Data and information may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about raising beef, but they have been at the forefront of the Davis and Cook families purebred Angus operation for many years.
Jim and Debbie Davis have raised registered Angus cattle since 1973. Their daughter, Jordan, and her husband, Nocona Cook, are now part of their operation located near Burns Flat, Oklahoma.
“If you don't measure it, you can’t improve it,” said Jordan. And they live out that commitment by tracking data from their heard through the American Angus Association and Buffalo Feeders where their calves are fed out.
For Jim and Debbie attention to data began with expected progeny differences (EPDs) when they began artificially inseminating cattle in the early 1990s. Jordan took an interest in looking at data when she was showing cattle and participated in carcass grading contests at the state and national level.
This attention to data has allowed the Davis and Cook families to produce seedstock their customers can rely on. They hold an annual production sale and each year see repeat customers.
“Our legacy can be seen in all our return customers,” said Jim Davis. “Many of our bull customers only need to purchase from us every four years. But they keep coming back and we are proud of that.”
Jim explains that their customers don’t always understand the data behind their genetic development program but have come to trust them to know the data well and then help them know what animals will best fit their needs.
That commitment to tracking the data has paid off. The cattle they feed out now grade 100 percent prime and choice.
Cell phones and software from the American Angus Association helps us tremendously. The data we get from selling our cattle on the grid through Buffalo Feeders is also very important to our decisions about genetic development.
Nocona is the sixth generation to live on his family’s farm. It requires a commitment to sustainably to be in business for that long. We always pay attention to our feed inputs so we can produce beef more efficiently with a smaller environmental impact because our cattle grow on less feed. We select genetics that are proven to do well in terms of efficiency and growth.
One simple thing we’ve done is to discontinue the use of Amdro to kill ants because it effects horned toads. They are a threatened species, but we frequently see them on our land. We are careful with the chemicals we use.
We also follow a gentle animal handling philosophy. You won’t find a hotshot on our place. We use feed to train our animals to go where we need them to with low stress.
Time with family. In the good times we get to watch our kids and grandkids show. In the tough times, like calving on the coldest night of the year, we get to work together.
Well, if there’s a local board or committee one of us is probably on it or has served on it. Debbie works very closely with our church on projects such as VBS, feeding kids meals and the angel tree outreach. Debbie is also active with the Junior Angus Association here in Oklahoma, helping kids compete in programs at the national level. Nocona serves on the Cloud Chief fire department as an EMT, sits on the school board and the county fire chief’s association. He was also appointed to the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture this year. Jordan sets on the board for Oklahoma Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers, the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association and the Oklahoma Beef Council.
Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers.