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Bringing a Better Steak to Texas

Linda Seaton
| Jul 28, 2014

Selective cattle breeding aided by Illumina Bovine SNP50Cattle ranching in Texas is tough. It’s hot and dry in the summer, requiring animals that can withstand the climate. For over a century, Texas cattlemen have relied on Brahman cattle, a heat- and drought-tolerant breed that certainly looks tough. Turns out its beef can be a little tough as well. That’s a problem for ranchers who want to obtain a premium price for the cattle they send to market.

Bob McClaren, owner and CEO of 44 Farms, decided to go against conventional wisdom and established a herd of Angus cattle on his ranch in Cameron, Texas. Native to Scotland, Angus have been successful in the Midwest and Northern regions of the United States, but few people thought they’d prosper in Texas.

Using selective breeding aided by Illumina BovineSNP50-based genetic tools, Bob and his team have created a thriving herd that delivers well-marbled, high-quality beef. They’ve even started a 44 Farms Angus Steaks program, receiving rave reviews for the high-quality beef they sell directly to restaurants and consumers.

The combination of genetic selection, grazing, and sound animal husbandry practices enables 44 Farms to deliver an all-natural product to consumers and high-quality cattle to commercial cattle customers. Over the last 15 years, it has become the largest Angus seed stock operation in Texas, and the fourth largest in the United States. I’d say Angus cattle are doing just fine in Texas.