|Fresh out of the Army with an eye for the right kind of cattle, Everett Benoit bought six Angus heifers from his neighbor and started a cow herd of his own. He and wife Bonnie settled down in north-central Kansas to build a farm and family. The only kind of work they knew was hard work, and plenty of it.|
Their resolve and work ethic saw the herd grow to 400 Angus females, along with a 2,500-acre farming division now.
Benoit Angus Ranch, marketing over 150 bulls annually, is a multi-generation family business with sons Doug and Chad. Focused on serving commercial cattlemen, the Benoits built a reputation for high-quality cattle that perform on the ranch, in the feedyard and on the rail.
With always-improving cattle to support that renown, and the will to back it up, Benoit Angus Ranch earned the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) 2023 Seedstock Commitment to Excellence Award. The family was recognized at the CAB Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September.
|Family, Farm and Love for the Angus Female|
While Doug manages the cow herd, Chad oversees the farming side. Where possible, that ties back to cattle as row crops, cover and forages diversify beyond managing 3,500 acres of grass. Cows graze corn stalks till late in the year and cover crops on wheat ground extend light grazing through the winter.
Everett and Bonnie remain involved, often sitting down with their sons to provide input and advice.
“They started this and now we all work together,” Doug says. “Dad has been a great teacher for us. And, it’s very nice to be able to work with your folks.”
Passing his work ethic, love for the breed and the core foundation of the family Angus herd on down to sons meant they grew up with Angus as the only logical choice.
The Benoits have been recognized for their emphasis on maternal traits and overall high-quality Angus genetics that meet commercial cattlemen’s needs.
|Caption: “We’ve had excellent performance on our calves and the carcass value is really, truly, a trait of Angus cattle,” says Doug Benoit.|
|To Doug, the Angus female is the ideal type, further refined for a feminine head and length of body.|
And to Jeff Mafi, American Angus Association regional manager, the Benoit Angus herd is a functional, working set of cows.
“They look for females with a good phenotype, do-ability and the right udder,” he says. “But they know they are in the beef business, so they pay attention to carcass traits, too.”
Striving for excellence, the Benoits stress data collection and testing. The longtime Maternal Plus members document that side of performance in their herd. All replacement females and sale bulls are American Angus Association Genomic Selection (GS)-tested, with results applied to herd improvement and marketing.
“They’re no-nonsense Angus breeders,” says Mafi. “If the cattle won’t work for customers, they get rid of them.”
|Caption: “There’s tough times, but you can’t shy away from work,” Everett says. “You don’t quit at three or four o’clock in the afternoon; you have to work at it.”Caption: The Benoits know that the Angus female is the backbone to any quality herd, and focus their genetics on physical and carcass traits.|
Any reputation is earned. In the cattle business it can be cultivated in many ways, but it hangs on customer opinion.
“We measure success by our customers,” Doug says. “We work for them, and we’ll do everything we can to keep them satisfied.”
With two annual production sales, females in the fall and bulls in the spring, the Benoits rely on a strong customer base, largely repeat buyers and upwards of 85 percent commercial.
Each year’s breeding decisions aim to improve the herd, partly by targeting high-quality beef production. With a bull customer base largely aiming for a premium on calves produced, the Benoits employ CAB’s “Targeting the BrandTM” logo in their sale catalogs. In 2023, 76 percent of their bull sale offering earned the logo.
“We put that Targeting the Brand mark in our sale catalog, and I know a number of customers will buy off that,” Doug says. “And they will mark out bulls from their selection if it doesn’t have the Targeting the Brand logo.”
At the first of two rounds of culling, the ranch pulls the bottom 25 percent of bulls based on quality, and sends them to a Nebraska feedyard as steers. That bottom end, in a sense, still contributes carcass data as a baseline for how different genetics perform.
With an average CAB acceptance rate of nearly 65 percent along with those grading Prime, the Benoits have found what works.
|Caption: Sharing his love of the Angus breed, and notion for hard work, Everett Benoit works alongside sons Doug and Chad.|
|Putting in the Work|
“As long as it’s got a seat on it, I can usually do a pretty good job,” Everett says.
Now in his mid-80s, he wakes before sunrise and climbs into his truck for another day of work on the farm. Whether he’s feeding cows or swathing hay, he enjoys what he does from the seat. Bonnie still can’t plan on him for dinnertime, but they’ve managed to get along so far.
“If you love doing something, it’s not work,” Everett says. “That’s the way I taught my boys—and hard work, it pays off.”
For the Benoits, that’s the goal: Add quality to the cow herd and improve the quality of a steak.
With another generation (or two) following in his footsteps, and the success of the ranch to carry forward, one thing’s for certain: hard work is a learned lifestyle at Benoit Angus Ranch.
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