The Ranch

ABC's - the Cobb Family Tradition

Educated at Stanford as a geologist for his father's oil company, Alfred Burl jr. "Buddy" and Cecile Cobb moved to his family's ranch west of Augusta, Montana along the Rocky Mountain Front in 1952. They were absolutely new to cattle ranching, possessing the gift of ignorance with no prior traditions or prejudices to overcome. And when the price of cattle fell 50% that year, they realized they would soon go broke, unless they could somehow produce more pounds of beef within the limits of the environment in which they operated.

They purchased a 15/16 Charolais bull, "Snowball," based upon the bull's performance records, from Clint Ferris of Tie Siding, Wyoming for $900 in 1954. A friendship with M.G. "Maxy' Michaelis and later Max III and Sharon Michaelis, of Kyle, Texas and Coahuila, Mexico, brought linebred original Jean Pugibet Charolais stock, imported from France to Mexico in 1930-33, to the Cobb Ranch in Montana. Every Cobb animal traces his or her lineage back to this herd.

Buddy was trained to think analytically and methodically, and detailed records were part of his former scientific life.  A friendship with Dr. Ray Woodward of the renowned Ft. Keogh Livestock Experiment Station of Miles City, MT, originators of the famous "Line 1" Herefords, further cemented his resolve to use careful linebreeding and culling, supported by meticulous performance records, for greater progeny uniformity and consistency.  Using performance records as the basis for herd selection became part of a movement that grew into the Beef Improvement Federation. Buddy helped pioneer the founding of not only the BIF, but also the American International Charolais Association, and the Mexican and Canadian Associations as well.

John graduated from Montana State-Bozeman and U of M Law School, and Mike graduated from Univ. of Montana-Missoula.   After 24 years of continuous service in both the House and Senate of Montana's Legislature John was retired in 2009 due to term limits.  Buddy and Cecile passed away in 2002 and 2003.  Cheryl now serves as the region 1 Director on the AICA Board of Directors for the northwest states.  John and Mike and their families, all living and working on the ranch for 35-plus years, continue their tradition of producing economic, functional Charolais.  In addition to the performance data records beginning in 1956, we continue to add technological evaluations, such as ultrasound data, to aid in the ongoing selection process for our own herd replacements, continuing to raise better cattle.  Sixty-plus years of continual inherd and linebred selection is reflected in the uniformity and consistency of these cattle and their resulting progeny.  We have utilized this selection method to constantly eliminate the lower-performing animals from our breeding program while retaining the top animals for replacements.  Our EPD's for Terminal Sire Selection are among the top in the Charolais breed in the nation, all backed up with complete performance data. A link to "Inbreeding in Cattle" by Dr. Sally Northcutt and colleagues of Oklahoma State explains the practice of using this method thoughtfully:

We wish to thank renowned Charolais breeders, from Montana's own DeBruycker, Eaton, Franz, and Stipe families, to producers in such diverse environments as Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, the Dakotas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Florida, Texas, from Quebec to Alberta, and back to northern Mexico, who have either begun with or added Cobb Charolais genetics to their herds. You'll spot the "ABC" in the extended pedigrees.