Purebred Breeder of the Year
Nominations for Saskatchewan Purebred Breeder of the Year are accepted during the Annual General Meeting each year and are voted on by the membership at the meeting. The winner is presented with their award at an event of their choice and they are featured on the cover article of the Fall issue of the Angus Edge newsletter.
2020 Purebred Breeder of the Year: Ward's Red Angus - Saskatoon, SK
It is our pleasure to introduce this year’s recipients of the Saskatchewan Angus Breeder of the year, Clarke and Denise Ward and family of Ward’s Red Angus.
Many in the breed and industry have had the good fortune to meet and know Clarke and Denise over the years. They have been consistent participants in many Saskatchewan Angus and other cattle industry events for almost three decades in our province. They routinely offer females in several of Western Canada’s premier female sales and hold their own successful bull sale each March.
What many of you may not know, is the years of hard work that made Ward’s Red Angus the successful purebred operation that it is today. We would like to tell you a little bit about their Angus journey. It all started when Clarke and Denise were married in the fall of 1990. Clarke had been born and raised two miles from their current location and Denise was new to the cattle business when they literally cut a hole in the fence of one of their pasture quarters and started the farm. They had to build everything and develop all the services on the property to create their new home. That year they started with a mobile home, calving barn and four pens for their herd.
That first winter, to say the least, was not without its challenges. In those days, they didn’t have a shop and it was a common occurrence for Clarke to keep their tractor running round the clock to keep it from freezing up. No sooner than their new barn was habitable by cattle, a cow knocked over a heat lamp and burned out the corner of the barn. Their neighbours and friends quickly pitched in and they were able to get the barn back to functional before the rest of the herd started calving.
Not long after their first winter together in their new home, Clarke and Denise welcomed their first son Josh to the family in April of 1991. Ward’s Red Angus was also officially born in 1991 when they registered their herd name with the Canadian Angus Association. The herd at that time consisted of 55 purebred Red Angus cows, a herd that Clarke had been building since his teen years. The new family persevered and their herd began to grow by five to 10 replacement females each year, as they could afford it and circumstances allowed. In April of 1995 they welcomed their second son Cole into the family.
Over the years the farm and herd slowly grew and developed. In 1994 they moved from their house trailer into their new home on the same site. 1994 also saw the construction of their first shop. In 2005 they added their new calving barn that allowed them to more effectively manage their growing cow herd. Clarke’s pride and joy, his new sale barn/shop, was completed in the summer of 2019, just days before hosting as one of the evening stops on the Saskatchewan Angus Summer Tour.
Early bull sales were accomplished by participating in events such as the Regina and Saskatoon Test Stations, as well as Pathlow at Melfort, Lloydminster’s Pride of the Prairies Bull Sale, and Bull Congresses as well as marketing out of the yard. Clarke learned early the value of developing relationships, as he has been selling bulls since he was 15.
In 2005 they were invited to join the Complete Bull Sale at Saskatoon Livestock Sales (SLS). That year they were able to consign 20 bulls to the sale. Over the next four years they participated in partnership sales and in 2009 their first annual bull sale was held at SLS. The sale remained there until the spring of 2020 when they held their 12th annual in their new sale barn, offering their bulls for the first time in a video sale format. It was a great day, with many family, friends, and neighbours joining them to celebrate, as well as see them presented with their Breeder of the Year Award.
Clarke and Denise have always worked together to look for new ways to improve and innovate their cattle enterprise. Clarke handles customer relations and day-to-day management of the herd. Denise has taken on the administrative and promotion roles. They work to their strengths and balance each other very well. When the Canadian cattle industry was met with the major challenge of BSE they decided that Denise would return to full-time employment by working for the R.M. of Vanscoy as an administrative assistant. After several successful years as an assistant, Denise left Vanscoy in 2016 and became the Administrator for the R.M. of Milden, a position she continues to hold today. This brought forth challenges with workload off and on farm, as both Josh and Cole have been away from the farm off and on for school, football and work.
