana, with designs to grow into a national brand.

Since rolling out the all-natural, antibiotic-free steaks, Nolan Ryan Beef has grown its product range to include sausages, patties and hot dogs. That growth has largely been customer-driven. Retailers had so much success with the Nolan Ryan brand in the fresh beef department that they looked to add it to other areas of the store as well.

“We found what we thought were really good recipes for fully cooked, smoked beef sausage, and we found a vendor that we thought could do a good job of meeting our expectations,” Bradbury explains.

That line of smoked sausage products proved to be very popular in Texas and inspired the company to move into frozen, fully cooked burger patties. Once again, they gained a loyal following and allowed Nolan Ryan Beef to carve out a spot in the frozen foods aisle.

The next product release was a departure of sorts for the company. Nolan Ryan Beef participated in a number of tasting events, seasoning the steaks with a special blend from a local seasoning company. Customers started asking about the seasoning, so it introduced steak, fajita and barbeque seasonings as well.

The introduction of beef franks was a natural extension, considering Ryan’s baseball career. Bradbury points out that the Texas Rangers are among the leaders in sales of hot dogs among all major-league teams, and Ryan is involved in the team’s ownership.

“They sold 1.6 million hot dogs in their stadium, and we felt those ought to be Nolan Ryan Beef hot dogs,” Bradbury says. “We got busy and came up with a really good all-beef frank recipe and a way to get them made we thought was excellent. We presented them to the right people, and there was a very rapid acceptance.”

Nolan Ryan Beef is now the official hot dog and official beef of the Texas Rangers, starting with this season. The hot dogs are also available in other foodservice and retail venues as well.

Similarly, Nolan Ryan Beef was approached by customers looking for a grass-fed beef program, which led the company to look into that sector.

“It’s of course a very different production process and supply chain — everything’s very different about it,” Bradbury says, “but we’ve been very successful with our initial roll-out of that product.”

The biggest challenge with grass-fed beef — for any supplier — is the fragmented supply. Whereas Nolan Ryan Beef’s all-natural cattle are finished in Texas, the grass-fed cattle come from all across the United States. The type of cattle, and even the type of farmer, is an important factor in determining the overall quality of the grass-fed animal.

“The same cattle that produce a real high-quality grain-fed beef product are not the ones that produce a very high-quality grass-fed product,” Bradbury explains. “You have to find cattle that will mature on grass and finish on grass. They’re generally going to be a smaller-framed animal.”

“You’ve got to find someone who is a really good grass farmer and understands how starches work in grasses versus proteins,” he adds. “On top of that, we’re trying to produce quality fresh grass-fed beef 52 weeks out of the year, never frozen. That’s another challenge, finding producers who are capable of storing forage and then feeding it in the winter months.”

More than just a name

While there are many products in a grocery store that bear the name of a celebrity, few take as active a role in the company as Ryan does. He produces cattle used in the beef program at his ranch, and his time spent in front of the camera has made him a natural spokesman.

“The cattle business is a passion of mine,” he explains. “I take a lot of pride in the products that we produce and the quality of the product. I want to be involved in the discussions and the decisions that are made.”

Along with the number of products offered, Nolan Ryan Beef has also grown its distribution range. Last year, the company began supplying steaks for Johnny Carino’s Italian restaurant chain, which has 65 locations in seven states. Along with locations throughout Texas, it introduced consumers in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri to Nolan Ryan’s All-Natural Beef. The chain added a 12-ounce Tuscan Ribeye steak and a 12-ounce Oak-Grilled New York Strip to the menu as a result.

There are plenty of opportunities to utilize the Nolan Ryan name and grow the brand even further. For instance, Ryan also played for the New York Mets and the California Angels, two potentially lucrative markets.

“We get e-mails from people in Southern California wondering where they can buy Nolan Ryan Beef,” Bradbury says.

Fortunately, not only is Ryan’s name well-known among the public, but it is also highly regarded.

“When we do focus groups with consumers, the one word that people tend to associate with Nolan Ryan is ‘trust,’” Bradbury says. “That’s a pretty powerful tool for a brand spokesman to have. We think people all over the United States are interested in buying quality natural beef, and they’d like to buy it from somebody that they trust.”

While there isn’t a set timeframe, both Ryan and Bradbury would like to see the brand go national, and the strong foundation is already in place to make it happen.

“We’re a small company, so we take baby steps,” Bradbury says, “but if you take enough of those steps, you’re going to get somewhere.”

Click here to view original article as published in the Independent Processor on Apr. 3, 2013.

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