The Moser family just after their 25th bull sale. Back row (l to r): Cameron Moser, Rex Michaelis, Tate & Tucker Michaelis, Lisa, Harry, and Ty Josefiak. Front row (l to r): Carrie Moser holding Thane, Kendra Michaelis holding Tenley, Kayla Josefiak holding Nora.
Harry & Lisa Moser
By Audrey Hambright
Harry and Lisa Moser of Moser Ranch near Wheaton, Kansas, have made an excellent team. From performing all aspects of physical labor around the ranch, to making management and business decisions, their approach has helped create a thriving, family-run operation.
Harry, born and raised in North Dakota, was attending a Block & Bridle Conference in Fargo as an animal science student from North Dakota State University, where he met Lisa, an animal science student from Kansas State University. Both were raised on diversified agriculture operations engraining in each of them a love for beef cattle, leading them to pursue common educational endeavors and eventually getting married in 1982.
The Moser’s started their journey together working on Harry’s parents’ operation before they were presented with an opportunity to manage a ranch in Kansas, four years later. The move allowed them to bring their own cow herd with them, giving them the chance to continue to build their genetic lines. Eight years later, they set out on their own and moved north of Wheaton to establish their own operation.
The Moser outfit shoots their own bull video each year. They have done this for every one of their 25 sales. Pictured left to right is the 2016 video crew: Neighbor Tim Murray on “Diesel,” son-in-law Rex Michaelis, friends Kelly Miller and his son Taegen, brother-in-law and part-time help Les Holthaus, Harry and grandsons Tate and Tucker on “Mav.” Lisa is behind the camera lens.
Since striking out on their own and continuing to pursue avenues in the purebred seedstock business, Moser Ranch has come to sit on a solid, 35-year foundation. The ranch herd is comprised of Simmental, Angus and SimAngus genetics. Last November, they held their 25th annual bull sale. The largest portion of their customer base, which numbers 375, is within 200 miles, but they have sold cattle across the U.S. and Canada. Their product is very commercially oriented, according to the Mosers, with 99 percent of their bulls sold to the commercial cow-calf man.
Their customer’s success and loyalty is how Moser Ranch defines their own success. Each year, 85 percent of their bulls are sold to repeat buyers.
“By the customers coming back, we feel like we’re raising the right product,” Lisa said.
However, not only providing the right product has increased return buyers, but their level of customer service. Follow-up visits, customer suppers and meetings as well as creating a market for their bull buyer’s products, are just a few of the way they have built customer loyalty.
“If we can add value, they see a reason to buy breeding stock from us,” Harry said.
The lifestyle can be challenging, but ultimately they find it to be the biggest reward for their family.
“It’s a great way to raise kids,” Lisa said. “It teaches them responsibility and a love for the land.”
“It’s a great way of life,” Harry added.
Since their first year of marriage, they’ve set targets and have been detailed in their decision making, carefully considering new opportunities. Each major decision that has been made on the ranch included a list of pros and cons to evaluate whether that opportunity was in best interest of the future of the ranch.
Harry and Lisa regularly guest speak in classes in the K-State animal science department and host livestock judging team workouts at the ranch. One piece of crucial advice they share with their senior classes is applicable to anyone.
The Moser Ranch hosted the 7th and 8th grade Science Classes from Mater Dei Junior High in Topeka, Kansas, on April 20, 2016, for a “Day on the Ranch/Farm.” They saw first-hand where and how the beef they eat is produced, they viewed the cattle and facilities, heard the story of the ranch horses and cattle dogs, climbed inside of the semi-trucks, tractors, combines and swathers, and then enjoyed a hamburger lunch with the family. The Moser Family is always proud to tell the story of American Agriculture to consumers.
“In order to be really good at any job,” Harry said. “You have to understand the industry from top to bottom and stay informed on all aspects of the business.”
To help do this, they are involved in industry organizations that both represent their interests and keep them up to date; the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) and the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF). Harry has served on the board of directors for both the KLA and the American Simmental Association (ASA) and served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ASA in 2007. Lisa is a member of the Livestock and Meat Industry Council and they continue to be active in their community.
Their teamwork and involvement in industry organizations has been rewarding for the operation in more ways than one. In 2003, they were awarded the BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year award and elected Stockman of the Year in 2012 by the K-State Block and Bridle Club.
Harry and Lisa are looking forward to a new endeavor they have recently taken on. They have been hired as consultants for a large herd in the area, advising the company on all beef production practices from genetics to nutrition to ranch management. According to Harry, it’s very “outside the box,” and they’re excited to find a new way to make better beef.