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Magnum Feedyard Earns Certified Angus Beef Award

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

A sign in Steve Gabel’s office says, “Three yards a down.” It’s a football recipe for steady progress based on every little bit of work and attention to detail. 

The sights and sounds at a feedyard are predictable, but one doesn’t expect to find such pristine facilities and people who care about every aspect of the cattle feeding business – it’s all there at Magnum Feedyard just outside of Wiggins, Colo. 

For their drive to effectively hit the high-quality beef target and determination to get better every day, Magnum Feedyard received the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) 2023 Feedyard Commitment to Excellence Award. 

The Gabels were recognized at CAB’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas in September. 

“The world is run by people who show up,” says Christie Gabel, quoting one of her dad’s sayings and life lessons. “It’s a good daily motto to get up and go serve your purpose.”  

The Magnum family

Each family member conveys their own strengths to Magnum. 

Steve brings years of operations and market wisdom, while Audrey keeps the books and the people balanced. Case handles risk management and cattle procurement, while his sister Christie recently joined as the cattle clerk. 

Since 1994, Steve and Audrey have modernized the infrastructure with steel pens, concrete bunks, a corn steam flaker and a hay processor. 

Loads of multihued cattle once stepped off the trailers, filling pens with calves from Mexico or Holstein influence. Now, they actively seek Angus-based cattle of Northern origin with hopes to excel in quality grade and hit a 1,500- to 1,600-pound end weight. 

“I think the icing on the cake becomes the grid and its potential to return premiums for the right genetic package fed right,” Steve says. 

But, quality isn’t the only change realized. Better genetics also improved gains and dry-matter conversions. The report card keeps improving, with pens of cattle averaging 40 percent CAB and 10 percent Prime – a big improvement from selling on a live basis.

“If we can’t quantify how cattle are going to perform, we can’t really manage risk against it,” Case says. “With better cattle, we have more predictable performance in all aspects.” 

Doing everything


Keeping the bunks stocked is the biggest undertaking at the feedyard, closely followed by caring for herd health. Research and practice show a correlation between visits to the sick pen and ability to grade Choice, Steve points out. 

“We’re not capable of eliminating every potential bad day,” he says. “Our job as stockmen and caretakers of these animals is to do everything to make the environment as pleasant and performance-oriented as we possibly can.” 

This includes the little details like driving through the feedyard to ensure nothing is out of place, and at every sunrise, the yard office is clean for the many feet that will trek in and out of the front door, checking in at the scales. 

“The Gabels don’t do anything half-heartedly,” says Dirk Murphy, Magnum’s feedyard manager. “They would tell you a half-hearted work ethic receives half-hearted results.” 

Whether an individual is a feed truck driver, pen rider, office assistant, intern or cattle buyer, their work matters. The average Magnum employee has been around for more than nine years. 

“Everybody understands value in their role because mom and dad make people feel valued on top of just telling them they are,” Christie says. 

The office buzzes with energy from each of the Gabels, spilling out to the rest of the feedyard employees who spend the day hands-on with the cattle. 

Progress is rarely a straight trajectory up and the Gabels have seen their fair share of setbacks, but each day they bring a positive, driven attitude to get better. As responsibility continues to shift to the next generation, there’s just as much excitement and thrill to chase the moving target of success. 

Morgan Boecker is the senior producer communications manager at Certified Angus Beef. This article was originally published by CAB on Oct. 2.

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