The Next Great Cow

JT Weber was born in 1957 in the middle of a blizzard on the family farm north of Lake Benton. JT’s father tried to get his mother to the hospital, the unplowed roads forced them to turn back and deliver JT at home. In 1990, JT and his wife, LuAnn, took over that same farm.

“I’ve always been drawn toward livestock,” JT said. “As LuAnn and I started out we wanted to specialize in beef production.”

Together they and their six children –– Jake, Elizabeth, Garret, Maria, Sara and Matthew –– run JT Weber Family Cattle Company.
The Webers use genetics to breed high quality cattle, focusing on artificial insemination and embryo transplants in their breeding practices.

“The most exciting thing about embryo transplant is you can take your best cow and instead of having 10 calves in her lifetime she can have 50 calves because these are all surrogate mothers for her,” Jake said. “You can advance your herd so fast by selecting the best cows.”

All of the kids have taken an interest in the family farm and help out. JT and his two adult sons, Jake and Garret, do much of the work on the farm. JT and Jake work full-time while Garret splits his time between a swine genetics company and the family farm.

“We work together,” JT said. “It’s been a good way to raise a family.”

J.T. shared how lucky he is to have a reliable labor force working toward the same goals to improve the big picture.

“Beef production, it just takes so much labor,” JT said. “What we do is a lot more time consuming per head, but it’s worth it to not go for quantity, but go for quality.”

Reliable help, working toward the same goals helps them achieve that quality, JT said.

The Webers recently finished building a new facility that will help them with genetics. The climate-controlled building will be used for flushing, or the removal of embryos from the cow, care for donor cows, calving and improving genetics.

“You want to work with genetics that are strong and steadfast,” JT said.

JT, Jake and Garret are always looking to improve the genetics. They look at both the phenotype and genotype of cattle.

“Phenotype is the way they look, genotype is their genetics,” JT said.

“A lot of visual appraisal,” Garret added.

They look for a good disposition and good balance in a big-footed, heavy-muscled, soft-bodied, maternal-looking cow.

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