Just Gettin’ Started

By Greg Toller

What started out for long time Simmental breeder Steve Sanders as idea to buy a Miniature Hereford heifer for his young granddaughter to show has quickly grown into a love for this small but mighty breed. You see, Steve and Margret Sanders, owner of Sanders Ranch LLC, along with their manager Darrin Barbour have been one of the most instrumental breeders and promoters of Simmental cattle in recent history. Now, with the help of his daughter Daydree, her husband Brian and their three daughters Kodie, Karsen and Kanyen Dopps they have started to breed Miniature Herefords under the names KLD Miniature Herefords and Sanders Ranch. “When I decide to do something, I always put 100% into it” says Steve Sanders. They chose to start raising Miniature Herefords for many reasons, “We believe there are some really good animals in this breed, and would love the opportunity to help propel the breed in the future,” said Darrin. Steve added “We can see the need for smaller animals, smaller feed costs, smaller portions of meat and the smaller size for the young junior members.”

They got their start when Steve and Darrin went to the Kirchhoff dispersion in Iowa and selected the best four cows that would fit their program. “Our Minis will look just like our Simmis, big bodied, big boned and sound structured,” said manager Darrin Barbour. Research had to be done on this new business venture, not knowing any breeders, any cow families, or any sires in the breed. The internet provided quick results, but actually talking to fellow breeders and seeing the cattle in Houston and Austin proved to be most influential in learning about the breed. KLD and Sanders Ranch have recently added important pieces in developing a superior herd of breeding stock. Finding SHF Burbon was huge for their young herd. “He is phenotypically one of the best bulls I have ever been around, of any breed!” exclaimed Darrin. Two young females that will serve as the backbone for the herd are SHF Sunni and SS Haley, both females have remarkable show careers but more importantly they have the genetic consistency for building a herd.

Sanders Ranch is a 1000 acre 300 head seedstock operation located 50 miles south of Kansas City nestled between the Ozarks of Missouri and the Flint Hills of Kansas. Breeding superior seedstock is what Steve and Darrin do, they have raised and shown multiple National Champion Simmental bulls and females, including the only Triple Crown winning female in breed history. “We have our own production sale here at the ranch every year on the fourth Saturday in September,” commented Steve. “Sales and marketing are what we do, breeding great cattle is just part of our goal here at the ranch.” Between Darrin and his wife Connie, who is a graphic artist, they take their own pictures, produce their own ads and publish their own sale catalog. If you want to have a great time, eat great food and see some breed leading cattle, Louisburg, KS is where you want to be in late September. When their herd of Minis gets a little bigger, they will look at the option of having a sale at the ranch with a select few of guest consignors who share the same goals and values.

Steve has a motto at the ranch and a quote they use in many of the national ad campaigns “Honest Cattle, Honest People, Honest Prices.” “These aren’t just words on a page to us, it’s the way we do business,” says Steve. “The cattle business is a people business, there are many places to buy good cattle, but people buy from people.” That’s why Steve is so eager to please his customers and fellow breeders.
KLD and Sanders Ranch may be just getting started in the Mini Hereford business but they know what it takes to breed and promote cattle with integrity and the Miniature Hereford breed will be better with their involvement!

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