Arlen Sawyer and his wife Becky are owners of A&B Cattle located seven miles south of Bassett in the north central Sandhills region of Nebraska.
The Angus roots run deep in the Sawyer family. Arlen’s grandfather, Howard Washington Sawyer, purchased his first Angus cattle in 1917 and began raising registered Angus cattle in 1920. Arlen’s father, Richard James Sawyer, carried on the tradition of farming on the family homestead at Howard, S.D., and raising Angus cattle until his death in 1990. Sawyer’s Angus were recognized as a Centennial Herd in 1980. In 1987 the entire Sawyer family celebrated the farm’s centennial.
Arlen is a graduate of South Dakota State University and during his college years he was active in Block and Bridle Club, Rodeo Club, Little International and was a member of the SDSU 1974-1975 Livestock Judging Team coached by Dr. Dan Gee.
After college graduation Arlen married Becky, who had grown up on an Angus farm near Cresco, Iowa. In December 1976, they decided to move to Bassett, Neb., where he accepted the position of manager of the 700 head registered cow herd at K Plus Angus Ranch.
In 1982, Arlen and Becky purchased a small ranch in Rock County, Neb. In 1984, the Sawyers became associated with Premier Angus and Silver Plume Angus as they initiated the Profitmaker Bull program. A Premier cow herd was maintained by the Sawyers until the fall of 1990. From 1984 to 1990, Arlen and Becky purchased more ranch land in Rock County, Neb., and expanded their own cow herd. In the fall of 1990, Arlen and Becky established A&B Cattle and have conducted 22 annual bull sales since that time.
A&B Cattle was recognized as a Historic Angus herd in 1995, on the 75th anniversary of the Sawyer family continuously raising registered Angus cattle. Some of the first females Arlen and Becky purchased were from the original Sawyer Angus Farm herd. Arlen and Becky have two children, Jessica and Adam, who proudly make up the fourth generation of Sawyers in the Angus business.
The A&B breeding program puts strong emphasis on calving ease, carcass quality, feed efficiency and feedlot performance. They have a rigorous selection program in the cow herd based upon production records, and try to closely mimic the efficiency of the area’s commercial cow herds on native Sandhills forages.
A&B Cattle currently consists of 600 Angus registered and commercial cows. Over the years the Sawyers have taken advantage of many of the programs and services sponsored by the American Angus Association including Angus Source tags, the CAB Value Discovery program, the AIMS software management program, AHIR, and Maternal Plus. Their cow herd has been involved in DNA research testing conducted by the National Beef Cattle Consortium and Meat Animal Research Center for the past four years that includes research on identifying gene panels for growth and reproductive traits.
Arlen is a member of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association, and the Sandhill Cattlemen’s Association. He is a past president of the Nebraska Angus Association and the Area II Region of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Association. He has served on the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic board of directors and on the Beef Advisory Council to the Black Hills Stock Show. He and his wife Becky have served as advisors to the Nebraska Junior Angus Association.
Arlen proudly represents Nebraska on the American Angus Association board of directors where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Certified Angus Beef. He also serves on the Angus Genetics, Inc. board as well as the Breed Improvement and Industry Relations committees. ❖