A family of entrepreneurs: Reisig Agency and Reisig Cattle keep a family in business together
Through multiple family businesses, the Reisig family works to protect other agricultural producers and raise quality Angus cattle.
“In 1988 my dad started Reisig Agency, which started out as mainly crop insurance,” says Dustin Reisig. “He has expanded from insuring crops in just Montana to insuring crops in Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota also.”
Dustin’s father David and his younger brother Scott also work in the business and are based in Hardin, Mont. Dustin, who joined the operation in 1996, owns and operates the Reisig Agency branch office in Lewistown, Mont.
Since 1988, Reisig Agency has expanded to include farm and ranch, home, auto and business insurance. The insurance business was good, so in 2007, Dustin explains the family decided as a whole to branch out into the registered Angus cattle industry, creating Reisig Cattle.
Adding registered Angus cows
Since Dustin was a kid, the Reisig family ran commercial cattle. Dustin had been raising registered Angus for about four years before Reisig Cattle entered the scene.
While going to school in Oklahoma, Dustin made many contacts with Angus producers in the state. These contacts were key to finding the right genetics to influence the herd Reisig Cattle wanted to have.
“In 2010, we bought Buford Elba 9000, and she is our main cow,” Dustin explains. “We built our fall-calving herd from four of her daughters. The Elba cow family has had a huge influence.”
Since then, the Reisigs have rolled all of their spring-calving cows into a fall-calving herd. The Big Horn Donor Facility in Hardin, Mont. helped facilitate the transition through a lot of embryo work.
Reisig Cattle has also utilized superior genetics in their cowherd through a cow called Buford Eriskay – a daughter of N Bar Emulation EXT.
“The main cowherd is based off those two cows,” says Dustin. “Although, we have also added some new cow families since then.”
Most cattle don’t see feed other than grass or hay and are never fed silage, shares Dustin. Thanks to moving to a fall-calving herd, calves are weaned in April and are almost on grass by the time they come off of the cow.
Calves might go on feed for 30 days while waiting for green grass, Dustin notes, but once the grass comes, the bull and heifer calves stay on pasture until January or about three months before the sale.
The bulls are fed an amino gain pellet, which was originally formulated for Reisig Cattle and is now bagged and produced for commercial sales.
“We develop our cattle either in Lewistown at my place or at dad’s place. They aren’t at a feed bunk, and they never go to a feedlot for development,” he says.
This also gives the family a chance to see them every day.
“We slow-grow them, and we don’t like pushing them,” Dustin adds.
Selection and success
“My philosophy is if the cattle look good, they eat good and they finish good,” shares Dustin on his selection mentality. “I don’t select bulls solely based on carcass traits. I also select them phenotypically. Bulls have got to look good. They seem to do better this way.”
Dustin notes Reisig Cattle focuses on meat, muscle, feet and legs and testicles, genomically and phenotypically, in their bull selection.
“We are starting to get some carcass data from producers who exclusively purchase our bulls,” he says. “A friend of mine who retains ownership of his calves went from a 40 percent Certified Angus Beef (CAB) to 83 percent CAB using our genetics.”
The Reisigs are also starting to move into pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) testing bulls to continue meeting customer demand.
“A couple years ago we bought a bull called Bobcat Gus, and he has a really good PAP score. His first sons will sell this year, and we look forward to a big group of them in 2022,” Dustin notes.
“We are really proud to have customers come back and say the feeders like their calves. The quality of cattle are good, and we are just trying to raise bulls for commercial producers to better their herds on both females and on the steer side,” he continues.
Reisig Cattle will hold their 11th Annual Bull and Female Sale on April 3 at the ranch in Hardin.
For more information, visit ReisigCattle.com.
Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.