A Legacy In the Making

Published on Thu, 11/09/2023 - 3:08pm

A Legacy In the Making.

 By Maura Keller.

It’s not often you hear about a long-standing cattle ranch having been founded by a woman, but at Glasoe Angus in Wildrose, North Dakota, ranching has been a family affair since the legacy of the ranch began with Clara Glasoe, the great-grandmother to the current owner, Sydney Glasoe Caraballo.

It’s been 50 years since Sydney’s father, Art Glasoe, and uncle, Lance Glasoe, purchased registered Black Angus cows in 1973, after the tradition of their parents who raised both dairy and beef cattle.

As Sydney explains, Clara Glasoe left her family’s farm in Minnesota and homesteaded in Divide County, North Dakota, at the turn of the century. Her brothers remained in Minnesota and kept the land and inheritance, but Clara’s father journeyed with her and several of her sisters to farm in northwestern North Dakota. Clara homesteaded and then bought land and cattle for nearly a decade before she married.

“Family memories of her often speak to her fortitude and grit and abiding love of her land and cattle,” Sydney says. “Clara’s cattle were a critical and beloved component of the family’s livelihood. They provided sustenance and income during the Dust Bowl. The cattle saved her and the farm.”

Clare believed diversification – both farming and ranching – reduced financial risk while optimizing productivity and successful management of both her land and livestock.

“My great-grandmother’s legacy is stewardship, relationship and connection. She cared deeply and daily about her herd, the livestock’s well-being and each animal’s performance,” Sydney says. That same tenacity for exceptionally produced and managed cattle rings true at Glasoe Angus today. Each ensuing generation has worked diligently to build a herd with profit and performance in mind.

Her father and uncle preferred to market Black Angus for their sheer profitability by the pound and carcass merit. But it was their Black Angus dams’ superior mothering ability, steadfast fertility and legacy of maternal strength that ensured the herd’s continued success with each generation of cattle.

A Cut Above
Today, Sydney strives for exceptional breeding, mothering and performance throughout her herd, but the cattle collectively exemplify a unique docility not found in many other Black Angus herds.

Before Sydney returned to manage the herd, she recalls two influential sires her father utilized years ago to breed their heifers: S A F Connection and his son, Sydgen C C & 7. “Their progeny were incredibly docile,” Sydney says. “We saw anecdotally that those docile calves adjusted quickly to each new situation and environment and therefore gained well at every stage. Docility is one trait that will always be important to us, and it is a trait our customers appreciate more and more.”

It’s evident that Glasoe Angus has been carefully developed for the past five decades, especially when considering the herd’s notable maternal longevity, which requires constant fertility, long-term function and mothering ability from the first calf to the tenth and more that dam raises. Every female within the herd was born and bred at the ranch and is backed by decades of careful observation, record keeping, data and ever-increasing demands on her. Sydney, like many of her commercial customers, values those dams that exhibit a long and distinguished career of production.

Two influential dams born in 2007 that Sydney purchased upon returning to the ranch were G A Colossal Anne 7120 and G A Minabelle 709. She retained them and their progeny to build the herd. Sydney later selected those matriarchs for donor service after implementing an embryo program.

G A Minabelle 709 is still being flushed at Heart River Genetics in Belfield, ND, as a coming seventeen-year-old Pathfinder. G A Colossal Anne 7120, who earned the American Angus Association’s Pathfinder award every year of eligibility to the tenth calf she raised, died on Christmas Eve last year after many successful flushes. “Our donors are typically ten years old or more when they leave natural service,” Sydney says. “I’m not chasing flashy potential but rather proven performance that attests to the maternal reputation of Black Angus and our herd.”

Sydney takes a first-hand approach to managing all facets of the Glasoe Angus herd – from witnessing nearly every birth on the ranch to careful documentation of how well each first-time mother responds and her calf’s corresponding vigor. “Nature and genetics are certainly critical components of a calf’s future performance, but nurture and what that dam teaches her calf also weigh heavily in long-term success,” Sydney says.

