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Convenience for cattlemen: Ipsen Cattle Company strives for easily maintained, proven cows

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Nestled in the Bear Lake Valley, Ipsen Cattle Company (ICC) has a rich history of producing durable seedstock for a wide variety of cattlemen. Mark and Becky Ipsen, the sixth generation in the family business, raise Angus, Hereford and Black Hereford cattle near Dingle, Idaho. 

The Ipsens continuously strive to utilize reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer to raise productive and efficient cows and proven bulls for any ranching operation in any geographic location. 

Expanding the herd

Don Ipsen, Mark’s father, started Ipsen Herefords in the early 1970s. Since then, Mark and Becky have introduced new genetics to expand the registered cowherd and improve herd traits. 

“We believe genetics must be able to react, adapt and optimize during favorable weather while being able to endure, maintain and even reproduce during unfavorable weather seasons,” says Mark. 

Ipsen Herefords became Ipsen Cattle Company in 1992 when Mark decided to add Angus cattle to the operation. 

“Many of our customers were asking for black baldies,” Mark explains. “They are the most popular for a commercial cowherd and are even more sought after for recipient cows in registered programs. Now, we have a really hard time keeping any of our F1 heifers at the ranch.” 

Selection on maternal and convenience traits

 Mark shares he had a college professor at Brigham Young University who believed a strong maternal foundation was important for any cattle producer. Utilizing his advice, ICC has focused their trait selections on “convenience traits,” including maternal ability, reproductive capacity, performance and phenotypic traits such as correct structure, sound feet, adequate muscling and capacity.  

 “Some of our cows are so maternal, calves will freeze the tips of their ears and tails from being licked so often,” shares Becky.

The Ipsen’s cattle are expected to have an ample milk supply and the ability to protect calves from predators and inclement weather. 

ICC also places a high amount of performance pressure on their cows. 

In 2005, ICC moved all calving operations to the fall, when the nutritional quality of forage declines and colder weather moves in. During this time, calves are expected to still gain weight and cows must be able to maintain body condition and reproduce from lower-quality feed supplies. 

“Though our weaning weights have come down slightly from the added environmental pressure, our yearling weights have been able to maintain, and in fact, have grown in our replacement heifers,” says Mark and Becky. “Our cattle must be able to utilize a very high percentage of feed to satisfy energy gain requirements. We strongly feel this translates to added bottom line dollars for our customers.”

Hybrid vigor meets incentive programs

Mark and Becky recently decided to add registered Black Herefords to their operation to meet customer needs and increase the profitability of their cattle. 

“We want as high of a percentage of Hereford as we can get with black hides and white faces to combine the best of both the Hereford and Angus breeds, with the goal of a homozygous black and homozygous polled animal,” Mark explains. “Our customers can get the Hereford influence and hybrid vigor, all without the red discount.” 

Mark shares these animals qualify for the Certified Angus Beef program, as well as the Certified Hereford Beef program. Many of their commercial customers use the Black Hereford breed to get the Hereford genetics without the red discounts at the sale yard. 

 “We have a black, white-faced calf right now that is 90 percent Hereford. He looks typical Hereford marked, but with a black hide,” says Mark. “This breed is rising in popularity. We are getting calls from all over the United States, and we are not big breeders by any means.”  

The Ipsen Cattle Company Annual Online Production Sale will be held March 3, 2021. The sale features some of ICC’s finest fall Angus bulls and heifers, Polled Hereford and Polled Black Hereford bulls, F1 baldy heifers and registered Angus heifers. 

For more information, visit

Averi Hales is the editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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