Raising the Best Granger Angus celebrates continued success
Great Falls, Mont. – While many ranchers start from their childhood, Jim Granger started Granger Angus from scratch after college and has seen success in his nearly 37 years raising cattle
“My wife Beth and I met in Bozeman, Mont. at Montana State Unviersity,” Jim explains. “I grew up in Fort Benton, Mont. where my family was in the construction business.”
Jim’s grandparents were ranchers, and he says, “Ever since I was a little boy, I was enthralled with cattle.”
Beth came from a ranching family. After they were married, Jim bought some cattle with a small group of people.
“I worked in construction and got my foot in the door with the cows,” Jim continues. “When we had the opportunity, we moved to this place and continued ranching.”
In 1978, Jim says he and Beth moved to their current property 25 miles south of Great Falls, Mont.
They started with commercial cattle but quickly moved from running both Angus and Herefords to raising purebred Black Angus.
“We began selling purebred Angus bulls that were out of our commercial cattle herd,” he says. “We started selling bulls by word of mouth.”
In 1995, Granger Angus began using embryo transfer with most of their cattle.
“We didn’t want to purchase females and didn’t feel we could afford to buy the females, so for us, embryo transfer was the best way to enter the business,” says Jim. “The early embryos came from the Hyline Angus in Manhattan, Mont. We used our own cows as recipients.”
In selecting donors, they choose cows with five to seven years of history to ensure consistency and success.
“We research and look at everything analytically,” Beth comments.
Jim adds, “By a little bit of luck, we’ve selected the right bulls to work with our cows, and we’ve done well.”
Developing the right cattle for their area is challenging, but Beth and Jim comment that their cattle can do well anywhere.
“We live in summer country,” says Jim, “and we have to live here in the winter. We are calving a cowherd in a place where the deer migrate away from, so we need the right cows.”
Beth notes that because of their difficult environment, they must harvest the best product from the land to make it work.
“We have to harvest the best possible product off the grass, and that is cattle,” she says. “We decided to bring the best possible cattle to make it work. We have to have the cream of the crop.”
In selecting bulls, Jim notes that he seeks a deep-bodied, high capacity animal capable of surviving in the harsh Montana environment.
“We’ve tried to stay moderate on our birth weights, as well,” says Jim, “but our main focus is on cattle that aren’t frail.”
He continues that they seek heavy-muscled bulls with a deep body and wide back.
“We work with the strengths of the dam and the sire to try to combine them for the best cattle,” Beth notes.
By working to improve their herd, Jim says they make changes and select sires to complement their cows.
“Just because Payton or Eli Manning has a son doesn’t mean he is going to be a great quarterback,” Jim explains, “but the individuals we take as calves to Midland Bull Test in the fall have the pedigree and cow power behind them.”
While Jim notes that the animals should do well when put on test, he says the Midland Bull Test gives them the chance to compete against breeders from across the U.S.
“With all the different pedigrees, it gets interesting to see what will rise to the top,” Jim comments. “We want to raise the next Manning. That is our goal, and Midland is the place to prove it.”
Beth says, “We are always trying to marry the best with best and pull the traits from both the cows and the sires to make a better product.”
“Just when we think we have reached a pinnacle, we think, ‘We can do better,’” she adds. “Jim can pick out those things that we can improve.”
With a focus on commercial cattle producers, Beth says they look for animals that work for those producers.
“The commercial man is the heart and soul and the bread and butter of the industry,” says Beth. “We want to help them make their product better and improve their profitability. Something as simple as a good bull is really important, and it makes a difference.”
Their passion for livestock and raising bulls is apparent through the high-quality animals they produce, and Jim and Beth aim to continue producing the best animals in the industry.
“Livestock production has always been a true love for me, and the opportunity to come to this place came early when we were married,” Beth says. “Both of us absolutely love our cows.”
As they continue to raise bulls, Jim notes that they are also looking at incorporating their son Forrest, who ranches less than 20 miles away, into the operation more.
“We are getting older, and its harder to run cattle today,” Jim says. “It’s just Beth and I here, and we’ve been fortunate to have Forrest around.”
“We work together a lot,” he continues about his son, “and eventually, if he wants to, Forrest will come into the operation.”
With a bright future ahead, Jim emphasizes that he enjoys doing what they do.
“Both Beth and I love the animals,” Jim comments. “We love working with them, and we like making them better.”
Midland Bull Test
For more than 10 years, Granger Angus has been taking bulls to the Midland Bull Test (MBT), where they take advantage of bigger sales and markets.
“We don’t have the size of herd to have our own production sale,” says Jim Granger. “We sell bulls by private treaty, through MBT and Treasure Test here in Great Falls, Mont.”
At MBT, Jim says that they have the potential to sell great bulls to breeders across the country.
“We send our bulls with herd bull potential to Midland,” he comments. “We know that others will pick through all the bulls and find them.”
At the same time, he commends MBT on their marketing and notes that they have more exposure at MBT than by selling private treaty.
“We are able to work the herd bull market with our bulls that go to MBT,” Jim comments. “It has worked so well for us.”
This year at MBT, the Grangers saw success with their bulls.
“We are fortunate,” says Jim. “Our bulls did well, and all 11 made it to the sale. That happens, but it doesn’t happen everyday.”
Granger Cascade 360 came in fifth in the weight per day of age (WDA) for the Angus White Tag Group Two bulls.
Additionally, Granger bulls showed the fourth-high placing WDA Sire Group, the 10th place Average Daily Gain Sire Group and the sixth-high efficiency ratio sire group, all with bulls sired by Granger Great Falls 053.
In total, they will sell 11 bulls at the April 4 sale.
Visit midlandbulltest.com or see the Wyoming Livestock Roundup’s Midland Bull Test Edition, inserted this week, for more information on the Midland Bull Test sale.