For more than 100 years, the same family has operated the Noble Ranch of Yuma, Colorado.
In everything he does, Ryan Noble pushes the limits of success to what some would call overachieving. To everyone else, it's no surprise Noble Ranch was recently awarded the Certified Angus Beef 2019 Commercial Commitment to Excellence Award during the brand's annual conference held in Asheville, N.C.
Humble to their core, whatever the Nobles have achieved to them just comes with the job.
"It doesn't feel like we are doing anything special, it just feels like what we should be doing and the way that we should be doing it," his wife Ronella said.
They make industry education a priority, with an open invitation to visit the ranch for any person or group who wants to learn about beef production. The ranch has hosted many ag education and end-user groups, including CAB's Master of Brand Advantages.
The passion Ryan and Ronella have for education and business growth is immediately apparent, says Kara Lee, CAB production brand manager.
"Whether they are in the company of other ranchers or hosting a group of foodservice professionals, they are swapping experiences, successes and failures all in the name of continued improvement. They have a progressive mindset about business management and investment in employees that transcends all industries, offering guests with a culinary background a fresh perspective on some of their own challenges."
The Nobles hold service in high regard. Ronella volunteers with hospice, the elementary school and church groups. Ryan leads services at the church and coaches his kids' sport teams. Together they are 4-H leaders.
The ranch quickly embraced the opportunity for a heifer development program that has made an impact on nearly 6,500 cows, a progressive initiative to help customers reach their maternal and terminal goals through selective breeding and GeneMax genomic testing.
"It's very profitable," Ryan said. "We also enjoy interacting with other ranchers, and it gives us an opportunity to have a hand in helping them better their genetics."
The Nobles haven't always bred Angus genetics. Thirty years ago the ranch focused on the continental breeds and that's about when Ryan noticed the Angus breed was starting to change. Expected progeny differences (EPDs) were gaining momentum, especially within the breed.
"Angus just covers every base that we need covered, and with fantastic results," he said.
The bottom line for his operation is that his cattle must require minimal inputs, along with having docility, longevity and fertility.
"Economically, the Angus cow covers a lot of bases for us," Ryan said. "She can make a living out here in our semi-arid, tough environment. She can use some resources that nothing else is really going to use and she can upscale protein like crazy."
Average isn't an option. Their philosophy is to build cattle in the upper 25% for the breed. That's why Ryan partnered with Basin Angus Ranch on a bull stud selling semen. This allows him to select the best animals and invest in highly heritable traits to bring to his calf crop and the cow herd that flows from that.
The carcass quality his herd achieves meets his standards as a beef consumer.
"The Certified Angus Beef brand has always stood for quality and doing the right thing every chance you get," he said. "That mirrors what we're trying to do out here on the ranch."
Retaining ownership of steer calves and marketing them on the grid proves their strict breeding standards are paying off.
"When I got back the carcass data on our 2018 steers, we qualified 70% for Certified Angus Beef," Ryan said. "They yielded about 63%. They were almost 30% (low) Choice and there was zero Select in the whole pen. That's on 14 month old calves. The pay weight was around 1,340 pounds. So I think we're doing okay."
Ryan is interested in long-term relationships, sustained partnerships and repeat business.
"I guess everything in the beef industry and life in general is all about relationships," he said. "If you hold your end of the bargain up and the other person does, too, you will have a fantastic relationship and it will work every time. It's all about the people."
A few years ago, the couple completed a Ranching for Profit course, an investment they say has paid off.
"We're constantly going through our gross margins and looking at the economics of ranching now," Ryan said.