This national award is presented annually to a producer to recognize their dedication to improving the beef industry at the commercial level. 

W&S Ranch Inc. is a registered Angus and commercial ranch located in Smith Center, Kansas. After serving in the Korean War, Richard Weltmer and his wife, Avis (Sprague), put down roots southeast of Smith Center, Kansas, and founded Richard Weltmer Farms. They registered the W over S brand to represent Weltmer and Sprague and eventually Weltmer & Sons. By 1977, both of their sons, Kenton and Mike, had returned to the ranch full time. In 1978, the operation’s name transitioned to W&S Ranch Inc. Philip, Richard’s grandson, and his wife, Jessica, returned to the ranch full time in 2003. 

W&S Ranch encompasses more than 6,000 acres of owned and leased land on which the Weltmer family runs a commercial cow herd, a small, registered Angus herd, a feedyard and a farming operation, where they raise corn, soybeans and wheat. The commercial and registered cow herds consist of a total of 180 cows. All females are bred through artificial insemination (A.I.) using Angus or Sim-Angus genetics and are followed with Angus cleanup bulls raised by the Weltmers. Cows calve between Jan. 20 and March 1. A.I. and a tight calving window allow calves to be finished in the family’s feedyard as a more uniform cohort, processed at 13 and a half months of age. 

The cows rotationally graze on native and summer grasses from April 15 to Oct. 1, then are placed on cornstalks. They have access to native grass during calving season and are provided supplemental feed from mid-January until breeding. W&S Ranch places an emphasis on improved genetics and profit-proven outcomes. With an openness to change, all segments of the business are continually evaluated to improve efficiency and effectiveness to maintain a viable operation for generations to come. W&S Ranch Inc. was nominated by the Kansas Livestock Association. 

More than 400 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended the organization’s 53rd Annual Research Symposium and Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, and another 250 registered to participate online. BIF’s mission is to help improve the industry by promoting greater acceptance of beef cattle performance evaluation.


For more information about this year’s symposium, including additional award winners and coverage of meeting and tours, visit the Beef Improvement Federation website.  end mark

—From a Beef Improvement Federation news release

PHOTO: W&S Ranch, Smith Center, Kansas, was named the 2021 Beef Improvement Federation Commercial Producer of the Year during an awards ceremony June 23 in Des Moines, Iowa. The award is sponsored by Drovers. Pictured (from left to right) are Philip, Kaylee and Jessica Weltmer of W&S Ranch and Joe Mushrush, 2020-21 BIF president. Photo courtesy of the Beef Improvement Federation.