Glasoe Angus registers every calf born and provides corresponding 205-day weights to the association. Recipient dams are selected from their herd to mother ET calves. Sydney and her team also heavily utilize Glasoe Angus sires in natural service to test their genetics and performance against top AI sires.

“Some of our customers prefer to buy the G A prefix on the top and bottom for their sire lineup. They trust the ability of that Glasoe Angus pedigree to thrive in this environment,” Sydney says.

Top-Notch Genetics
With such strong pedigrees, it’s not surprising that the genetics of Glasoe Angus are sought after by cattle industry professionals. Their bred heifer, G A Minnabelle 117 and ET daughter of G A Minabelle 709, topped the Bred Heifer category at last year’s North Dakota Select Angus Sale.

Glasoe Angus strives for maternal excellence with every dam on the ranch. Mothering ability is carefully observed, along with phenotype function in regard to hoof, udder, rib, capacity and fleshing ability. The ranch also performs genetic testing on every animal born as another tool to protect and promote longevity and production performance. Several years ago, the ranch implemented Angus GS testing with each generation of calves; calves are parent-verified and tested for production, management, maternal and carcass traits with a genomic percent rank backing the EPD profile.

“The testing is an important benefit for us, as well as our customers,” Sydney says. “Commercial producers deserve to purchase breed stock with genetic data that assists them in their desired trait selections. Not all registered purebred producers offer genomics on their sale cattle, but we should.”

Glasoe Angus doesn’t chase one particular group of traits but considers all EPDs for a complete animal. “We sell by the pound, and that beef on the plate needs to have great texture and flavor. But maternal traits carry the breed forward,” Sydney explains.

In addition to selecting Glasoe Angus dams for the ranch’s embryo program, Sydney has also utilized G A Regard 633 as a sire for some of their embryos. As she explains, Regard is a coming eight-year-old bull with outstanding phenotype and a pedigree that goes back to S A V Blackcap May 4136, Rito 707 of Ideal and herd matriarch and donor G A Colossal Anne 7120, a Woodhill Foresight daughter.

“Regard is a testament to how longevity and structural integrity matter,” says Sydney of the bull, who sired several top-performing bull calves at their 2023 sale and bred cows in the pasture this summer.

Notable Sales
The ranch has a long-standing tradition of selling male offerings like Regard; the annual female sale that Sydney established seven years ago is December 14th at 1 p.m. at Sitting Bull Auction in Williston, ND, with DVAuction online. Her website, GlasoeAngus.com, posts the digital catalog, as well as links to lot videos.

The ranch has been fortunate to sell every lot each year, with sale averages doubling since their inaugural female sale. They have also added commercial open and bred heifers into the lineup from consigners who utilize Glasoe Angus genetics in their programs. Sydney implemented the female sale after listening to her customer’s needs and their wishes for a female offering of Glasoe Angus pedigrees.

“I employed strict selection standards,” says Sydney, who reduced the herd’s numbers by 30 percent when she returned. “I really wanted to push the herd’s maternal performance. Once that goal was accomplished, we felt that we could offer quality females to our commercial and purebred customers.”

Purebred producers have also invested in Glasoe Angus females – from as far as Georgia. The sale annually features a bred heifer and replacement dam with donor potential to which Glasoe Angus reserves the right to a flush. “We will feature genetics hailing from several of our esteemed donors at the December female sale this year and will be adding registered open heifers with Glasoe Angus pedigree, as well as Glasoe Angus embryo offerings, to the lineup,” Sydney says.

As the ranch celebrates fifty years of Glasoe Angus, Sydney’s goal is to breed and raise Glasoe Angus dams that will continue to contribute to the breed and improve performance, pedigree and phenotype fifty years from now. “It’s a privilege and lifelong joy to raise Black Angus cattle,” Sydney says. “I hope many years from now I’m still visiting the pastures with our cow and calf pairs, surrounded by an ocean of prairie and sky, and the knowledge that we are doing our part to feed the world.”