N.D. -- October 5, 2006 -- The 2006 National Salers Tour weekend began with a luxurious dinner
cruise on the Lewis & Clark riverboat. The evening was packed full of food, fun, and a scenic tour down the same route that Lewis & Clark took in 1804 and 1806. Friday morning started off early, as participants boarded buses to start a busy day that would consist of five tour stops. The breakfast stop was the MacDonald Ranches, outside of Bismarck where Bill and Linda MacDonald and family led the tour around the ranch where Bill's grandfather homesteaded in the 1880's. Here the group was fortunate enough to see some of the herd sires, donor dams and cow-calf pairs that have influenced many of the Salers programs across the country. The MacDonald's have been very active and instrumental in the continued success of the American Salers Association as they have served as board members and on Breed Improvement Committees.
Mid-morning the tour continued on to Elm Creek Salers in Hebron, N.D. for a look at one of the most recognizable bull programs in the Salers breed and an authentic German lunch. Here the crowd was able to see some of the performance tested Salers genetics that have made Elm Creek one of the primary supplier of bulls at the Midland Bull Test.
After lunch the tour took a short break for a scenic stop at Painted Canyon Overlook which is known as one of the most magnificent views of the Badlands. After admiring the beauty of the landscape and taking several pictures, the tour continued on to Belfield, N.D. for a commercial stop at Paluck Ranch. Karl and Kayla Paluck are known for being on the cutting edge of beef cattle production technology. Their entire cowherd carries electronic ear tags and is certified through a source verification program. This combined with a highly effective vaccination program and market-topping fall calf weights has made Paluck Ranch of the most successful Salers cross breeding program's in the country.
The tour then continued on to RAO Salers in Williston, N.D. where dinner was served and three generation's of cattlemen discussed the sound, functional, productive type of cattle raised at RAO Salers. The tour ended the day in Williston, N.D. and everyone rested up for the second day filled with more quality cattle and exceptional people.
After breakfast the tour buses were boarded for the two hour trek to the Crider Ranch at Donnybrook, N.D. This was a special stop for the tour as Crider Ranch was the first ever American Salers Association Commercial Producer of the Year. Here the participants saw firsthand, some of the cattle that make Crider Ranch one of the most progressive and innovative commercial programs.
Saturday's lunch was spent in Velva, N.D. at the Effertz Key Ranch which is a third generation seedstock operation that today is operated by Roger, Kevin, Alan, and son-in-law Bryan. The Effertz Key was one of the original breeders of the American Salers. Today Effertz Key continues to be on the cutting edge of the cattle industry and runs offspring of the original American Salers. Their cattle are still at the front of the industry in terms of structural correctness, performance, and DNA testing for tenderness.
After lunch the tour continued on to Voltaire, N.D. to the Bodine Brothers Ranch where visitors were treated to refreshments and a look at the unique combination of Salers and Braunveih genetic programs. This combination has resulted in a promising foundation herd for a family rich in cattle history but fairly young in their own program.
As the tour approached its end, they stopped at the Feist Salers Ranch in Velva, where the group was treated to a look at another one of the foundation American Salers herds. Currently the Feist Salers Ranch is a family operation run by Neal, David, and Brad Feist, but it began in the early 1970's with a partnership on the first Salers bull imported to the United States. Today the Feist cattle are known for producing both maternal and performance adding sires that have shown and sold at various national shows and events.
The tour wrapped up with a dinner and the American Salers Junior Association Benefit Heifer Auction at the Feist Salers Ranch. The National Salers Tour Group auctioned off sold the heifer to Floyd and Dotty Fredrickson of Fredrickson Ranch, Whitehall, Mont. for an impressive $2,300. All proceeds from the heifer benefited the American Salers Junior Association. We thank everyone who participated in the 2006 National Salers Tour for helping to make it such a great success. A special thank you goes out to all the producers who allowed us to look at their cattle and talked to us about their operation. See you all again next year!