Ahead of the Herd

For Lee Reeve, owner of Reeve Cattle Company, keeping the family business alive means transitioning through changes in the cattle industry. His feedyard, south of Garden City, Kansas, sits on land homesteaded in the early part of the century by his grandfather and great uncle. “Through the years, it was several different kinds of operations,” Reeve says. “It was a ranch for years, where they raised Angus cattle. In the 1960s, when my granddad and great uncle retired, my dad inherited it and started developing it for irrigation. About the same time, he started the feedyard. At that time, we were farmer-feeders — we fed the production of the farm.”

Around 1980, the Reeves decided to build an ethanol plant. The original plant was much smaller than the one that stands today, but the feedyard was also much smaller at that time. Today, the feedyard feeds nearly 40,000 head and the plant’s capacity is about 12 million gallons. The ethanol plant provides the feedyard with a major efficiency advantage. “There really isn’t any waste product; everything is reused in the process,” Reeve says. “There’s nothing you’re disposing of in the process.”

Click on this link to read the full story of Reeve Cattle Company and the synergies they’ve created at the feedyard.