The Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association named Lawler Farm of Opelika its Purebred Producer of the Year at their annual awards ceremony held in Birmingham on Feb. 24.
Farm manager Bruce Randall was there to accept the award from BCIA board member Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson and state coordinator Michelle Elmore.
“I felt pretty good,” said Randall after the awards ceremony. “It's pretty good recognition.”
According to Randall, the farm, which is nestled among the gentle topography of southern Lee County, has come a long way in the five and a half years since he has been there.
“The quality of our stock has really improved,” said Randall, a graduate of Mississippi State University. “In past bull tests we used to average in the middle to lower end. Now, we're in the top three percent.”
Recently, the farm has consigned a string of high indexing bulls at tests around the state.
“We consigned the high indexing bull at the 2005 North Alabama Bull Evaluation, and we consigned the second high indexing bull at the 2005 Auburn University Bull Test,” Randall said.
In addition to being the BCIA's top purebred producer of the year, Lawler Farm also took honors as the Alabama Angus Association's Progressive Breeder of the Year for 2005.
“It's a pretty good honor, really,” Randall noted about the farm's recent praise. “It's good to know that we're being recognized for our Angus operation.”
The site has also twice played host to the Southeast Angus Classic sale, which is put together by Angus producers around the region.
The operation, which is located 11 miles south of Opelika, consists of 750 acres, of which 650 are pasture while the remaining 100 acres are relegated to hay production.
Owner Charles Lawler has been in the cattle business for many years, however the current Angus operation began with the arrival of Randall in 1999. “The opportunity was presented here for me to build a purebred herd from the foundation up,” Randall said. “Where as other farms asked me to improve existing herds.”
According to the winning application Lawler Farm submitted to BCIA, the farm continues to strive for improvement.
In the short term the farm is looking to produce as many calves through artificial insemination as possible in order to keep more superior replacement heifers. Also, emphasis was made on bettering the middle and bottom thirds of the herd to increase uniformity.
Over the long term, the farm aspires to create the best herd possible through artificial insemination and embryo transfer.
Randall commented on the current progress of the farm. “We're doing real well in meeting our goals,” he said. “You can really see it in the physical and performance traits.”
Lawler Farm also places an emphasis on family involvement. Currently, Bob Dudley, son-in-law of Lawler, and Tillman Dudley, grandson, are involved with the farm's operation.
The Alabama BCIA is a non-profit organization seeking to promote, educate and facilitate the use of performance testing, record keeping and marketing opportunities to improve the Alabama cattle industry. BCIA is composed of persons, firms, partnerships, and corporations in the State of Alabama who are engaged in the production and marketing of purebred and commercial beef cattle. Formed in 1964, BCIA cooperates with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) of Auburn University under a formal agreement and is guided under a 20 member board consisting of producers, industry leaders, research personnel and extension professionals.