Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Randy and Jared Bowen - Louisiana Cattlemen

Today we feature the Bowen's of Louisiana Randy and Jared Bowen are making it count when it matters most! A special thanks to Brittni Drennan - communications coordinator for the International Brangus Breeders Association for sharing this story with us!

There is an indescribable bond that exists between father and son relationships. A distinguished sense of pride is established when one or the other accomplishes set goals and overcomes obstacles. When dreams are achieved, success is shared between both of them. A great father and son team is hard to find, especially one that works as well as the Bowen team.

Randy Bowen and his son, Jared, share responsibilities, chores, and goals, and have the same vision for their registered Brangus seedstock operation in Marion, La. Their mission is to grow their operation to become the primary supplier of quality Brangus bulls to commercial cattlemen and, eventually, the seedstock sector. They hold each other accountable and make sure they are always on the same page.

“We plan ahead to avoid problems and learn from mistakes,” Jared said. “We talk every day about what we can do better. We emphasize communication, and whether it’s forage or breeding decisions, we work well together.”

Together, they work to enhance their breeding program while emphasizing efficiency. At Slantin B Brangus, the Bowens make it count when it matters most., They know it is essential to continually evaluate techniques and make decisions to improve management practices, especially during the harshest weather conditions this country has seen in more than 50 years. Planning and evaluating help decrease costs and determine the future success of an operation.

“We were fortunate to have gotten some beneficial rains last year, but it’s hitting us hard this year,” Randy said. “We weaned calves early this time to take the stress off momma cows.”

That is just one practice the Bowens are using to try to survive the current weather conditions. In addition, Randy said they use rotational grazing to better utilize a particular section of forages giving other pastures a chance to recover. Rotational grazing enables producers to obtain higher efficiency from their pastures. Randy said planning ahead is critical in the cattle industry and their efficiency is what sets them apart.To help minimize input costs, Randy compares feed prices, plans ahead to reduce travel expenses and carefully watches the market to know when the best time is to sell his steers.

From management plans to marketing plans, he uses his resources wisely and tries to minimize waste in every area. Randy manages the marketing aspect of the operations, utilizing inexpensive online venues such as social media to help increase visibility, build a positive reputation and market their product.

“It’s beneficial to see what other people are doing at their operations and see different bloodlines,” Randy said. “My intentions with social media are to build a brand and talk to people to build good relationships. I learn something new every week that will help me get my product out.”

Randy said advertising online improves Search Engine Optimization (SEO) when people perform a search online. He has received calls from Mississippi because someone searched for “Brangus bulls” online, and Slanting B Brangus was at the top of the search list. Randy is also impressed with the responses he has received because of his activity on craigslist, Facebook and other sites.

“Online visibility reaches more people and a bigger audience,” Randy said. “People are receiving more information online and online advertising is more flexible. When doing searches, people can be more specific and target what they are looking for.”

To further increase efficiency, Randy said he conducts research before making purchasing decisions allowing him to make smarter choices. He knows who his customers are and specifically who he is targeting with his product. As a registered seedstock producer, Randy said targeting the commercial producer provides a larger market. He gains trust from his customers because he knows what type of bull will fit their operations and their programs.

The Bowens utilize more than just online resources to build their product. Jared oversees and implements artificial insemination (AI) practices at the operation and assists other neighboring ranches with AI as well. Now a Certified Herdsman, Jared attended Bovine Elite, LLC artificial insemination and palpation clinics in College Station, Texas. Utilizing AI technology is a more efficient way to improve genetics and diversify the herd to avoid line breeding. Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are also used to develop their program and provide the best product to the industry.

“I think EPDs are important because they indicate the genetics you’re getting. There’s no second-guessing, and it’s not a shot in the dark when looking for a proven cow and a proven bull,” Jared said. “We look at phenotype too, but when we go back and look at the paperwork, you’re not taking as big of a risk.”

Aside from daily routines, Randy and Jared attribute the Brangus breed for making this year a success when so many other producers are selling out. Randy said Brangus is a strong breed and will continue to be more desirable among commercial cattlemen in the future. He is most pleased with the breed’s outstanding maternal instincts, longevity and adaptability to harsh environments.

“From my experience, cattleman think Brangus is a strong breed,” Randy said. “They’re protective of their young and are more resistant to diseases. Especially in the southern region, they adapt well to different climates. They forage well, are low maintenance and eat more of what maybe other cattle would pass by.”

Jared said Brangus genetics coincide with what commercial producers are looking for. Easy calving and good mothers that can grow a good calf are the type of cows his customers want. When purchasing bulls, Jared knows his customers want good temperament, docile bulls that will produce low birth weight calves.

“It’s important to know the cattleman and know his program and what he’s looking for that will fit his breeding program,” Jared said.

The Bowens maintain sight of their long-term goal to eventually supply quality genetics and new bloodlines for seed stock producers, while efficiently providing a consistent product that will satisfy customers in a time when everyone is cost-conscious. Randy and Jared do not know what the future of the industry looks like, but they are making it count when it matters most.

Thanks to Brittni Drennan - Communications Coordinator for the International Brangus Breeders Association for bringing us this great feature. Check out their website and their Blog and "like" them on Facebook.

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