This led to the development of a successful fall calving herd to spread out the workload and to help meet their customer needs. They had customers looking for aged bulls for use in community and co-op pastures. They quickly decided that fall calving was a very cost-effective method of producing older bulls that could be offered during their March bull sale. This program also allowed them to get more use out of their purebred bull pen with the bulls pulling double duty. To cut it in their fall program, the cattle have to be hardy and tough, traits that their commercial customers are looking for in their bull selections.
Ward’s Red Angus has always been a willing and active participant in promoting the Angus breed in Saskatchewan and Clarke served as a director and president on the Saskatchewan Angus Association Board for a number of years along with many committees, including Saskatoon Fall Fair. They were also proud to be a part of the 2011 Saskatoon Gold Show committee and summer tour. Clarke and Denise both spent many years as 4-H leaders and are always willing to step up and help and encourage youth to participate in our great industry. Many of the youth they mentored over the years have become active participants in our breed.
4-H and the Junior Angus programs are near and dear to their hearts. Clarke was very active in his youth and the boys were encouraged to participate as well. In fact, Cole’s first 4-H heifer project is directly responsible for the addition of Black Angus cattle to the herd profile. Shows became a family outing, including Lloydminster Stockade Roundup, Saskatoon Fall Fair and Canadian Western Agribition as well as the first Showdown in 2000 in Regina. Today they don’t do the ‘show barn’ but a display in “The Yards” at Agribition is a main focus in their promotional efforts.
The Canadian Red Angus Promotion Society’s Red Round-up has also played a big part in their herd, with Clarke purchasing his first female at the sale in 1982, which was the start of their Freyja foundation line, to having the high selling cow there in 2009, and in 2020 donating a heifer as a major fundraiser for the Society. Clarke also served as a director on the Promotion Society board for four years.
Family and their community have been a focus, and the boys and now their families have always been involved as much as they can. Cole is a corrections officer at Kilburn Hall and lives in Saskatoon with his fiancé Kathryn, an elementary school teacher and Josh and Kari, along with their children Carter and Olivia live by Pike Lake. Kari is a phlebotomist with the Saskatoon Health Region and Josh worked at the Rocanville mine for a number of years but this fall has returned to the farm. You can just tell that Clarke is anxious to include Carter and Olivia in his legacy when they get a little older.
Today the herd consists of 110 winter calving cows and 70 fall calving cows. The split is approximately two-thirds Red and one-third Black. If you were to describe their target objective in bull production, it would be moderate birth weight bulls that demonstrate strong substantial growth. These are traits that obviously ring true to their commercial customers that come back year after year for replacement bulls.
This is only a small slice of what Clarke and Denise have accomplished within the Angus industry. We have no doubt they will continue to contribute to our breed in the years to come. 2021 marks the 30th year for Ward’s Red Angus and their 13th annual March bull sale, to be held Saturday, March 6 at the farm.
Congratulations! Being named the 2020 Breeder of the Year is a reward well deserved.
Commercial Producer of the Year
Nominations for the Saskatchewan Commercial Producer of the Year are accepted from the membership until August 15th each year and are decided on by the board in the fall. The winner is presented with their award at an event of their choice and they are featured as the cover article of the Spring issue of the Angus Edge newsletter.
2020 Commercial Producer of the Year: Bar C Ranch - Maple Creek, SK
This year’s recipient of the Saskatchewan Angus Commercial Producer of the Year Award are Melvin and Laurie Moorhead and their son Clay of Bar C Ranch. The Moorhead homestead was settled in 1885 by Melvin’s Great Grandfather, who was a Northwest Mounted Policeman.
The ranch is situated along the Cypress Hills in beautiful ranching country, with the homestead 12 miles east of Maple Creek, SK. Melvin is a fourth generation rancher, born in 1944 as the oldest son to the late Lloyd and Rose Marie Moorhead. In 1974 Melvin married Laurie Hobbs and they had three children Heidi, Clay, and Shauna. After a seven-year battle with ovarian cancer, Laurie sadly passed away this past fall.
Clay and his wife Debbie have three kids; Luke (age 10), Zack (age 7) and Charlotte (age 3), who are the sixth generation on the ranch. Clay has been the leader of the local Bear Creek 4-H club for two years. His oldest son Luke is a 4-H member and younger brother Zack is eagerly waiting to start 4-H for himself once he turns 8.
