ANDERSON LAND & LIVESTOCK, INC.
Anderson Land & Livestock is nestled at the base of the Blue Mountains near Pilot Rock, 20 miles southeast of Pendleton, Oregon. Red Anderson, started the ranch in the early ’40s. The operation ran 300 to 350 cows when Red's son, Terry, returned in 1973 after attending college and serving in the Army. According to Terry, “In those days leveraging was the name of the game and I guess I was young and a little naive. With my dad, brother and I involved in the business we were rapidly expanding to support three families. We grew the herd to 1,200 head, purchased an irrigated farm and built a feedlot. We had trucks, equipment and people running all over the country. It was an intense operation.”
After their aggressive expansion the Andersons faced the ’80s downturn with a large amount of debt, not unlike many of their friends and neighbors in agriculture. Terry says the family knew the economic picture wasn’t going to improve overnight and tough decisions had to be made.
“It looked like the farming end of the operation was going to be the least financially productive so we began selling marginal ground not attached to the home ranch,” says Terry. “My brother made the difficult decision to leave the operation to start his own construction business, Rod Anderson Construction."
But with change, comes opportunity. This downsizing allowed the Andersons to put all of their focus and energy into improving the quality of the cow herd through an intense AI breeding plan that has since provided the foundation of the 7UP Bull Program.
Creating a niche
Knowing how difficult it was to purchase herd bulls that would hold up in the rugged terrain of McKay Creek, Terry’s goal was to breed and raise bulls that would thrive in all environments, even the roughest cow country around. First introduced to the idea 35 years ago by Ron Baker, Terry chose to focus his efforts on building the ultimate composite-breeding program. After all, he didn't want these bulls to just survive in real ranching environments , but thrive while producing offspring that benefited from superior growth.
Terry’s focus and attention to detail has been the key to the success of Anderson Land & Livestock and the 7UP Bull Program. In 1989 they sold 22 bulls. By 2000, they were marketing between 200 and 250 bulls and maintaining 500 to 600 mother cows. According to Terry, “In the down cycle we learned if you want to be successful in business you'd better identify what you love to do, have an aptitude for and concentrate on that. You have to focus on what you're good at and fine tune your operation to the point where it’s the best it can be.”
Terry adds, “We built our program in the toughest times the cattle industry has seen in the past 30 years. You don’t ever forget those times. That’s why we continue to run this operation with the same degree of frugalness and attention to detail as we did when breaking even was a major accomplishment. The most important thing to remember, is never lose sight of your long term goal."
Building Customer Loyalty
Over the past 25 years, the Andersons have focused on engineering a bull program with a foundation built from integrity, trust and open communication with their customers. Terry and Debby continually put the needs of their customers first and have designed their operation to meet those needs. They even make it easy for customers to buy their bulls. While many producers sell their bulls through one-day auctions, the Andersons prefer private treaty offerings.
“Our objective is to be as fair as we possibly can,” says Terry. “Our customers appreciate that. We’ve built our program not only on the quality of our cattle but on the integrity of the program. We also have an open door policy - customers can come to the ranch any time of the year and see our program.”
Their Private Treaty Bull and Female Program, located at the 7UP Bull Development Center in Stanfield, Oregon, provides an opportunity for Terry & Debby to work one on one with every buyer. Using private treaty, combined with this state-of-the-art facility allows the Andersons to give a very unique, relaxed and informative buying experience. The Development Center also provides Terry & Debby the ability to care for each animal from birth to the day they are sold. Likewise, the cow herd is wintered in the same location, perfect for customers who wish to tour the cattle and see the program from birth to sale.