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Straight Up | May/June 2022

A conversation with everyday Stockmen.

Steve and Tracey Koester

Steele, N.D.

About the Stockman.

"We both grew up on cattle ranches and have never known a year without cattle production. When we got married in 1994, we started raising commercial cattle together. In 2002, we began our registered fall-calving Red Angus herd. We raised two daughters who are both active in production agriculture. Kacey and her husband, Jake Jacobson, ranch with his family near Max, N.D. Shaye graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this spring, owns a podcast, Casual Cattle Conversations, and is returning to the ranch part time.”

What about the beef cattle industry excites you the most?

"New technology – DNA, gene editing, blockchain – is accelerating the progress within the industry and it’s an exciting time to learn and embrace how we can impact beef production.”

Your favorite non-ranch activity to do in your free time?

"Free time? What’s that? Occasionally we get away for some family functions, but most of our time is spent doing what we love – ranching.”

The most important lesson you’ve learned in this business?

"Perseverance. Progress is slow but well worth it.”

Most used tool on your ranch and how old is it?

"The payloader is one of the most used pieces of equipment on our ranch with all the feeding and snow/manure removal. Another valuable piece of equipment is the hydraulic chute. Both have made our day-to-day work much more efficient.”

Your go-to sorting apparatus?

"Sorting horseback is our favorite way to handle cattle but when we are afoot, we use sorting sticks. Our Border Collies help gather pastures and move cattle, but they aren’t very good at reading ear tags, so they don’t get to help sort.”

What is your least favorite job on the farm?

"With the highs, there’s always lows. We try to do as little farming as possible so we can concentrate on the cattle, and with our long winters, we spend many hours feeding cattle. Tracey really, really dislikes bottle calves and will spend a lot of time getting an extra twin spiked on a foster dam.”

Which animal (any species) has left the greatest impact on you?

"We have had some pretty cool horses over the years that have worked tirelessly on our ranch. The same goes for our Border Collie dogs. Both the horses and dogs helped raise our family and we have a lot of valuable memories around them.”

Describe your best day.

"One of our favorite times is when our fall cows hit synchronization and are dropping calves left and right. We enjoy seeing the new genetics and watching our cows and heifers get down to the business of being good mothers. We also enjoy sale day when we can share our genetics with our customers to advance the beef industry.”

Production Sale: March 10, 2023

In conjunction with Leland Red Angus near Sidney, Mont.

Reg. October-calving bred females for sale via private treaty each spring.

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