To produce superior genetics, the cattle at Trauernicht Simmentals are each raised as stars with finesse — those two descriptions are actually the names of two premier cows on the Trauernicht family ranch in Wymore, Nebraska.

“Besides Star and Finesse, another donor that stands out for me is Ginger, and our prolific donor, 177G,” said Loren Trauernicht, owner of Trauernicht Simmentals.

As a longtime breeder — and possibly one of the longest running in Nebraska and in the United States — Loren and his wife, Maxine, said they are proud to breed functional cattle using multi-trait selection.

“Our cattle are bred for performance, calving ease, maternal traits, fertility and have a tremendous set of expected progeny differences backing them,” Trauernicht said. “They are big spread cattle. Forty-seven years of dedicated breeding has molded our motto, ‘Performance cattle with a touch of style.’”

Expected progeny differences — or EPDs — is data about genetic traits used by breeders in order to advance their beef-cattle programs. About 95 percent of the Trauernicht herd is artificially inseminated.

“We put in approximately 130 embryos each year, and purchase some of the embryos to try out new genetics,” Trauernicht said. “But many of the embryos we utilize are our own genetics. Additionally we offer a select bunch of embryos for sale throughout the year at auction, online and through private treaty.”

In addition to being chosen Nebraska Simmental Breeder of the Year several years ago as well as winning Reserve Champion Bull at the Iowa State Fair, a notable success for Trauernicht has been watching the life and times of a Star x Executive Order embryo they sold become OBCC CMFM Deplorabull D148, which sold for $120,000.

Trauernicht’s prize genetics will be part of the farm’s 44th annual Bull Sale, to be held Feb. 17, with sales of the LHT brand — the Loren Harold Trauernicht brand.

“We added a female sale to the lineup, which takes place in December,” he said.

The Trauernicht clan all share the love for Simmentals; it’s a family business.

“Alongside my wife, Maxine, and me, my son, Scott, his wife, and children are on the farm,” Loren said. “Their goal is to take the LHT brand to the next level.”

His daughter, Cindy Miller, and her family in Ashland, Nebraska, also stay involved in the business. It all started with caring guidance from a dear friend — Loren’s mentoring partnership with Dr. Melvin U. Pettit, known as “Doc.”

“Doc helped me get started in this business,” Trauernicht said. “I rode with him for 15-plus years doing veterinary work. He shared so much knowledge. Doc frequently told me, ‘Either you’re all in, or you’re out.’”

To express thanks to their customers, each September the ranch hosts a customer appreciation field day, bringing in experts to share information they feel will be beneficial to their customers’ operations.

Vital to the program is taking special care of the cattle that work for them. They meet with experts regarding herd management, a nutritionist to keep up-to-date concerning rations and feeding, and their veterinarian to cover all the necessary vaccinations.

“As for exercise, our cattle are raised in a commercial environment so they are ready to go to work for our customers,” Trauernicht said. “The bulls are put in 20-acre paddocks in order to keep them in good shape for breeding season.”

Trauernicht started out raising chickens, and didn’t expect his focus to turn to cattle. It wasn’t until a college roommate was killed in an accident that his perspective on life changed.

“I realized life was too short not to follow my dreams,” he said. “I grew up immersed in agriculture and wanted to carry on the family tradition. After I quit college and got the opportunity to work with Doc Pettit, things fell into place to cultivate my love of cattle.”

Looking back on the pivotal moments he experienced while working with “Doc,” Trauernicht said, “I guess you could say it was an opportunity of a lifetime!”

Amy Hadachek writes for the Midwest Messenger, which is a sister publication of Agri-View. Email amy.hadachek@midwestmessenger.com to reach her.