Like many producers, Tommie Rogers of The Branch Ranch located in North Louisiana near Mansfield, started out in the beef industry raising commercial cattle. He bought into the seedstock industry with just six registered cows and one registered bull in the early 1980’s. Shortly after, his daughters were interested in showing Brangus cattle, and Rogers quickly got more involved in the Brangus breed.
Rogers knows a thing or two about successful marketing and promotion. Once he had obtained a line of quality genetics, Rogers established his own successful breeding program called the rough and ready program. He thought the industry needed to focus more on serving the commercial producer, and Rogers found his niche by providing tough, rugged bulls that would work for that sector. Rogers said having integrity is most important and makes the difference between just making a sale and being successful in the industry.
“It takes a combination of getting established and building integrity,” Rogers said. “Once you’ve been established, build integrity and stand behind the product you market.”
Rogers established the rough and ready program when he realized he needed to market a herd bull that would work hard at two years old and survive in tough conditions. He also knew seedstock producers needed to start providing bulls that would withstand the toughest environments, perform for commercial cattlemen and fit the needs of their breeding programs.
“I implement a fence-line weaning process then we grade our bulls and bring them into a controlled environment until they’re yearling age to gather data. Then I kick them out on rough country where the natural culling process begins,” Rogers said. “I am then able to market hardy bulls that are ready to go to work.”
Rogers said he culled stringently to increase the quality of his herd, keeping in mind the long-term goals he set for the program. The Branch Ranch has been able to sell bulls under the rough and ready program for about 10 years. He said it took some time for customers to realize the kind of product they were buying, but once the program was established, the number of repeat customers confirmed the program was working.
“Our Brangus breed is a hardy breed and has many advantages qualities,” Rogers said, ”but I’ve got to raise him and train him to live a hardy lifestyle. I can stand behind my product and not worry about anything because I know my bulls will work.”
Rogers knows the value of Brangus bulls, but he also reminds breeders of the value of the Brangus female. The BrangusGold tagging program offered by the IBBA ensures buyers they are getting quality, verified Brangus genetics. Especially during this drought period, Rogers said seedstock producers need to promote the commercial man’s need for quality replacement females.
“Our breed is here today because of the females the commercial cattlemen can retain in their herds and will perform,” Rogers said. “The calves produced out of that herd can produce quality carcass traits that will grade on the rail, but our females carry the maternal traits the commercial man is looking for. The Brangus cow is what brought us to the dance.”
Rogers served on several committees while serving on the IBBA Board of Directors from 1995-2003 and has since been a strong proponent of the Brangus breed. Rogers said adaptability, endurance and the value of the Brangus female are three strengths that set the breed apart from all others. Promoting those advantages to the commercial producer and keeping long-term goals in sight will ensure the future success of the Brangus breed.