Beef/Cattle Extension Program
Strong family tradition and attention detail make
Centennial Livestock unique
By John Maki, Beaverhead County
Extension Agent Describe your operation
beef produced on Centennial Livestock are for
the most part all natural beef."
Over 80 years ago, Les Staudenmeyer went into the ranching
business. His keen business sense, hard work and ability
to take advantage of opportunities enabled Les and his
family to build what is today Centennial Livestock.
Les passed away in 2001 at 103. Les's son Bill and his
wife Judy, Bill's daughter Debbie and her husband Tom
Tamcke and Bill's son Will and his wife Patti Jo carry
on with Les's strong sense of development and diversification.
Centennial Livestock is a diversified operation raising
Black Angus cattle, paint and quarter horses, wheat,
malting barley, alfalfa and native hay. The ranch also
includes a recreational hunting and fishing business
and a very popular Ranch Cookhouse. The Ranch Cookhouse
has served people from all over the world at its "authentic"
sit-down-with- the- ranch-hands family style dining.
The cookhouse always features ranch home-grown beef,
and with the beef comes the opportunity to promote and
educate people about the beef business and Montana agriculture.
The ranch contains about 60,000 acres, including a 3,000-acre
farm in Dillon, a summer grazing unit in the Centennial
Valley and the Cross Ranch in the Horse Prairie that
provides native hay and a place to winter and calve
their 2,400 Angus cows.
What have been your most effective management strategies
in recent times?
Centennial Livestock takes advantage of new technology.
They are continually looking for ways to improve their
beef cattle production through better nutrition, by
using the highest quality bulls, obtaining carcass data
on their steers and using that data to help with management
decisions. The beef produced on Centennial Livestock
are for the most part all natural beef. They use a good
mineral nutrition program to improve immunity and reduce
sickness. They feel that most calf sickness can be treated
with natural remedies. Debbie admits that occasionally
they have to use antibiotics to save the life of a calf,
but that identified and is not included in the natural
What are your biggest challenges?
Will, Patti Jo, Tom and Debbie all agreed that of the
biggest challenges is maintaining profitability. Tom
said there are consumers who want their natural product
and are willing to pay for it, and do pay premium at
the meat counter, but the ranch does receive this added
What are the biggest challenges of the livestock
Will and Tom agreed that one of the biggest challenges
facing the livestock industry is trying to stay ahead
of the consumer demands. The consumer wants a high quality
product that is safe, wholesome and is consistent in
flavor and tenderness. To this quality and consistency,
the producer has to what he is producing and it is sometimes
difficult get the carcass data to make the best management
decisions to improve the product. Another challenge
of the industry is meeting the demands placed on it
by people and groups outside the industry. This is why
Debbie and Patti Jo use every opportunity their Ranch
Cookhouse to educate the public on the importance of
the livestock industry and that the people on the land
are its best stewards. Yet another challenge is finding
ways to allow young people were raised on farms and
ranches to come back to those farms and ranches. Learn
more about Centennial Livestock by visiting its website
Questions & Answers is a joint project between
MSU Extension and the Montana Beef Council. This column
informs producers about current consumer education,
promotion and research projects funded through the
$1 per head checkoff. For more information, contact
the Montana Beef Council at (406) 442-5111 or at firstname.lastname@example.org