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 Our friend Larry Leonhardt

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MKeeney
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PostSubject: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:09 am

I am deeply saddened to post that our friend Larry Leonhardt passed away Saturday night after a short battle with cancer. He was generous; a thinker, a creator, a doer, and a teacher and the best friend any person could ever hope to have. Funeral arrangements link is below and includes a place to express your condolences.
http://www.haskellfuneralhome.com/obits/obituary.php?id=597626


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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:04 pm

The loss of my best friend who I spent so much time communicating with in recent years will create a tremendous void not only in my life; but also for all of us here at KC. Larry`s combination of experience, intellect, and character were  unequaled in the cattle breeding business in my lifetime and are currently irreplaceable. The only thing I can find to fill my personal void is to work harder at some pursuit that I enjoy; given golf improvement is impossible ;  that leaves only the Tru-line breeding effort

My only unique qualification for this effort has been that I was willing ; perhaps even wanting to, out of respect for, and seeking approval of the man I most respected. Larry never once suggested that I do this; but he immensely enjoyed contributing to the effort; particularly  these last four years. After days of riding, listening, laughing; we would always get really serious on the mornings of my departures from Red Lodge. In 2011, after the Gathering there ,  he said you know I was opposed to this, only relented because of your persistence, but I will tell you now that I think it has been the highlight of my cattle breeding career. I am sure  that statement was made in the context of his well-being financially; in earlier days when he was in debt, surely Midland sales were highlights; though nature would eventually extract a heavy tax on that popularity. In that same financial context, several times he told me that he wished he had quit registering cattle much sooner; that he could have done just fine financially without the premiums he received for the few bulls and several cows in later years;  and would have retained far greater control over the destiny of his created gene pool.

 As you know, Larry`s concept was ignored, even ridiculed by the traditional mainstream, and I cannot see that changing in my lifetime...but some of you will live longer than I, and who dare predict the future with certainty? We are not here to change the world; but neither are we here to just get along. Evidence will be presented and evidence refuted; the reader will choose his course.

  Now that Larry is gone in person though not in spirit, this continuing effort cannot be about pleasing Larry; it is not for my economic gain; I have spent far more than I would hope to recoup and will continue to do so; it can be attributed to my ego if your judgment prefers; but the primary reason to make this effort is that a Tru-line system offers the best method of delivering  predictable genetics to the commercial producer for his improved profitability. When the commercial producer`s profitability improves; so will that of the Tru-line breeder.

 There have been a lot of words written here; some vile; some in jest; some hollow  and hypocritical; some worth reading; and more importantly, some worth working for.  It will be the work that fills the void; it will be the work that furthers the Tru-line concepts; and I thank each of you that are working to achieve that goal.
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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:06 am

yesterday was the kind of Sunday morning here that I might have called Larry for a little chat...came across this quote which reminded me of all the prep time in the early formative  days of developing  friendship I used to psych up with before calling Larry...and I`ve heard that repeated from so many of you...only to learn superior intelligence can be accompanied with warmth and humility...

  America tends to worship the modest talent because it doesn't put us in an uncomfortable position vis-a-vis the artist. Carlisle Floyd
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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:30 pm

sure nice to see a Leonhardt listed as our latest member...Welcome to Casey, Larry's grandson...
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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:44 am

from an email I received...

I miss Larry's writings, after you were done reading you able to look at the world with different prescription lenses in your glasses.

don`t we all; and even sadder, little prospect for a replacement...I suggest this as having potential...

http://www.jadangus.com/2014/09/11/do-the-shoshones-make-the-best-cows/

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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:58 am

I chatted with Betty Leonhardt for a while yesterday; she appreciates all who have called recently...aided by perfect weather, the beet and silage harvest went well; cows are already home from Red Lodge and the calves weaned...said Gary had had lots of calls from buyers wanting cows; Shoshone goes on.... cheers
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caseyleonhardt



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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:15 am

