Passion for cattle keeps business strong

 

Lee and Laura Brown take a moment for a photo on their farm near Erskine, Ab. on Tues. Jan. 15. The couple has been working on the farm for 49 years, honing their craft of raising and selling Angus cattle.

Lee and Laura Brown have been operating out of their farm north of Erskine, Ab. with a fire in their bellies to provide the best quality cattle on the
market.

LLB Angus was founded by Lee nearly 50 years ago and has since grown into a large operation breeding 1,000 females and annually marketing 400 bulls, 300 purebred females, and 300 commercial females by auction and private treaty.

Part-time farmhands begin clipping a bull, preparing it for sale photos to be taken in the weeks to come.

This is all accomplished on 6,000 acres of owned and rented land.

Lee bought his first Angus females from View Point Angus Dispersal in Red Willow, Ab, officially starting the operation when he was 12 years old.

Over time, the family consisting of Lee and Laura and their two daughters Jackie and Trish along with Trish’s husband Tim Henderson and their children have kept the family farm alive, still working on the original homestead of Lee’s great-grandmother, Isabella Brown.

On a regular basis, Herd Manager Katherine Heath originally from Australia, as well as three other full-time employees, and up to 12 part-time employees occupy the farm, focusing on daily chores and other responsibilities.

A few calves remain bedded down before temperatures drop in the evening.

Sale days on the ranch

Sale days can bring in more than 300people to help keep the event running smoothly.

Fall of 1970 became the first sale the ranch held where prominent auctioneers like Jim Baldridge, Harry Hayes, Jack Parnell, Dave Canning, Paul Good and Al Conover facilitated.

LLB’s first Spring Bull and Female Sale featuring 108 purebred lots that averaged $2,166 was on Sat. March 14, 1987.

The Brown’s recall many sceptical comments about the sale format but 2018 marked the 32nd annual spring sale in which over 300 people were interested in what LLB has to offer.

This was also the third year the family has been utilizing their new state-of-the-art sale facility complete with space for with multiple pens, an auctioneer stand, show ring, and massive bleachers to match eager buyers.

LLB has prided themselves on international sales, having marketed purebred and commercial cattle across North America and around the world.
This all began in the mid-70s as bulls were transported to Montana for sale.

One of the biggest highlights is their sale in 1988 after the sale of $129,000 LLB Gambler 22W to Whitestone-Krebs Ranch in Nebraska.

Gambler went on to be the 1989 Agribition Grand Champion Bull and 1990 Denver Stock Show Grand Champion Bull.

To date, LLB Gambler 22W is still the highest selling Canadian Angus Bull, the only Canadian bred and owned Denver Champion Bull and the only Denver Champion whose sons were Denver Champion Carload in the same year.The show ring has always been a large marketing tool in the development of the local business over the years as the family run business has gained many large titles and made several friends over the years.

The family does all of this because of their passion and drive to care for their livestock and to present the best cattle possible in the industry by
using strong genetics and attaining long term goals.

Others in the farming industry also sweeten the deal.

“It’s what we love to do. It’s our passion.

LLB Angus line up for their photo opp.

We love the cows, enjoy working with cattle but it’s the people you get to deal with in the industry,” said Laura.
Breeding philosophy is based on experience.

The process starts with acquiring the best herd sires then selecting for performance traits, growth and thickness all while maintaining structural
soundness and strong maternal traits for both commercial and purebred stockmen.

On a day-to-day perspective, the family and farm hands come together first thing in the morning to discuss how their day is going to go.

“First thing in the morning – everybody has breakfast together and kind of discuss what is going to happen for the day and then everyone goes out
and feeds and beds and hopefully by two in the afternoon they got everything done that way.

Then there is some sorting. Always bringing cows up to calve or moving baby calves out of a barn and stuff like that,” said Laura.

This year’s spring Angus sale will take place on Sat. March 9 at the farm where they plan to sell 600 head of bulls and purebred and commercial
females with a variety of black and red Angus genetics.

Terri Huxley
ECA Review

Photos by T. Huxley

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