Serving the Loup Valley for 137 Years
$900 K! That’s A Lot of Bull
“Poss Deadwood” Bull recently sold at the Poss Angus sale for $900,000
by Kate Wolf
Danny and Kristi Poss of rural Scotia, NE certainly know how to raise things....kids, crops and cattle but especially bulls. Extremely valuable bulls. On Feb. 5, 2021 at the Annual Poss Angus Sale, one specific bull, Poss Deadwood, sold for $900,000. Yes, you read that figure correctly: $900,000. The second highest selling bull since the 1990s, shattering records for superior genetics. But don’t let that number distract you from all the work it took to get there.
Danny Poss has had a passion for cattle breeding since his days in 4-H, FFA and into his college days as a member of an award winning Livestock Judging Team. Here he honed his skills at understanding the scientific applications of genomics in a breeding program.
He bought his first heifer, which he artificially inseminated, started growing his herd and never looked back.
“I’ve been shooting for these genetics since I was in college,” Poss explained. “If you persist in what you do, follow your goals and be patient, you never know when good things will happen.”
His wife, Kristi, agrees. “He’s always been optimistic and had a vision,” she commented. “And he never, ever quit.” It is the personification of the American Dream: Establish a goal, work hard, sacrifice and struggle in the beginning, don’t take the easiest path to success, never give up and eventually the rewards manifest themselves.
It’s been a long time coming, however. Little by little, year after year, the Poss breeding program just kept getting better. In 1992, the family-oriented farm ranch operation sold their first bulls by private treaty. By the year 2000, they hosted their first Poss Angus Sale at the Ericson Sale Barn and by 2017 they began conducting their annual sale at the ranch, in a new facility originally intended as a calving barn but which dove-tailed perfectly with the vision the Poss family had for their operation.
Now, the Poss Angus Sale, held each year on the first Friday in February, is an eagerly anticipated annual event attended by hundreds of buyers from across the country. Buyers who are looking for specific breeding traits: calving ease to high growth with high maternal genetics, carcass, eye appeal, foot quality and the expected progeny differences that Poss Angus consistently provides.
But if you’re thinking that Danny Poss is one of those television ranchers who sits back in his richly appointed office with his boots on the desk, perhaps sipping an expensive brandy while barking orders at a legion of hired men, you couldn’t be more wrong. Nor is he about to go jetting off to Cancun or other sunny ports of call anytime soon. Poss is a real working rancher, just like other cattlemen in our area. Poss credits his family for the success of his operation stating emphatically that none of this would have happened without the combined efforts, personal sacrifice and dedication to the standard of excellence that Poss Angus demands of its breeding program.
Despite the long hours, hard work out in the elements and headaches involved with ranching, Poss, at the age of 50, still retains the boyish charm, quiet voice and easy grin of a man half his age. He married his sweetheart, Kristi, in 1994 and she understands the profound importance of her role in the operation. She is the one who is largely responsible for the highly coveted, polished and professional sale catalogues that Poss Angus produces each year. It’s a BIG job. At least 1,400 catalogues are mailed out each year from the Scotia Post Office requiring the concentrated efforts of family members, friends and a host of others. When completed, sorted and marked for mailing, the catalogues fill an entire pickup box. And this is just one factor leading up to the all-important sale day.
Son Nolan, age 23, specialized in Ag Economics in college and is the undisputed computer “wizard” behind the complex digital record keeping that Poss Angus utilizes. Nathan, who will soon be 22, is working towards a degree in Agribusiness and is on the Rodeo Team at Fort Hays College in Kansas. He serves as head cowboy for the ranch. Daughters, Neleigh, age 17, who is planning to pursue a career in nursing, and Natalie, age 15, who is already leaning towards accounting or computer science, are both outdoor girls who help with round-up, moving cattle, night checks during calving season and work as general all-around “hands” on the ranch. Even Danny’s widowed mother, Elizabeth Poss, is an indispensable member of the team often running for parts, taking meals to the field and filling in wherever needed.
So, how does this happen? How does a single bull from a ranch in central Nebraska become angus royalty without hauling it all over the country to Stock Shows and Cattlemen’s Classic events? Word gets around. Angus breeders talk, share specific genetic information, the requests for semen filled “straws” escalates and the result is a veritable frenzy of demand. Up to 4,500 units were requested from all over the country up to a week prior to the sale, including inquiries received from foreign countries.
It all comes together on sale day. This year a $100,000 bid for Poss Deadwood was received through DV Auction online even before the actual bidding began so, that’s where auctioneer Matt Lowery began. At $900,000 the bidding stopped with the sale going to TK Cattle Co. in Menard, TX, purchasing 100 percent outright with Poss Angus retaining the rights to 200 units over the next two years. The ranch currently runs a herd of 650 registered angus cows with approximately 85 percent of the calf crop sold as bulls. Poss Deadwood is the result of eight generations of leading edge genetics owned by Poss Angus with the distinct possibility of more to follow as his specific traits will continue to enhance the family herd.
But the future of Poss Angus, its true legacy, lies in the family ties that bind it together as a successful operation.
“So much of this came together because of our families, our friends, our community and our loyal repeat customers,” Poss remarked. “Without their support and encouragement, we wouldn’t have been able to do it.”
And that’s just like Danny Poss....giving credit where credit is due.