It may surprise some folks to learn that the No. 1 source for miniature Hereford cattle genetics is right here in Nebraska at the KP Ranch in Burt County.
“When we started, my husband wanted to have the best bulls,” said Ali Petersen of KP Ranch. “Now they are No. 1 in the world.”
Kenny Petersen saw an article about miniature Herefords in a magazine. This inspired him to travel to Texas and purchase a bull and 10 cows.
According to The Cattle Site, the miniature Hereford has been developed over the last 30 years by selective breeding of stock that was originally imported to the U.S. from England in the early 19th Century.
A miniature Hereford averages around 42 inches in height and it weighs around 1,000 pounds. There are three categories of miniature cow. Midsize miniature cows measure from 42 to 48 inches at the hip; standard miniature cows range from 36 to 42 inches, and micro-miniature cows are all less than 36 inches in height at the hip.
At the time, the Petersens had only heard of miniature Herefords. Today, there are multiple breeds of miniature cattle, including Jersey mini-cows, miniature lowline Angus and even miniature Texas longhorns.
Herefords are one of the most popular breeds of miniature cattle. This is due to the fact they retain the great traits of the Hereford, are very docile and easy to handle and provide quality beef. They are also extremely popular as 4H or FFA animals.
“Miniature Hereford beef is fabulous,” Ali said. “There is no commercial market for it. But, if you go to our website for contact info – we sell beef.”
KP Ranch has delivered cattle to every state in U.S. and some to Australia. They are currently working with a producer in EU to get him established, Ali said.
She also put out the Miniature Cattle Around the World publication for seven years. Recently, the Petersens have downsized their herd. They are now into embryonic and genetic sales.
“We have scaled back our livestock program,” Ali said. “Our genetics will be our new focus. Last year, we sired the grand champion.”
At this time, KP Ranch is developing a website for marketing cattle for other producers. They have a cattle sale, but the future is assisting others marketing genetics.
KP Ranch is also home to the couple’s miniature Aussie stock dog breeding operation. They are part of the American Stockdog Registry.
“It’s been a tremendous life. We’ve met a lot of awesome people and traveled all over,” Ali said. “Now, we will help other people build their dreams. It’s all about people helping people.”
Jon Burleson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.