Feed Lot

SEP-OCT 2017

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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At the recent Feeding Quality Forum, Lee Borck was honored for h is contributions to the cattle feed- i ng industry. Lee's innovative ideas and willingness to take risk paved the way for many marketing arrangements that still hold today. Growing up on the family's home- stead near Blue Rapids, Kan., Lee was mentored by a father who farmed through the Great Depression. "He was very conservative, but the best businessman I was ever around in my life. I learned a lot more from my dad than I did going to college, as much as I love K- State," Borck says. He earned his degree in ag economics in 1970 and recently served on the boards for Kansas State University Founda- tion and Kansas Bioscience Au- thority. He's also chairman and founding shareholder of American State Bank in Great Bend, Kan. Cattle feeders know Borck as current chairman of both Innova- tive Livestock Services and The Beef Marketing Group Coopera- tive, but he's also served as pres- ident of the Kansas Livestock Association and of CattleFax. His first job was as a loan officer w ith the Farm Credit System's Pro- d uction Credit Association (PCA) in Larned, Kan., before he started down the path of being a cattle feeder in that community. One thing he learned from looking over loans at PCA, however: "the mis- takes people made in the way they looked at their business plan and not thinking far enough out in front." Borck bought into Ward Feedlot at Larned in 1978. Interest would soon climb to 18% as the young feed- er built on lots of small deals and fought a 50-cent regional discount versus western Kansas. By 1988, he'd had more than enough of that and called several area feedlots with plans that became The Beef Market- ing Group (BMG)Cooperative. "Well, you could either have cap- ital or you could have coopera- tion," Borck says. "We didn't have any capital, but we decided to try to pool our cattle together. And it was the Capper-Volstead Act at its finest, negotiating price togeth- er without having restriction of trade from competitors." Excel, the Cargill forerunner, opened by paying "the cartel," as detractors called it, 50 cents a hun- dred more than the western Kansas p rice on 50,000 Holsteins in 1988. T he competition took notice. "It wasn't very popular," Borck says. "That wasn't the way that you were supposed to do business. I didn't know that. You're supposed to sell your own cattle. You aren't supposed to sell someone else's cattle. And it worked well for us." BMG members used faxes to share packer bids in 1993, and also began a marketing relationship with IBP, now Tyson, that's still in effect, getting past the controver- sies of captive supply and using others cash bids for a base. "We traded cattle every day of the week or you would sit there and argue all week long over 25 cents a hundred," Borck recalls. "And it just appeared that there was so much more benefit out of spending time figuring how to be a better cattle feeder and do what we did in a more efficient way." Part of the deal with IBP was the right to harvest data on all cattle. BMG's first 500,000 carcass and closeout records formed the foun- dation of Vet Life's Benchmark pro- gram, but BMG members keep learning from data today. "Information has been a huge part of my career," he notes. "I was- n't really a feedyard manager but I knew how to massage numbers a little bit and figure out what they said"—with the help of partners and consultants. "Anybody that tells you I did it my way and it didn't take anybody else, they're not being very truthful with you. My partners are, behind my family, the dearest thing I've got. And they deserve every bit as much cred- it as what I do for any successes." FEED•LOT congratulates Lee on a great career and was proud to be one of the honoring partners at the Feeding Quality Forum. FL 4 FEED•LOT  September/October 2017 EDITOR'S DESK 1-800-536-8438 "We can customize a system to meet your needs." ❖ Platform Scales (10 sizes/self-contained) ❖ Single Animal Weigh Cage (self-contained) ❖ Single Animal Scales (under squeeze chutes) ❖ Portable Calf Scales (3 designs for various weights) ❖ Hay Processor Scales R HONORING LEE BORCK

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