Loonan Stock Farm
The Iowa Beef Breeds Association named Loonan Stock Farm the recipient of the Iowa Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award in 2016. The Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award honors exceptional seedstock producers in the cattle industry each year. This award focuses on producers who excel in their seedstock producer programs in their entirety. Areas such as record keeping, industry participation and leadership, selection criteria, merchandising programs, and herd improvement over time are some essential disciplines in which the seedstock industry is grounded upon and are used as criteria in the producer selection process.
Loonan Stock Farm is part of a longstanding tradition in agriculture at the Loonan family century farm nestled in the southwest Iowa town of Corning. The Loonan family has been in the seedstock industry for 42 years producing Simmental, Red Angus, and Red SimAngus genetics.
Today, Judy Loonan and co-manager Rick Thompson are at the helm of the operation where they work each day to provide consistent and dependable genetics for commercial cattle producers. At their annual private treaty sale in Corning, they market around 145 bulls and 95 heifers with the majority being Purebred Red Angus as well as Simmental and Red SimAngus cattle.
Loonans started their seedstock program with Simmental cattle and later introduced the Red Angus breed in an effort to increase calving ease, carcass quality, and produce uniform and moderately sized animals for their customers. The current seedstock breeding herd is home to 375 cows with 270 of them being Red Angus Cows, with calving ease and true performance lines.
Loonan Stock Farms markets 100% of their genetics to commercial producers and has designed their genetic program to meet commercial producers’ needs. Producing uniformity and consistency is a large part of their genetic program and they achieve this by utilizing performance data, implementing a stringent feeding and management program, closely examining cow families, using proven sires, and incorporating carcass ultrasound data.
It is the priority of Loonan Stock Farm to continue to add better genetics to their stock while keeping with the philosophy of providing consistent, dependable genetics to their customers. The Loonan family is no stranger to the cattle industry and have been actively involved in their county agriculture organizations for many years. In years past, they have received the honors of the Corning Agriculturist of the Year and Adams County Cattleman of the Year and have also been a large contributor to the 4H and FFA organizations at the county and state level.
Judy’s father, who passed in 2011, was always very insightful into the future and was able to build Loonan Stock Farm into what it is today with his forward thinking. Although his passing has been tough for the operation, Judy continues to use what she learned from him, along with Rick’s extensive cattle knowledge, to continue the success and legacy her father left. They feel very fortunate to have the customer base that they do and are very proud of the fact that they are able to provide genetics to neighbors, friends, and commercial cattle producers all of the Midwest.
Although the hours can be long, Rick and Judy agree that cattle farming is what they love to do and they would not have it any other way. “To me this is an occupation, not a job and we are blessed to wake up each day and do what we love to do."
Stalcup Farms Charolais
James Stalcup of Stalcup Farms Charolais is the 2015 winner of the Iowa Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award presented by the Iowa Beef Breeds Council and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.
Stalcup, whose cattle operation is near Prescott, has been farming for 53 years. Cattle were not the early focus for the family, although there has always been a commercial cow herd on site. That cow herd was bred to Simmental and Angus initially, but in 1967, four registered Charolais bulls were added to the mix.
Those bulls were part of their expansion of the commercial cow herd, but the Stalcups were focused on raising Quarter Horses, and showing them as a family activity. However, once his sons and daughter began moving from the farm, the focus shifted to cattle.T
he Stalcups were considering ways to increase the farm income in the spring, so they purchased purebred Charolais cows so they could sell bull calves in the spring. Now, they have 350 Charolais cows in the herd, as well as 50 Angus cows.
Now, they sell over 100 bulls a year, with about 90% of those going to commercial herds, and the rest to purebred breeders. Commercial herds are getting bulls with EPDs that translate to favorable numbers in birth weights, weaning weights and 205-day weights, as well as maternal traits.
The heifers added to the Stalcup herd must be a moderate frame and pass a visual test as well as have excellent EPDs that include good disposition and excellent milkers.
Stalcup said he sells the majority of his seedstock through private treaty with many repeat customers. The business focus has been on bloodlines that show and sell well across the country. Their performance is tested not only in the showring, but also they must perform well in pastures and feedlots.
Since the Stalcups started in the purebred business, their improvements have focused on getting better milkers and lower birth weights while increasing their weaning weight to over 700 lbs. “By paying close attention to our performance records, we have been able to manage a more balanced set of calves and improve our program from year to year.”The Stalcups include both spring and fall calving in their herd, with the fall herd started 10 years ago. “We have found this to be a good bull market for us,” Stalcup said. “Customers have been pleased with the cattle they’ve bought from us, and our return customers keep us in business.”
And that’s important to a family operation that now includes both sons and a daughter, as well as their spouses and children and grandchildren! Stalcup’s oldest granddaughter, Haley Stalcup, was recently named the president of the Charolais association’s national junior board.
Stalcup Farms Charolais has produced two national champion bulls. The first was a yearling bull named Blizzard, which they purchased in 1996. Blizzard became the foundation of their Charolais program, and put their seedstock on the map as far as the Charolais industry was concerned.
Besides the national champion bulls, their success has born out two show bulls of the year, champions at the National Western Livestock Show, with many class winners at the American Royal, Iowa State Fair and state fairs in Minnesota and South Dakota, and the Iowa Beef Expo.
In addition, Jim has a passion for the Super Bull contest at the Iowa State Fair, and has won that contest eight times, including holding the record with his friend Joe Holub for the heaviest Super Bull.
Stalcup has served on the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association board, on the Adams County Fair Board, as a 4-H leader, including induction into the 2014 4-H Hall of Fame, and recognition of his conservation work on the farm.
But through all those awards and responsibilities, Stalcup says his short-term goals for cattle production have been the same as his long-term goals. “We try to improve our cattle from one year to the next, and to implement new ideas and strategies to make our program better for our customers.”