The Jorgensen operation began in 1909 when Martin Jorgensen, Sr. and his wife Gertrude homesteaded land near Ideal, South Dakota.
Nearly 50 years later, his son Martin Jorgensen Jr. adopted the pioneering beef cattle performance breeding concepts of the late Dr. Jay Lush (Iowa State University). By the 1960s, the Jorgensen’s performance-based, line-breeding program had established their herd as “the source” for performance beef cattle genetics in the U.S. Today, the 3rd- and 4th-generations of the Jorgensen family continue the legacy of innovation through farming and cattle operations. We remain at the forefront of performance measurement, genetic analysis, and conservation. As a result, cattlemen, farmers, and hunters continue to look to “the source.”
Vision. Determination. Discipline. Generations.
All four of those things are required to make genetic progress. You will find all four at Jorgensen Land & Cattle.
A PIONEER AND A VISION
Martin F. Jorgensen, Jr. was a pioneer. He once told an interviewer, “I’ve never liked tradition for tradition’s sake, nor have I feared new approaches.” Martin was always searching for a better way to do things and was not afraid to swim upstream if he was convinced that was what needed to be done.
Always analytical, Martin’s own analysis of his own commercial cattle operation in the 50s was that he had been doing things the way most ranchers did — producing good but average cows that produced good but average calves, and “average” wasn’t good enough for Martin. Since he couldn’t find the kind of bulls that would do what he wanted bulls to do, he decided to make bulls that would improve commercial cattle herds. He bought some good registered cows, found the leading geneticists who understood what needed to change, and determined to produce the kind of bulls he had wanted to use in his own commercial herd!
The Jorgensens were among the early adopters of the livestock breeding concepts pioneered by Dr. Jay Lush, who is considered to be the father of the science of animal breeding. Dr. Lush (Iowa State University) advocated breeding livestock based on quantitative information rather than by subjective appearance. This fit with Martin’s pursuit of improvement and he began to work closely with four of the leading cattle geneticists of the day: three former students of Dr. Lush and Dr. Ray Woodward who had helped develop the Line 1 Herefords at the Fort Keogh Research Station in Montana.
With the help of Dr. Woodward (ABS & Ft. Keough geneticist) and Dr. Dinkel (SDSU geneticist), Martin transformed his vision into a breeding program. First, he used Skylandmere 2058, Rito N Bar, and “Algoma 48” to build a solid, foundation cow herd.
For over 100 years, four-generations of the Jorgensen family have sought to improve their land, their cattle, their crop genetics, and the lives of their family, as well as the families near them. Meet the team that is carrying on the Jorgensen legacy of innovation, excellence, and family.
Over the past 100 years, we’ve grown from a family homestead to an operation known nationwide for its superior Angus herd, excellent certified seed, being a leader in soil health, and prime pheasant hunting. But don’t let our 12,000 acres fool you. We’re proud to remain a family operation rooted in a tradition of excellence and innovation.
To quote Tom Burke: “The female base was now solidly in place. … Armed with an arsenal of strong performance data, it was time for the herd to move aggressively forward.”
“Martin Jorgensen found exactly what he was searching for in RR Rito 707. “Rito 707” had dominated the 1968 PIC bull test at Stanford, MT. He earned an individual Weaning ratio of 118, an individual Yearling ratio of 123, and he was the top gaining bull on test, with a gain ratio of 129. His first progeny-test group of steer calves recorded an average gain ratio of 111 and graded USDA Choice (which would qualify for CAB). Martin bought an interest in RR Rito 707 and his genetics on that great set of foundation cows created dynamite.
The first set of “Rito 707” calves out of Skylandmere 2058 daughters produced “Rito 149”. The next year a full sister to the dam of “Rito 149” produced “Rito 72.” “Rito 149” ranked in the Top 10 for annual registrations – 4 consecutive years. “Rito 72” ranked in the Top 10 for registrations – 3 consecutive years. Today, all members of the Jorgensen “Rito Sire Line” (Black Tag cattle) descend from RR Rito 707.
Two other notable bulls that continue to have a lasting impact on the Jorgensen herd were: Camilla Bandolier M 47X and Biffles Emulous 051. Both of these herd bulls were brought into the Jorgensen program as outcross performance sires.
Camilla Bandolier M 47X was introduced to the Jorgensen herd via Dr. Woodward at ABS. His 1972 born son known as “Band 234” has had a tremendous impact on the Jorgensen herd and on the Angus breed, as a whole.
“Band 105” was born in 1975; a son of “Band 234” and out of a “Rito 149” daughter. “Band 105” (Band 234 of Ideal 3163) is best known as the sire of QAS Traveler 23-4 and Tehama Bando 155, two of the leading sires in the Angus breed. Today, our Orange Tag cattle are known as the “Traveler Sire Line,” in honor of the contribution that QAS Traveler 23-4 imparts on so many Angus cattle, to this day.
“Band 116” was another son of “Band 234” though he was out of a “Rito 72” daughter. “Band 116” (Band 234 of Ideal 3191) achieved the 2nd heaviest Yearling Weight of his calf crop (Ratio 115). That trend for continued through his grandson (Eldorado 156 of Ideal) and still continues through our Yellow Tag Sire Line that we now call the “Eldorado Sire Line.”
Biffles Emulous 051 was sired by the CMS bull Emulous 178 and was a grandson of the World-record gaining CMS bull Emulous Bob of K Pride. The big contribution Emulous 051 to the Jorgensen herd was his son out of the highly productive daughter of Rito 707, known as the “087” cow. The result of that mating was Emulous Extra of Ideal and he is the source for the majority of our White Tag cattle today – known asa the “Emulous Sire Line.”
Throughout our years of breeding Angus seedstock, we have maintained that discipline of focus and selection; stacking generation after generation of rapid growth, solid reproduction records, feed efficiency, and carcass traits. We refer to that as Stacked Performance Genetics. It takes patience and a willingness to cull cattle that may excell for only one trait, but we still have our Vision and we know the value of Generations stacked on one another. We can trace our cattle back to 15-generations of Jorgensen matings.
We invite you to come to The Source for a visit and see the result of our determined, disciplined efforts. Rather than take 60 years to build that much selection, why don’t you come and buy a Jorgensen bull and see what that Stacked-Performance can do in your herd?