A Program not Just an Over-Night Bull Supplier
Our history is a little different than your average seedstock producer. We aren't perfect, nor is any other program. One of the ways we are different is that we are somewhat new as compared to some very well established programs, getting our start in the late 1970s. At the same time we are no spring chicken either, 30+ years of experience shows we have withstood the test of time though some good times and bad times. Being a little "younger" than some other programs we have the fortune of being fresh and not stuck in our ways while at the same time maintaining a commitment to making the right kind of cattle for today's cattle markets and focusing on the future. Our experience gained over those 30+ years has taken us down several industry wide paths to get us to where we are today and I must say I like the cattle of today and am very excited to see where we, as a beef industry, go from here.
Maurice and Mary Gleason - Steve's Parents
On October 17, 2010, Maurice Gleason - Dad and Grandpa - lost his battle with cancer. He will be greatly missed. He was instrumental in the early development of Sunflower Cattle Company, well before we became Sunflower Genetics. His wisdom, friendly attitude and courageous spirit will live on in our hearts. Thanks Dad for everything that you taught us! You will be greatly missed by all.
Our original start goes back to Steve's younger days of grade school where the desire to weigh his Dad's weaned calves resulted in sub 400 pound weaning weights when others talked of much higher weights. The purchase of some Simmental bulls resulted in immediate gains. Of course all 4-Hers want to raise the Grand Champion steer so some Maine Anjou heifers were added to the mix. When one of them didn't breed and the other raised a knot headed fuzz ball the realization was that the breed of choice had to be Simmental. After having a neighbor AI some cows and later learning to AI himself, the registered herd was off the ground. With the purchase of 4 registered Simmental cows in 1980 the base cowherd was started. Selling our first bulls in 1981, many changes to the breed and herd have taken place over the next several decades. Following the path of the beef industry in the 80's, growth was the trait for selection. By the late 80's we were weaning 800+ pound calves. However, with 1800 pound cows, it became extremely evident that things needed to change. At about the same time Steve and Mary married and the introduction of the Angus cows came with the marriage. The original perfect blend. With the introduction of Angus our first SimAngus crosses were born. They were an immediate hit with our customers. The Simmental-Angus crosses have always been a major part of the Sunflower program, long before the SimAngus term was coined. Knowing our customers desire to have black cattle that could make money has always been our driving force in our breeding program.
While over the years, many changes have taken focus such as moderating mature cow size and more recently, working more on feedlot traits, our core direction hasn't changed. Providing our customers with genetics that add value to their operation has been and will continue to be our direction. However, at the heart of the operation the emphasis has and will always be on those unquantifiable traits such as; mothering ability, maternal instincts, calf vigor, udder quality, disposition and structural correctness to list a few. Years ago, Maurice, Steve's Dad who had sold feed all of his life laid out the basic plan of Sunflower Genetics. That being there are three simple rules to follow in business. First, produce a product that the customer not only wants but needs to be successful in his business. Second, sell a dependable, consistent product that has no surprises. Third, and most important, stand behind the product 100% and make all decisions based upon the profit of the customer. A good example Dad always liked to bring up is that if a cattleman buys a black, polled bull with added growth he expects to have black, polled calves that add pounds and dollars to his operation. With that in mind, we have for years and generations worked to provide homozygous black, homozygous polled cattle as a step to provide the predictability of our genetics.
We have enjoyed the past and look forward to the future of Sunflower Genetics. With the next generation ready to step into the operation, I'm sure many changes will take place as we continue on our quest to provide you with value added genetics that will improve your bottom line.
Kansas Ag Am Episode
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Past, Present and Future
Farm Talk Article
Read about the history of Sunflower Genetics and how Sunflower Cattle Company became Sunflower Genetics over time below.