Heidi and her husband John Beierbach operate Slippery Moon Ranch at Merryflat by Consul, SK and they have two daughters Sarah (age 15) and Jane (age 12). They trade help back and forth with Melvin and Clay. Shauna and her husband Casey Jones ranch with Casey’s family at Middlefork Ranch near Govenlock which is west of Consul, SK. They have a son Tucker (age 7) and a daughter Kelly (age 5), rounding out Melvin’s seven grandkids of whom he is very proud.
Originally the Moorhead Ranch started out with Hereford cattle and Melvin received his first cow from his father. In 1958 Melvin purchased his first purebred Herefords, two cows with calves at side and a coming two-year-old dry heifer. Melvin had some bad luck and unfortunately one cow and her calf, along with the dry heifer were struck by lightning.
Melvin’s first Angus cattle purchase was four older cows through the ring at Cowtown Livestock Exchange, the local auction market in Maple Creek in the late 80s. Melvin was able to keep a nice little bull calf from one of the original four cows for breeding heifers. This first bull calf quickly proved himself valuable on the ranch, producing calves that weighed up nicely. Melvin was then able to retain some baldv cows produced from this Angus bull calf for his herd.
From there he began to move away from the Hereford breed and started purchasing Black Angus bulls. It has been approximately 30 years since the Moorhead Ranch started using Black Angus genetics. Melvin’s transition to the Angus breed was an easy one. He claims Angus cattle are “the lazy man's breed”. They are easy keepers and look after themselves. The first purebred Black Angus bulls were purchased from Fred Noad.
The Bar C Ranch now runs approximately 400 Black Angus commercial cows, which they breed back to Black Angus bulls. Clay and Melvin pride themselves in keeping moderately framed, high producing, low input cows. The Moorheads proudly tag all their calves with the GREEN Angus tags and feel that is something buyers value.
Melvin and Clay start calving cows out on grass at the beginning of April and they appreciate the calving ease of the Angus breed. The ranch purchases bulls from Deer Hill Ridge Angus, Sheidaghan Angus, Valley Blossom Ranch and Sandy Bar Ranch. Clay and Melvin typically sort-off the biggest steer calves in the fall and sell them as a one owner package at Cowtown Livestock Exchange. They then winter the rest of the calves and sell the steers early the next spring to a private buyer.
As 2020 was an unconventional year for most of us, including the Moorheads, Clay and Melvin sold all their calves privately given the circumstances this fall. Melvin states that the Cowtown Livestock Exchange has been very good to them throughout the years, they have been successful getting paid well through the ring with their calves. For the past three years Melvin has also sent a package of fancy black heifers to the Short Grass sale.
Melvin and Clay are proud to use horses for moving and working cattle at the Bar C Ranch. Even at the young age of 76 you will find Melvin out on his trusty steed, Sandy. Melvin enjoys riding through his own cows, lending a hand to the neighbours, or riding at the pasture. He spends a lot of time putting the miles on in the saddle helping his daughter Heidi and son-in-law John with their cows as well. All of Melvin’s grandkids enjoy the cows and horses. They are all handy and help out with riding whenever needed. Melvin has instilled his pride of his cattle herd and genetics in all of his grandchildren and has given them all a cow or a heifer to start their own herds.
The following questions were answered by Melvin and Clay during their interview as the 2020 Commercial Producers of the Year:
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing producers and the beef industry today?
Clay stated as a young rancher it is harder now to expand with land prices so high. Land in the area is selling for a premium dollar and being broke up as farmland. New government laws and regulations such as the carbon tax are proving to be a challenge to the industry. The cost of living keeps going up while beef prices are not.
What is one piece of advice that you have received and carried with you throughout your life on the ranch?
One time Melvin’s grandfather told him, “as long as you have a roof over your head, something to eat, and have a little fun, what else do you need?” Melvin is grateful for the help he received from his family when he got started ranching. Clay jokingly said, “you take it one day at a time, because you never know what will happen the next”. Life on the ranch is unpredictable and you are better off to take each day as it comes.
Where do you see the ranch in the next five years?
