Story by Lisa Henderson
Innovation and technology have dramatically changed cattle feeding since Warren Weibert graduated from Kansas State, and he’s implemented many new technologies at Decatur County Feed Yard during his 36 years as general manager. But, he says, personal relationships and customer service remain the key ingredients to the success of his business.
Decatur County Feed Yard, Oberlin, Kan., opened its gates in 1971 and was bought by Milton Nitsch and his son-in-law Warren Weibert in 1977. Weibert gradually expanded the feedyard to its present capacity of 40,000 head, and has developed long-standing relationships with rancher-customers in several states. His goal as a manager is to constantly improve the process of raising and feeding profitable cattle.
Recently named Kansas State’s 2013 Animal Sciences and Industry Distinguished Alumnus, Weibert attributes much of his success to the people he met while attending K-State where he earned a B.S. in Animal Sciences and Industry (ASI) in 1969. Weibert believes the ASI instructors were genuine and truly cared about him and his studies.
“I knew it was a privilege to go to college and I treated it as such. With the guidance of Miles McKee and Calvin Drake, who both encouraged me to join Farm House Fraternity, and the animal judging team, those hands-on experiences changed my life,” Weibert says.
The industry has benefitted from Weibert’s efforts with his active involvement in many organizations including past president of the Kansas Livestock Association, Cattle-Fax past president, Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board Member, Past Chairman of Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership Board, Livestock & Meat Industry Council Member and past chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
“I was challenged by my college influences to give back to the industry and through the experiences I have had with industry organizations I have seen just how close-knit the ag community really is. The people you meet at conferences and interact with in these organizations become not only good business partners, they become good friends as well.”
If he could do it all over again, Weibert says he wouldn’t change a thing. He says he is very optimistic about the future of our industry and says he would encourage current students to remain in the industry.
“I see more opportunity today than I have in the past 10 years in the food business. There hasn’t always been great profitability in the industry but food is vital, and food production will last forever, even if we have continued consolidation to fewer and larger producers. The industry is very promising,” Weibert says.