By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher
The first word that comes to mind when you visit with Nextgen founders is comradery. They’re not only proud of what they’re doing, they’re proud of who they’re doing it with. Everyone gets their turn in the box when it comes to ribbing, but the undercurrent among the group is always respect and just plain joy in being part of a very competent team who’s charting a new path in the cattle community. Whether riding out to gather cattle, driving the ATV, cutting hay or entertaining guests, it’s full speed ahead with gusto.
The Nextgen crew have been life-long hunting, fishing, slow-pitch softball, golfing and outdoor buddies. However, the true partnership began when one member of the crew lost his battle with cancer. “Bryan Lindstrom was a brother, cousin and friend to our Nextgen team, and we lost him.”
It was that event that drove them to continue their paths together to do something greater. Having careers in many other fields, choosing to feed cattle and graze some yearling on grass was the beginning, one that led to a greater passion for ranch life and the Nextgen partnership.
Together, the group has a background of 65-70 years in cattle, farming, ranching and commercial seedstock knowledge, which as it turns out, are handy skills to have when managing the diverse operation they have put together. Matt Badsky, company CFO, not only drives a mean truck across the rough property but knows what number cow is in which pasture.
The whole enchilada
Nextgen Cattle Company Ranch base of operations is a 5,000-plus-acre property near Paxico, Kan., at the eastern edge of the Flint Hills. Home to their registered Charolais and Beefmaster herds, the headquarters was a busy place the day we visited, with trucks rumbling by, carrying dirt for new pens, and the ringing sound of hammers in the air as a new office is erected. Show pens are taking shape in preparation for the upcoming Flint Hills Classic Sale, Sept. 29.
Featuring rolling hills of lush green grass and deep rough canyons, the ranch also grows hay and row crops, but top of the list is the herd of Beefmaster cattle spread across the sprawling property. The choice of seedstock Beefmaster came from much deliberation about cattle breeds. Looking for maternal traits of longevity and docility, the Beefmaster breed fit well. Ranch owners thought the breed had been merging toward a terminal cross and that the cattle would hold up very well on the rough, rocky flint that makes up much of the ranch. Beefmaster cattle seem to be a good fit and, with a guaranteed buyback plan, sale buyers have a built-in purchaser for their calves.
Down the road is the Nextgen Cattle Company Heifer and Bull Development lot near Allan, Kan. Originally a backgrounding yard, the 10,000-head capacity facility is now used for dairy replacement heifers and bull development.
Over in western Kansas, the company purchased Riverbend Feedyard near Ulysses. Mark Sebranek manages both the Allan yard and a 25,000-head finishing yard. The Nextgen crew had fed cattle with Sebranek for several years and have now added his expertise to their operation.
“I really liked the direction they were heading,” Sebranek says. He is proud of the new mill, complete with stationary mixers on the property. “We were looking for efficiency and performance. The [new mill] will save about two and a half hours a day in feeding time with the change. I am enjoying the challenges and the opportunities.”
Sebranek remarks he might have been just a little lucky with the Grand Champion Heifer award Nextgen received at Beef Empire Days the week before. Could have been that he knew what he was doing.
The newest addition to the company’s portfolio is the Nextgen Chophouse in Maple Hill, down the road from the ranch. Featured in our “Where’s the Exceptional Beef?” column this issue, the company is pouring the same diligence and dedication into their latest venture that they have the rest of their operation.
From the cow-calf herd to the feedyard to the plate, Nextgen Cattle Co., is building a new beef production business model. And everyone there is having fun watching it happen.