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Oklahoma Table: Forefathers' beef for Father's Day

Today, Oklahoma's Holder Brothers raise top quality beef thanks to Holder Brothers of yesterday, writes Oklahoma columnist Sherrel Jones.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: June 13, 2012

Father's Day takes on a special meaning when it comes to Oklahoma's own Holder Brothers Beef. Rick and Mark Holder grew up following their dad's belief about raising cattle and doing just about everything else: “If you really want something good, you have to build it yourself from scratch. If you want a good product, you have to do it from start to finish.”

Rick said, “We built everything on our ranch ourselves.” It is apparent in the operation of Holder Brothers Beef. “We like to control the quality of our product by doing every aspect ourselves, start to finish.”

Mark runs the ranch part of the operation, and Rick follows through with the feedlot operations, marketing and sales.

Carefully tended timing is what makes this beef unique: Through a tried and true system of herd monitoring, they determine the perfect time for harvesting each head of cattle.

Every animal to be harvested has an embedded chip enabling it to be monitored as its front feet step on a pad in front of the watering trough. This detailed information is recorded, allowing the Holders to monitor every aspect of their herd's growth and development.

The Holder brothers raise their Angus cattle on native and improved grassland at their ranch southwest of Altus. Their families live on the ranch and provide all the management and care of their cattle. Mark and Rick's great-grandfather James Daniel Holder and his brother Newt Holder settled on the land in 1898 and operated then as the Holder Brothers. The ranch is now managed and owned by the fourth and fifth generations.

Those fifth-generation Holders are expanding on the work of their fathers and those who came before. Mark's daughter Haley and son Harrison have worked to establish a fine line of prizewinning heifers that help perpetuate the herd. Rick's son Tyler runs the Altus retail store. His son Tanner has established a private hunting lodge called Rio Rojo Outfitters, offering top-notch wild game experiences and lodging.

“He's our resident wildlife manager,” Rick joked.

Having majored in agricultural economics, Mark and Rick have put their degrees to work in different aspects of the beef industry. They have spent their entire lives building on the brand established by the generations that came before them. They believe in putting the quality of their beef ahead of profit, incurring about $300 per head expense to eliminate growth hormones and antibiotics in raising their cattle. Animals requiring antibiotics are eliminated from the herd.

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