The Roundup -

Begger's Diamond V Ranch

 

January 5, 2022 | View PDF

(L-R) Back: John and Alicia Begger. Middle: Charlotte, Magdalene and Harrison Begger. Front: Gabriel Begger. (Submitted photo)

Begger's Diamond V Ranch is a family owned ranch operated by a father/son duo with second generation Bill and Darlene and 3rd generation John and Alicia, along with their children representing the 4th generation. The ranch has been in operation for over 71 years. When Bill's parents, Harry and Elaine were married, they purchased some land and struck out on their own to make a living raising wheat and cattle. As the years progressed they had nine children, four boys and five girls. Bob was the oldest followed by two daughters, and then Bill was born 4th in line, followed up by three more girls, and two sons to round out the nine. When Bob and Bill were old enough to see over the steering wheel, they soon learned the ins and outs of chores and how to drive anything with a motor, by the time they were 8 or 9 they drove tractor regularly, summer fallowing, mowing, raking, and baling hay, chores were an everyday occurrence before and after school. The kids went to a country school of 8 grades and one teacher. By the time high school came around they went to Wibaux. They could play football and basketball, but spring sports were out, that was farming season, and they were home right after school to drive tractor or do chores. As the years progressed, Bob and Bill married and brought their young wives into the picture. Bob married Virginia, and to that union three boys and one daughter. Bill married Darlene and they added four sons and two daughters to the family tree. On March 6, 2020 on our mother's 88th birthday, Bob passed away leaving a big void on our ranch. In 1973, they began AI'ing their commercial cattle to Simmental, along with a few other continental breeds. They soon selected Simmental as their breed of choice. In the early years they decided to breed solid colored cattle, red or black. After a couple years, they did add some colored cattle as well. After just a few years they decided to disburse their red and white colored cattle putting emphasis on solid black cattle while maintaining a few exceptional red cows. In 2010, they disbursed their red cattle, focusing on homozygous black and polled cattle with little or no white on their udders, feet, or legs. In the early years the black cattle always brought a premium, but there just was not a genetic base to advance, so Begger's Diamond V Ranch along with 10 to 15 other Simmental breeders pioneered the Black Simmental gene pool. At first most other breeders thought it was a fad, today solid black and red Simmental make up the majority of the breed. As years went on, Bill became very involved with the Simmental breed serving 12 years on the Montana Simmental Association, four as president. In 1999, Bill was elected to the American Simmental Association serving two terms or six years on the board. Today Bill's son John serves on the Montana Board. While serving on the ASA Board many changes came about, the introduction of total herd enrollment. The API and TI indexes were likewise introduced, the beginning of DNA use, along with carcass merit programs. With the right board of directors and our exceptional executive Vice President, the Simmental breed began to focus on what was needed to make Simmental Cattle more acceptable. In 2000, the Simmental Association held a big informational meeting in Lincoln, NE, called Focus 2000. The next three days were loaded with speakers from across the industry, feeders, packers, University personnel, and veterinarians all gave their opinions on what the Simmental breed needed to do to survive, not all observations were positive for the breed. They flat out told us what our problems and perception was and what needed to be done. As a breed the membership listened, we adjusted, and 21 years later the Simmental breed is very well accepted and is leader in across breed EPDs, carcass merit testing, and research along with commercial cowmen's feeders and packers acceptance. The Simmental Association leads the way in Jr. Programs and offers a very positive Jr. Program that gives thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. Today at Begger's Diamond V Ranch they are very focused on what will make their customers profitable. Thus their motto "The cow/calf man comes first". They understand that if their customer is not profitable or happy, nothing else matters. At Begger's Diamond V Ranch they know that EPDs are a very important part of the puzzle, but they also understand it is the one and only piece of what it takes to design a cow that is acceptable in this industry. They know a cow has to be easy keeping, eye pleasing, and efficient. She must raise a big calf at weaning without a lot of extra inputs. She should be fertile, breed back year after year, and have a disposition that is acceptable to the industry. Her udder must be problem free, and her feet and legs must serve her until she exits the program at a ripe old age. Bill and John know and understand their cattle, they don't make excuses or give second chances, and if a cow fails she is gone. Their belief is every cow must pull her own weight, it does not matter who her dam or sire is, or what they should or could have done, if she falters, she is gone. The same goes to their attention to herd sires and bull calf prospects, only the elite are offered. They feel if they would not use them in their program, why should their customers. They also know that there will be some problems at times, when there is, they will stand behind their cattle. The Beggers feel that their program offers the best when it comes to solid black, homozygous black, and homozygous polled Simmental, Sim-Angus and Angus cattle. After all, they have spent a lifetime developing them long before most Simmental breeders even considered the change. On Feb 2, they will host their 45th production sale at the ranch south of Wibaux, MT. They will sell 160 bulls, all carrying the best genetics and guarantee the industry offers. Bill wraps up by stating, as a breeder of Beef, our goal is to offer genetics that provides a consistently tender, flavorful, well marbled enjoyable eating experience to the consumer that lives in town and may not even know what it takes to produce that great eating experience they had for dinner.

 

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