MANNING, Iowa — Chance and Shayne Wiese represent the fifth generation of their family to farm in the rolling hills of western Iowa.
And just like their father and grandfather, they will continue to honor the promise to raise “good doin’” Hereford cattle.
“When we were growing up, our grandfather and father always had us in the mix, but we didn’t just do the fun jobs,” Chance says. “They wanted us to learn everything.”
The Wiese family was honored with the Way We Live award at the Iowa State Fair recently.
“We very much want to thank the State Fair for this honor,” Shayne says. “We were very surprised by it.”
The family has raised purebred Hereford cattle since 1912. Today, the family operation includes Dave and Diana Wiese and their family — Chance and his wife Kelsey, and Shayne and his wife Katie.
Around 350 cows are included in the operation, using pasture in Carroll and Guthrie counties.
The operation’s primary focus is the raising and development of practical Hereford seedstock genetics through educated breeding decisions.
Chance and Shayne both went to college, and while there, they realized they wanted to go back to the farm.
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“That made us really appreciate what we had,” Shayne says. “We were fortunate that we were able to come back and be part of the operation.
Their father and grandfather, legendary cattleman Gene Wiese, made sure they understood the family’s commitment not only to their customers, but to the environment.
“We practice pretty strict rotational grazing to get the most out of our pasture,” Chance says. “We want to make sure the soil is good, and that we have good root establishment.”
The family received an Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 1997.
“We were taught to take care of the grass first,” Shayne says. “It’s fun to continue to work on that and make it even better.”
All members of the family are involved in the operation and are active in a variety of roles in hopes of bettering the Hereford industry, such as being involved in the Iowa Hereford Breeders Association, Carroll County Cattlemen Association, Iowa Beef Breeds Council, ICA Cow/Calf Committee and 4-H.
The family sells bulls throughout the year, which Shayne says helps expand their customer base and diversify some of the risk that comes with an annual sale.
“Our bulls are practical and functional for the commercial producer,” he says. “That’s what we like to specialize in doing. They work well to produce that traditional Black Baldy calf.”
Their customers provide them with valuable feedback, including carcass information.
“From inception through processing, we evaluate how our genetics are doing,” Chance says. “We want that information so we can continue to improve.”