By Audrey Hambright
Many agricultural ventures are successful because they are family operations. Huseman Ranch is no different.
Virgil Huseman of Huseman Ranch near Ellsworth, Kansas has a strong background in agriculture and Kansas State University. A native of Kanopolis, Kansas, Huseman graduated from K-State in 1967 where he competed on the livestock judging team, was a part of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and served as president of the Block and Bridle Club. After graduation, he worked as a farm reporter for WIBW Radio & TV in Topeka. He also held the position of Executive Secretary of the Feedlot Division at the Kansas Livestock Association from 1971 to 1979.
Huseman’s passion has always been in production agriculture. While living in Topeka, he and Mary Jo decided that they didn’t want their sons, Clayton and Mark, 4 and 2 at the time, to “look funny on a horse.” So, they made the decision to move home.
Along with Mark and Clayton, Huseman makes the management decisions for the operation. The ranch is mostly native grass with creek bottoms devoted to commercial alfalfa hay production. Calves are produced “all natural” and sold through video auction on Superior Livestock in July. These calves usually go to a natural supply chain such as Whole Foods. Heifer calves are retained for replacement or sold as replacement females. Emphasis is placed on maternal characteristics with moderate size and milk production.
Huseman Ranch has been rewarded for their accomplishments in the industry. In 1995, they were recognized as commercial producer of the year by the Beef Improvement Federation. They were also awarded Stockman of the Year in 2013 by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council and the KSU Block and Bridle Club in 2016. Huseman has served on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the first Long Range Plan group.
“Success is continued growth in land ownership and resources,” Huseman said.
With continued success, Huseman recognizes challenges in the industry and noted the loss of the cash fed cattle market and the lack of price discovery at the fed cattle marketing level.
Each member of the Huseman family is involved in the operation or in agriculture. Mark, who helps oversee the operations, lives on the ranch with his wife Lindsey and their two children,
Hagen and Heidi. Clayton also lives on the ranch with his wife Sharla, who works for the Kansas Beef Council, as well as their three children Tucker, Paxton and Hadley. Clayton works for the Kansas Livestock Association and helps on the weekends and holidays. Daughter Ashley and her husband Brent, live on the Judd Ranch near Pamona, Kansas with their two children, Oliver and Avery.