Brady Kramer, his wife and sons live in his grandfather’s original farmhouse near Farina in southern Illinois.
Here, they carry on a family tradition of raising cattle that started six generations ago.
Brady and his father Keith, as Kramer Farms, raise a herd of about 80 registered Angus cattle in Fayette County, following in the footsteps of Brady’s grandfather, Eugene.
“My dad was an Angus enthusiast for sure,” Keith Kramer said.
He started his herd in the 1960s, and in the 1970s started to travel out west to add to the Illinois genetics.
“Our cow herd contains females from 10 to 13 generations. They were bred right here on our farms,” said Brady, who has been working in the business for a decade. “We pride ourselves in our cow families. These cows have passed the test of time.”
For Brady, there was never any doubt what he’d do for a career. He enjoyed working on the farm from a very young age.
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “I am honored I can continue a family tradition.”
He and his wife, Brittney, have two young sons, Owen, 3, and newborn Hudson. The couple hopes their sons might make the same career choices for the next generation.
The Kramers keep the top tier of registered breeding stock and market other cattle.
They were able to capitalize on the demand for butcher beef during the pandemic when the typical supply chain was disrupted and people turned to local producers. They booked as much processing time as possible.
“We sold as many as we could get appointments for,” said Brady, who hopes the appreciation for locally raised food continues.
They will continue to emphasize carcass traits in their breeding choices. Showing cattle was never a priority.
“We’ve always had a performance herd,” Keith said. “Our emphasis has always been producing performance-oriented cattle that have excellent EPDs (expected progeny differences) and carcass quality.”
Keith is a strong believer in getting DNA tests to increase the accuracy of the information.
“Blood work increases accuracy of information for buyers,” he said.
With all their genetic documents and other testing requirements ready, the Kramers will next put some of their best bulls up for auction Feb. 25 at the Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale near Macomb.
When those bulls enter the ring at the Illinois Beef Expo event, they represent the work of generations.