Thanks for having me!! It really comforting to see my grandfather writing about his legacy. I hope someday I can put all his knowledge to use, and if I can only become half the man he was I know I'll live a good life. I look forward to reading on here and glad I finally know what my grandpa was doing on the computer all the time but never would of thought he would of been typing pages and pages about cattle.. BUT THEN AGAIN OF COURSE HE WOULD BE!!!! haha
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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:57 pm

Casey,
my wife and daughter are in Red Lodge  santa  exciting stuff for them  santa  street`s are overflowing tonight {they say  Smile }  santa ; and I think your grandma is wanting to go up tomorrow ... if you see some stranded tourist looking people out there, please lend them a hand...of course, they survived minus 28 last year, so they think plus 46 was summer today Smile
beautiful big sky snow  ; but I`m glad to be home in the Ky rain...glad you are reading your grandpa`s stuff; give us your perspective anytime  Smile



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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:24 pm

While a very few are actually applying the below concept; it is quite refreshing just to know a mainstreamer has at least pondered Larry`s writing...

"I have come to believe the phenotypic selection criteria self-governs the level of inbreeding or degree of prepotency; that production levels are self-governed by the environment; that milk levels and carcass values are self-governed by their effect on composition and that composition has the greatest impact on functional reproductivity. So improving prepotency of composition once identified seems to be 'priority 1' at ANY preferred production level." - Larry Leonhardt



Was this a quote in X-Strain ? I have forgotten...
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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:43 am

the calendar says it has been a year since Larry passed from our presence; in some personal sense, it feels surely 10 years ago...and in another , he is present everyday and always will be...


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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Sun Aug 09, 2015 7:47 am

thx to Gizmom for her efforts on another website...

I copied this from another site for those that don't know about Larry Leonhardt.

We have discussed Larry Leonhardt's philosophy and his contribution
to the Angus industry here before. Western Farmer Stockman interviewed him and I thought you would enjoy what he had to say. I looked
on their website www.westernfarmerstockman.com to see if the article was up there yet and it is not. So in the interest of many of you, I retyped the whole article. (WHEW)

The article is titled:
Seedstock breeder returns to methods from the past

There was a time when Larry Leonhardt's Shoshone Angus Ranch at the top of Wyoming was a destination for beef producers seeking the hottest bulls of the day.

Through the right connections back in the 1960's and 70's, he acquired some of the desired Wye Plantation bulls and began to breed and sell the progeny from his operation around Cowley.

"We did well and sold a lot of high-priced cattle", Leonhardt recalls.
"I made a lot of money breeding trait leaders. But by the end of the 1970's, I saw the cows were gettng bigger and bigger", he says.

"The good cows weren't leaving good daughters. I was looking at my cows and seeing the biggest cows had the smallest calves. I also
thought I must be the worst bull buyer in the world because I run all over
and pay ridiculous prices, and invariably I'm disappointed with the calves-
especially the females", he adds.

Like many others, Leonhardt began to question the wisdom of bigger-must-be better thinking. This kind of breeding had become a contest rather than a focused purpose, he says.

"I thought, 'this is crazy. We're trying to take a bulldog and make
it run like a greyhound'", Leonhardt remembers.

SETTING NEW GOALS
As he began rethinking his purposes, he determined: "First we have to
have function, and a cow's function is processing forage. I thought about how we need lines the commercial industry can take and use to
profitably to produce beef, not just more beef."

Leonhardt says he went through several years of intense study and re-evaluated his goals.He considered what options could successfully reverse the direction he had taken. He also began seriously doubting the
still-prevalent concept that hybridization could be achieved within
a breed by lining up expected progeny differences and other numbers
and mating cattle that are unrelated or outside the normal range for
certain traits.

He also came to believe that "using the top to bring up the bottom"
leads to unending, problematic cycles of change.

"Hybrids tend to outproduce purebred parents, but there's less
repeatability," Leonhardt explains. "I decided I was going to breed
for three things in separate line: carcass, performance and maternal
traits. It took a long time for me to decide how much cow I want," he
adds, "And there is no cow that will work everywhere."

