Craig and Stephanie formally established Steck Cattle in 2012 and began a growth strategy around the cattle enterprise that took them well beyond raising a handful of Shorthorn calves, trading a few Chianina and Maine-Anjou influenced females as well as marketing the progeny from Craig’s families herd well known in the Shorthorn breed as DJS shorthorns. Since its inception, Steck Cattle has been relentlessly focused on the production of elite females suited to excel in the show ring, go-on to become stand outs in the donor pen. Craig and Stephanie also emphasize that doing things the right way day in and day out is a priority to them and their operation. In the beginning, the operation consisted of a small but elite group of Shorthorn donor females, recipient cows and a cooperator herd network. Also during those early years Stephanie’s youngest sister was showing heavily across the Midwest and within Nebraska. With this dynamic we thought it best to show in breeds other than Shorthorns and so we added a few elite pedigree Chianina and MaineTainer females to our herd. The hope was that they would become foundation donors within their respective breeds. In 2013 Steck Cattle moved its base of operations from Omaha to its current location in rural southwest Minnesota just 45 minutes north east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the town of Woodstock. The move not only afforded Craig and Stephanie more time at home to raise their young son Keagan but also begin to build the brand that is Steck Cattle.
As the Maine, MaineTainer and Chianina females matured into cows our plan for them began to fall into place. Applying the same principles learned decades prior of studying pedigrees and sourcing elite cow families within a breed to provide more consistent and predictable results the fruits of this labor started to show in these breeds just like it had in our Shorthorn herd. The fundamental reason the black cattle breeds were added to the herd was due to the fact that our customer base in many cases were showing multiple breeds in addition to Shorthorns and our past experience of buying unproven progeny to represent those breeds had left us wanting better results. Our feeling was if we could buy proven pedigrees in these breeds, replicate success and document the consistent quality like we had in the purebred Shorthorn program our results and customer’s success would flourish. Since the introduction of our Maine-Anjou, MaineTainer and Chianina cows we have been able to raise the Grand or Reserve Grand Champion females at Denver, Junior National and the Fort Worth Stock Show.
While the black cattle program was getting off the ground we maintained a focus on the breed that got us our start. Shorthorns will always play a big role in our program and we continued to add elite breeding females to our herd continue the pursuit of raising better Shorthorn females that are stout, modern in their kind and functional.
Today Steck Cattle runs around 35 mature cows and is heavily focused on ET and AI production with about 75% of our cow herd being recipient females. Our philosophy is simple and operates on the same principles that started it, stay focused on elite, proven cow families, provide quality not quantity and replicate repeatable time tested mating’s to ensure customer success. Chances are if you have seen a female from our program at a show or in a pasture and have said “I gotta have one of those” you will get a chance to buy a full sister. Steck Cattle markets their calf crop annually through their Our Commitment sale every October. Day in and day out Craig and Stephanie have made their commitment to raise the right kind of cattle, do things the right way and work with the right people.