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For 33 years, John Kiburz watched over the annual Hoover Angus sale he urged them to start in February of 1991.
The annual sale, held the first Tuesday in February, has since become a celebration of the family’s legacy, as they are just four years shy of celebrating 100 years of breeding Angus cattle.
It is also the largest annual production sale held in Iowa, regardless of breed, bringing roughly 200 buyers to Ringgold County.
Last year, buyers from 19 states and Canada visited the new Hoover Angus sale facility in Tingley for their 95th Anniversary Sale.
The cow herd produces around 300 registered spring calving cows and 100 registered fall calving cows each year.
They sell roughly 180 head to buyers across the United States at their annual production sale.
The Hoover family creates their own sale catalog that is known for being one of the most in-depth bull books published in the country.
They also manage their own sale, without hiring a sale manager, and do all their own book work.
Although this year’s sale was the first without John’s presence, his granddaughter Landi Livingston is proud to carry on the tradition.
“I was born and raised here, and came back to the farm after college,” Landi says, “It’s all I’ve ever known. You’ve got to love what you do, it’s a lot of long hours and hard work.”
The family’s legacy began over nine decades ago, when F.W. Hoover purchased his first Angus cows and settled near Ellston to nurture what is now one of the oldest Angus herds in the nation.
His daughter Barb, and her husband John Kiburz, were the second generation to manage the Hoover Angus farm, becoming partners and joining herds with Walt and Sadye Hoover in 1953.
Presently, third generation David & Joy (Kiburz) McFarland and fourth generation Andrew & Landi (McFarland) Livingston, currently own and care for the herd that dates back to 18 generations of females bred, born, and raised at the Hoover Angus farm.
In addition to the annual production sale, bulls and bull semen are also offered for sale by private treaty. Since cattle are rarely shipped overseas, and it is cost prohibitive to conduct genetic testing, Hoover Angus bull semen is marketed to cattle farmers around the world.
Last summer, three sets of international tour groups visited the Hoover Angus farm. Alta Genetics, an international bull semen distributor, sent 13 of their sales managers from Brazil to view cattle at Hoover Angus in June of 2023.
A bull that was bred, born, and raised at Hoover Angus, is one of the top sires in Brazil, with nearly a quarter million units of semen sold.
Roughly a half dozen other groups visited the Hover Angus herd last summer, including a group from Australia and another from New Zealand.
“We usually host several of those groups,” Landi stated, “They tour a dozen or so herds in multiple states.”
The site visits help semen distributors get an up-close look at herds and sires, giving them a better idea of the genetic makeup, so they can be confident in what they are marketing.
“The Angus breed is very data driven,” says Landi, “We are very progressive in the traits that are economically relevant to Angus breeders.”
The family measures many different traits so they know more about their herd’s genetics.
Data collection helps them make improvements to the herd and breed. Hoover Angus cattle are bred to excel in areas like calving ease, growth, structure, ribeye, udder quality and high docility, which produces a pleasant disposition.
They also collect data on the more common traits such as birth, weaning, and yearling weights, maternal traits, as well as visual appearance and structure of the animal.