Featured Farmer: Focused on Top Quality Beef for the Holidays and All Year Long
Like many South Dakota families, prime rib will be the centerpiece of the holiday table for the Bieber family this year. For more than 40 years, it has been a tradition to serve beef at their Christmas dinner.
It has special significance for the family because the work they do on their Bieber Red Angus Ranch all throughout the year is focused on improving the quality, health and efficiency of beef raised on their ranch and across the country.
Bieber Red Angus Ranch was founded by Ron and Lois Bieber near Leola, in north central South Dakota, in the late 1950s. Their son Craig and his wife Peggy run the ranch today along with five employees, including their daughter and son-in-law. They began raising Red Angus breed cattle in 1966.
Over the years, the ranch has grown into one of the 30 largest seedstock ranches in the United States. A seedstock ranch raises cattle that are purchased by other ranches as breeding stock for their herd. The Biebers have about 900 registered Red Angus cows in their herd. Cows and their calves are registered with the breed association to record their pedigree, or family history, and document genetic and performance traits.
“Our goal is to produce high quality bulls that will help other ranches improve the genetics of their herd, resulting in higher quality beef,” said Craig Bieber. “We use a variety of genetic and performance data to select cattle that are both efficient and will produce great-tasting, quality beef.”
The Biebers raise calves born on the ranch, then sell them as bulls or heifers to other ranches. They have three large sales each year, two in South Dakota and one in Georgia for customers in the southeastern U.S. Each year they sell about 550 to 600 bulls.
The Biebers have been early adopters of a number of technologies that help them better predict performance of their animals, such as using ultrasound for carcass testing. They also respond to changing consumer trends and preferences such as leaner beef or smaller steak cuts by breeding and raising animals that will meet those demands.
Improved genetics in their herds can also help ranchers boost the efficiency of beef production.
“We want cattle to be better ‘upcyclers’ by being able to more efficiently turn the grass and feed they eat into more beef,” he said, noting that cattle eat grass or forage for about 75 to 80 percent of their lives.
“Across the industry, beef producers are using improved genetics and management practices to raise more beef with fewer animals,” he said. That results in better use of land and resources on ranches as well as beef feedlots and processing plants.
The Biebers have been active in the beef industry and promotion efforts for decades. Craig is a past president of the South Dakota Red Angus Association and has served on the South Dakota Beef Industry Council and US Meat Export Federation.
In fact, it was Lois’ work with beef promotion programs in the late 1970s that prompted her to make the switch from a more traditional turkey or ham dinner on Christmas to prime rib. Click here for more information on selecting, preparing and serving prime rib dishes for the holiday season and all year long!