Over time he shucked all the trappings, all the influx of someone
else's genetics, all the measurements and the paperwork. His primary
focus became maternal lineage. Then Leonhardt began with what
he had, knowing that inbreeding was the quickest way to fix some
traits, and fully aware that it would make or break his program.

As a farmer, Leonhardt says he thought about the way hybrid plant lines
were produced. "I asked myself, 'Why do they have the inbred plant lines?' The answer is 'to control the traits and harness hybrid power.'
"And I thought, 'Shouldn't there be some consistency and reliability of
traits for a breed, other than just color?" he says.

LEARNING FROM OTHERS
He decided to breed for "functional purity that breeds true for characteristics." He wanted good conception, fertility, mothering ability,
decent udders, longevity and freedom from other unmeasured
problems. He sought out old-time breeders and learned from them.

"The purebred business is a con-artists paradise", Leonhardt says.
"I decided I'm just going to breed cattle for myself--that you just
can't successfully breed for everybody."

Leonhardt selects the bulls and cows he likes, knowing they are
all related, and pasture breeds them. He doesn't worry about all the
details, but he focuses on the traits he wants and on moderation
and symmetry.

"If someone says to me, 'That's a nice, long animal', I think I
better shorten him up a bit.'"

Anything that doesn't fit is removed. Over the years Leonhardt
has culled less and less.

He sells about 250 bulls a year, nearly all to commercial beef
producers and all without advertisement.

"When I was changing everything, I thought no one would buy these
closely bred, lower EPD bulls," he says.

But a strange thing happened along the way. As he selected for the
kind of cow he wanted--the moderate, well balanced cow with good
reproductive traits--he got good bulls. They became more masculine, more "boss", more trouble-free and more alike.

FINDING REAL VALUE
Leonhardt says he also began looking at the energy dollars going into
his herd--the amount of money he spent maintaining it--and he
learned that his moderate cattle were just as profitable as the big-bodied
big dollar cattle he once raised. The difference was he spent less,
took in less and made about the same profit with fewer hassles
and problems.

Commercial beef producers saw the value.

"My customers don't spend all their profits on buying bulls from
me now," Leonhardt says.

"I've had people say, 'Larry, I admire what you are doing, but I
can't afford to do that.' I ask them why," he says.

"If you spend $50,000 on a bull, you have to earn $50,000
on his progeny. If you don't spend more than you make, you
can do anything you want."

Leonhardt adds, "My customers don't need papers filled with
costly measures. They need to know what my bulls will and will
not do."

CREATING HIS VISION
Where the undercurrent flows beneath the hype of the purebred industry,
Leonhardt's thinking has made him somewhat of a legend. Read a few
chat threads about beef breeding on the Internet and Leonhardt's name
will invariably pop up, along with Jim Lents and a few others.

But Leonhardt says he's really not interested in all that.

"I didn't do this to become famous," he says. "I just did it because
I'm a farmer and I know what they do in the plant world, and I
figured out how I could apply that to my beef cattle."

Moreover, Leonhardt's vision for the industry harkens back to the
old-time model of regionally distributed seedstock, sold to
commercial producers so they can have environmentally adapted
parents for whatever breeding scheme they find most profitable.

"As a purebred industry, we lack the more specific parent stock
the commercial producer needs," Leonhardt says. "I really want the
industry to breed strains for specific purposes, If we had more prepotent
and specific strains, the commercial producer could go pick out the cattle
with the traits he needs to produce the product he gets paid for--
with greater reliability."

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PostSubject: Re: Our friend Larry Leonhardt   Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:02 am

Welcome to our newest member Debra Gilmore,

This is a nice, common sense summary of Larry`s breeding history; thanks for making the effort to keep it in print...A few here are making the effort to apply the principles and concepts to their own breeding and marketing operations; the philosophy is the driving force of this website...

As a fellow Floridian {part time Smile } may I suggest you keep your raincoat handy, you just never know when a thunderstorm is going to pop up Smile

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