Swift success, enduring legacy Bakers grow quickly from humble beginnings and continue Angus legacy
Published on Jan. 18, 2020
Similar to many cattle operations, Bakers LEMAR Angus comes from humble beginnings. In fact, when Leo and Marilyn Baker started the operation in 1951 near Ada, Minn. they owned a mere 13 registered Angus heifers.
The first year, all 13 heifers had bull calves, which was not quite the way Leo planned to start raising registered Black Angus cattle.
Despite their bumpy start, Bakers LEMAR Angus has grown into a very well-respected, successful operation.
A foot in the door
In the early years, Leo worked for Ken McGregor at Glencarnock Farms in northern Minnesota on a registered Angus ranch. McGregor imported a large number of Angus cattle from Scotland in the 1940s and 1950s, and Leo helped him show cattle at numerous county and state fairs.
During this time, Leo fell deeply in love with the Black Angus breed.
“Leo told his son, Mike, working with the McGregor family helped him get his foot in the door because they helped him sell cattle to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and J.C. Penney, to name a few,” says Mike’s wife, Sandra. “Leo said, ‘Not many people can say their cattle overlook Gettysburg Battlefield and were owned by a WWII General and President of the United States.’”
The success of the Bakers LEMAR Angus operation continues.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Leo bought cattle from Russ Denough and LeRoy Erdmann.
On March 29, 1975, Mike discovered a calf born to a Denough cow bred to an Erdmann bull that stood about six inches above his knee. He told his dad a great calf had just been born.
As word of the giant bull calf, known as LEMAR Eileenmere Lad 549 “Skyhigh,” traveled, many from the Angus community all over the world ventured to Minnesota to see him.
Skyhigh was 63 inches tall when he was shown at the National Western Stock Show in Denver and gained high recognition from breeders around the Angus world. According to Sandra, Skyhigh became an early game-changer for the Angus breed at the time.
The Bakers found more success in another one of their bulls.
“We were fortunate to stumble on another bull from Alta Genetics,” explains Sandra. “Bruce Gordon was a representative for Alta at the time, and Alta owed us some money, so Bruce gave Leo and Mike a choice of four or five bulls to choose from.”
She continues, “After studying pedigrees, Mike asked about one of the choices, and Bruce said the semen wouldn’t freeze so they were going to cut off his head.”
“Leo and Mike chose that one, put him with 35 cows and the bull bred 34 of the 35. This is how we acquired SAV Final Answer 0035. The rest is history,” Sandra adds.
Sandra notes SAV Final Answer was 14 years old when he died. During the years they owned him, he sold 500,000 plus straws of semen and was first in registrations at the time.
“Both LEMAR Eileenmere Lad 549 “Skyhigh” and SAV Final Answer 0035’s heads are mounted in the Angus Hall of Fame in Missouri,” Sandra states.
In 1977, to facilitate the marketing of their cattle, Leo, Marilyn and Mike purchased the ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota, just 10 miles from the Wyoming border and 20 miles from the Montana border.
“Leo passed away in 2016, and we continue where he left off – raising Black Angus cattle, the breed we love,” Sandra says. “Leo always said, ‘The best thing about an Angus cow is that it brings good people together.’”
Today, Bakers LEMAR Angus continues to be a family owned and operated ranch with a passion for Black Angus cattle.
According to their website, the Bakers LEMAR Angus cowherd is fertile, efficient and maintains the calving ease and maternal ability the Angus breed is known for.
The website also notes Bakers LEMAR Angus strives to produce Angus cattle that perform with predictability. They place an emphasis on balanced EPDs, positive performance, easy fleshing ability, good carcass traits and disposition.
The operation is also dedicated to using proven genetics that produce cattle with high performance, quality and milking ability. They are focused on selecting and producing genetics for the future.
“The aim at Bakers LEMAR Angus is to raise cattle that will perform in both purebred and commercial herds and to bring good maternal traits of fertility, longevity and calving ease with growth and carcass ability,” explains Sandra.
Annual production sale
Bakers LEMAR Angus cattle are performance tested and marketed through their annual Spring Performance Sale, which the Bakers are already looking forward to.
This year, the Bakers LEMAR Angus annual production sale will be held April 13 at 1 p.m. in their sale barn at their ranch in St. Onge, S.D.
The sale will feature bulls and commercial heifers out of Mill Bar Hickok 7242, AAR Bankroll 5016, Mohnen Intution 737, Carlson Resource 6038, Mill Bar Code Black 8554, SAV Intent 5590, AAR Frontman 6803, Mohnen Renown 2357 and KFLL Next Step 7001.
Please visit bakerlemarangus.com for more information.
Hannah Bugas is the assistant editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.