Like all feedlot managers, Danny Herrmann lives and breathes cattle.
From farming and ranching to the sale barn business and the family’s Ford County Feed Yard southeast of Dodge City, Kan., Herrmann understands the beef industry.
It takes time and experience to learn what works, but honest communication with producers is the main key to everyone’s success, he says.
“We work closely with our customers, providing as much feedback on their calves as we can,” Herrmann says.
The information available has increased recently, thanks to a new level of carcass data the yard now obtains on Angus-type cattle. The 50,000-head feedyard has signed on with the world’s largest beef brand, as a Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) partner.
“I’ve always been an advocate of sharing with my customers the information that will give them a leg up, and the carcass data from CAB will do just that,” he says. “It’ll help put us all on the same page and find ways to improve each year.”
That comes naturally to Ford County Feed Yard staff, as many of them have been working for those goals for a decade or so.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without treating our customers with the respect they deserve,” Herrmann says. “Our focus is on meeting their needs, and with help from CAB, I think we can be even more valuable.”
Located on U.S. Highway 400 between Dodge City and Ford, Kan., the feedyard is well situated for access to grain. It’s also close to two major packing plants, 15 miles from Cargill and about 60 miles from Tyson.
“Being close to the plants is a benefit for the cattle because they don’t have to travel as far; plus we have good relationships with them,” he explains.
Herrmann, manager for 20 years, says future goals include continually updating the feedlots’ facilities and promoting the beef industry.
“We have increased quite a bit in size since we opened, back when I was about 10 years old,” he says. It opened with room for 20,000 head and has continually grown from there, typically completing a project each year.
“Of course we always make improvements to our pens and have equipment maintenance, and we have a fairly new feed mill,” he adds. “We try to remodel a section of the feedlot every year to stay up-to-date.”
Gary Fike, beef cattle specialist with CAB, says, “Ford County Feed Yard is a welcome addition to our national network of partner feedlots. Angus producers can be sure that Danny and his staff will work cooperatively to make the most of their cattle genetics.”