Valley feed yards, Feedyard meets the needs of wide variety of customers
Bayard, Neb. – Outside of Bayard, Neb., Valley Feed Yards, Inc. has been in the feedyard business for over 20 years, custom feeding cattle for clients in western Nebraska.
“Our customer base has been built over many years,” says Dale Hansen, manager for Valley Feed Yards. “Our location, ability to market cattle and capability to raise cattle well and efficiently are all benefits here.”
A day at Valley Feed Yard
A day at Valley Feed Yards starts at 5:30 a.m. for Hansen, who reads the bunks to determine where adjustments need to be made for cattle rations.
“I look to see if the cattle are eating everything and may need more feed or if there is feed left in the bunk,” Hansen explains. “We watch close to make sure the cattle have what they need.”
Their feed regimen is developed with the help of a nutritionist, and it includes a variety of products, including distillers’ grains from the ethanol plant in Bridgeport, Neb. and sugarbeet pulp from Western Sugar in Scottsbluff, Neb.
“We have a number of options for feed additives and supplements to make a good ration,” Hansen says.
“Dr. Frank Goedekon comes from Dodge City, Kan. once a month, and we develop our feed ration to make sure it’s the best for our cattle,” he continues. “Like every feedyard, we’re careful to step the cattle up from a low ration when they come in to a fattening growing ration.”
Along with their nutritionist, Hansen says, “We also have two consulting veterinarians, Dr. Del Miles and Travis McCarty, who come here every month to look at our cattle health and talk about any concerns we have.”
Once a week, buyers come through the feedyard to look at the cattle and make purchasing decisions.
“There are a number of packing houses nearby that buy from our yard,” Joe Burford, owner of Valley Feed Yards, says.
Valley Feed Yards operates under Hansen’s guidance as manager, but they operate a crew of about nine people.
“Everyone has a job to do around here, and everyone has a valuable role,” Hansen emphasizes. “We all work together to make sure cattle are taken care of.”
Two cowboys spend their days riding pens and overseeing the cattle, keeping their eyes sharp for any animal that may need attention. The remainder of the employees work to maintain and feed cattle at the yard.
Valley Feed Yards is owned by Burford and his family and John Raftopoulos, and both families are involved in the work at the yard.
“Joe does all the marketing for the feedyard, among a number of other things,” Hansen says. “The Burford family is a great family that is committed to this yard.”
Burford and Raftopoulos also own High Plains Feed Yard in Mitchell, Neb., as well.
For Valley Feed Yards, the customers’ cattle are top of mind at all times, and Hansen explains they have many long-term customers who come back year after year.
“We take in all classes of cattle,” Hansen says. “We start taking in calves in the fall at weaning time, and we take cows and yearlings throughout the year.”
Their customers come from around the country, including as far away as California.
“We receive cattle from all over. One customer from California is a continuous customer who brings cattle every year. We have several customers in Montana, as well,” Hansen explains. “Really, we get cattle from all over the country.”
While there are trials for every feedyard, Hansen comments, “It’s a challenging business to get the cattle to perform, but it’s also really rewarding. We get to see the results of our hard work.”
Winter storms and harsh conditions mean some days are better than others, but with plentiful feed sources, Hansen adds, “Feeding cattle well, being able to see our success and being able to operate profitably for ourselves and our customers is pretty rewarding.”
As Hansen looks to the future, he sees opportunity looking forward.
“The future is promising for Valley Feed Yards,” he says. “The Burford family is in the cattle feeding industry on a large scale, and that bodes well for us. It’s very promising.”
He also notes the feedyard continues to build its customer base each year.
“We’re always looking for new ranches to work with,” Hansen says. “At the end of the day, our goal is to do an excellent job raising cattle.”
Learn more about Valley Feed Yards by calling 308-586-1688.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.