By Larry Stalcup
It is doubtful you will find much “green” equipment at Case Ranch Herefords. With a namesake that spells “red” in the farm implement world, Pete Case likes tradition. But he is quick to apply the latest in technology when it comes to his family’s seedstock operation.
Pete and Angela Case, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Tiffany and Stephen Loyd, operate Case Ranch Herefords in the Concho Valley of West Texas near El Dorado. Married since they were in college at Angelo State University in San Angelo, the two have carried on the Case family tradition of running cattle in the region since the 1880s.
“We are primarily a registered Hereford operation,” Pete says. “Our farming operation is in support of that end. Many of our bulls go to crossbreeding programs around the West Texas area. We have also done a good amount of business with ranchers in the South Texas area. There we have customers that cross our bulls with Brahman cows where F1s are popular.”
Pete works continuously to develop the quality of the registered Hereford herd. He has been a lifelong promoter of cattle production and registered Herefords. He serves on the Texas Hereford Executive Board and has also served as president and secretary for the Concho Hereford Association. When the Greater Hill Country and Concho Hereford Association merged, he was named secretary of the group.
Understanding the demands of the beef industry helps us develop the cattle that meet the aspects our customers face.
For many years he has taken large herd bulls to the Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom program in San Angelo. Kids are amazed at the size of the gentle giants. That is how Pete helped introduce the next generation to the agricultural industry.
“Our program has been active since the 1940s and ‘50s,” Pete says. “My father, Fred Case, started with Polled Herefords until the late ‘60s when we switched to horned Herefords. The move was based on the stronger demand for the horned cattle in the West Texas area.”
Over the years, the bulk of the Case bull crop has been sold through consignment. “Dad sold bulls a long time ago in the East Texas sales and here locally in San Angelo at the Concho Hereford Association sale,” Pete says. “We transitioned to horned Herefords while we were marketing at the Concho sale. We were successful there when you consider that our bull prices contributed to a strong sale average, which is a good gauge of a successful registered operation.”
After 2002, the local market was not strong enough to continue with consignment sales. The Cases looked to other areas and found a good market in South Texas. “In 2005, we found a clientele that appreciated our type of Hereford bulls,” Pete says. “We sold bulls with the Gulf Coast Hereford Association for several years in the New Industry sale in Hamlin, as well as in Sealy.
“We found a strong market for selling bulls at Beeville with the South Texas Hereford Association and really appreciated the opportunity to sell bulls there. We had a good private treaty business as well, selling 10 to 20 bulls every year from time to time here at the ranch.”
As the ranch continued to contribute to strong sale averages at those sales, it also experienced an improved efficiency factor that rendered larger calf crops due to its improved vaccines and other health management techniques.
“This drove us to consider selling bulls at the ranch at our own production sale, which has been a goal since the 1970s,” Pete explains. “To do so, we couldn’t continue to participate in consignment or private treaty sales to have the number we needed for the sale. Hopefully, we will be able to meet the private treaty requests again.”
Many bulls are sold as sires for predominantly black herds. The heterosis benefits both ends of the trade. “Customers are impressed with the frame and bone they see in our Herefords,” Pete says. “They like the fertility factor found with the breed. Gentle and easy-to-handle animals are additional benefits that our customers appreciate.”
Ambassador for agriculture
The Cases have long been involved in their community. Pete has a strong alliance with the American Farm Bureau Federation. He has been on the board of the Tom Green County Farm Bureau for 27 years, serving two years as its president.
Additional accomplishments include serving on the Texas Farm Bureau Sheep and Goat Committee (the Cases ran goats and sheep in the early 2000s), on the Project 2000 committee (a 10-year futures planning committee), and as chairman of the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Beef Committee. He has also been active on TFB’s Wildlife Committee.
At his Hickory Grove farm near Racine, J.I. developed a strong interest in his stable of racing horses. The family’s partnership with Eli Stilson of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, brought about the introduction of the name ‘Case’ to Southwest Texas.
During the 1880s, the two men went to Texas, bought rangeland and operated a cattle operation under the name of Stilson & Case. Their stock pens were located near what is now the city of Mertzon.
Shortly afterward, the Case family independently purchased 60,000 acres when Texas railroads were authorized to sell large tracts of land. One of the eventual operators was P.F. Case. His family loved to visit the Texas ranch. In the late 1930s, they moved there from Chicago and in 1941, Case Ranch entered the registered Hereford business.
One of P.F.’s sons was Frederick. After the death of P.F. in 1961, Fred continued the operation and the development of the registered Hereford herd. Fred and his wife, Laura Mae, and Pete, their son, operated the ranch until 2010. That is when Pete and his wife, Angela, took over the operation.
Angela, a former teacher, has been involved in many philanthropic projects which have included coordination of collection and distribution of money for a New England elementary school that suffered a shooting tragedy; participation in the local food bank collection; participation in numerous school festivals; and participation in regional science activities through Angelo State University.
She has always been active in ranch activities and joined Pete in promoting the Hereford breed. And when she retired from teaching in 2016, Pete bought her a shiny new Case IH 120C tractor. She uses it in farming Haygrazer for the herd.
Pete is proud to carry the “Case” name and equates the Case tradition to America’s early strength as an industrial leader. “It is an example of American know-how and achievement that has defined this country for over a century,” he says.
“The company has merged with other great companies (New Holland and International) as well, so I think our family is fortunate that our name is still associated with Case New Holland International or CNHI. All our family takes pride in our heritage.”
Famous Name is excerpted from the August 2019 issue of The Cattleman magazine. Join today to start your subscription.