Melvin has been ranching all his life, but now feels he would like to start slowing down and passing the reins of the Bar C over to Clay. Clay is an essential part of the everyday operations on the ranch and currently does a lot of the work. He will be well equipped to take over after spending years on the ranch working along side Melvin. Clay states he will have some “big shoes to fill”. It is a huge accomplishment to be able to pass the ranch down through so many generations and still be on the homestead that was started in 1885. Clay hopes to continue the tradition and be able to ranch alongside his kids who are the sixth generation.
Congratulations to the Moorheads on being named Commercial Producer of the Year!
Saskatchewan Honourary President
The Honourary President is elected by the membership during the Annual General Meeting. The title of Honourary President is given for recognition without the usual requirements, duties, and privileges that formally go along with the role of the president. An award is presented to the recipient at a venue of their choice and they are recognized in The Angus Edge newsletter.
2020 Honourary President: Roy MacDonald, RoyMac Angus - Cut Knife, SK
RoyMac Angus is located six miles north of Cut Knife, SK. They originally got their start from cattle purchased from Bob Blacklock and John Grant and then added some groups of cows from Toner Angus Farms, Collin Sauder and Batschol Farms. They are currently running 120 head of Black and Red Angus.
They sell select females in sales and off the farm and are currently selling bulls by private treaty. In the past they have sold bulls through the Lloydminster Bull Sale, with Toner Angus and a group of cattlemen including 20/20 Angus, Currie Angus and Bullerwell Angus.
RoyMac consists of Roy, his wife Maureen, Jesse, Taylor and Sadie, and Kirk, Sydney and Addy, plus Amanda, Darbie, Gracie and Barrett Koshman.
Congratulations to Roy MacDonald on being named Honourary President!
Canadian Honourary President
The Honourary President is elected by the membership during the Annual General Meeting. The title of Honourary President is given for recognition without the usual requirements, duties, and privileges that formally go along with the role of the president. A pin is presented to the recipient at the Canadian Angus Association Annual General Meeting and they are recognized in the CAA Annual Report.
2020 Honourary President: Keith Kaufmann, South View Ranch - Ceylon, SK
Keith Kaufmann resides in the rolling hills of southern Saskatchewan with its wide-open spaces and beautiful countryside. He has been involved in the agriculture industry, mainly the cattle sector, his entire life. Upon graduation in 1971, he took over the family farm and after marrying Linda in 1973, together they expanded the farm to what today is known as South View Ranch. They were blessed with two children, Shane and Stacey.
The Angus cow was definitely their breed of choice with positive attributes in all aspects from the pasture to the plate. The first few years they ran commercial cattle. In 1990 Keith and Shane purchased 10 purebred Red Angus, one that Shane used as a 4-H project. Thus began the Red Angus division. A few years later Black Angus females were added. Today more than 500 Red and Black Angus females roam the hills of South View Ranch. An annual bull sale is held the second Friday in April. Keith is especially proud to have Shane, his wife Alexis and their four children Keaton, Kamrie, Kohen and Korbyn as part of the operation. With the fourth generation showing a keen interest and taking on day-to-day tasks, the future looks bright for South View Ranch.
Keith was always intent on staying on top of what was happening in the cattle industry by attending meetings, seminars and joining committees. He was a director on the Saskatchewan Angus Association Board from 1998 to 2009 as well as a director on the Canadian Angus Association Board from 2002 to 2005 and 2006 to 2009. He also served as the Angus representative on the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association for a number of years.
Community involvement has also been important to Keith. He has been involved with municipal government since 1980 serving as councilor, reeve and is currently deputy reeve. He also sat on the vet board, park board, Agriculture Development and Diversification (ADD) Board and Lions Club. He initiated the idea of a feedlot in the region in 2000. Five years later Border Line Feeders, a 12,000 head community owned feedlot went into operation south of Ceylon.
Keith has met and worked with many outstanding cattlemen and women. He has thoroughly enjoyed his many years promoting the Angus breed. It is very humbling and rewarding when you are recognized for your accomplishments by your peers. In 2009 South View Ranch was awarded Saskatchewan Angus Purebred Breeder of the Year, in 2010 Keith received the Golden Sheaf Award and in 2019 Keith and Linda were one of three recipients for the Saskatchewan Livestock Association Honour Scroll.
Congratulations to Keith Kaufmann on being named Honourary President!