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V8 Ranch: Powered by a commitment to customers

Progressive Cattleman Editor Cassidy Woolsey Published on 23 June 2017
Sloan and Mollie Williams Family

“You’re welcome back at V8 Ranch anytime,” smiled Brandon Cutrer as I pulled out of the drive after our interview – and I’m certain I’m not the only visitor who’s heard those words.

Just outside of Houston, in the quaint town of Hungerford, Texas, is possibly one of the most renowned Brahman breeders. Known for their success in the show ring and on paper, V8 Ranch is a powerhouse that just keeps growing.

To date, the V8 family has exhibited more than 100 national, international grand or reserve grand champions and was awarded the 2012 “Seedstock Producer of the Year” from the Beef Improvement Federation.

But besides the show ring trophies and superior cattle, the V8 Ranch family has excelled in an area that is all-too-often overlooked: customer service. Not only are they friendly and welcoming in nature, but at the end of the day, they remember who keeps them in business.

You get what you give

Made up of founder Sloan Williams and his wife, Mollie; their two children; Jan Powell and her daughter Payton; Jim Williams and his wife, Luann, and their two children; Rachel Cutrer and her husband, Brandon; and Catherine and her husband, Luke Nemayr; the V8 family strives to help their customers succeed to new heights.

Which, as Brandon Cutrer says, “helps bring everyone up at once.”

Backed by the industry’s largest marketing firm, Ranch House Designs (founded by V8’s Rachel Cutrer), they are able to provide a unique and invaluable service to their customers. Through their recently developed Genetic Partners Program, V8 customers are given assistance in marketing cattle bred with a V8 sire or dam that meets specific criteria.

“The average person has a lot of trouble selling Brahman bulls; we don’t,” Brandon Cutrer says. “Through our Genetic Partners Program, we make ourselves available, whether it’s myself, my father-in-law, Jim Williams; our show barn herdsman, Kolten Thigpen; or my wife, Rachel, through her marketing; we have a great team that will share our expertise and advice.”

V8's bull calves born this spring

Explaining that the demand for their cattle often outpaces their supply, Brandon Cutrer says the Genetic Partners Program is a way to support their customers while meeting the demand for their genetics – since expanding beyond their ranch property wasn’t really an option.

“Right now, we are just about maxed out on all of our land, and being in close proximity to Houston, it’s hard to buy or even lease land,” Brandon Cutrer says. “We just about can’t hold another cow. The problem we were running into was: Some of our customers, who had been buying from us for years, weren’t getting bulls or females because we ran out.

So after brainstorming, we came up with the V8 Genetic Partners Program, and we are excited to see how it goes.”

Through the program, customers are able to receive 5 percent discount on semen purchases of 50 units or more and 10 percent discount on semen purchases of 100 units or more, free herd consultation and breeding recommendations, free sales announcements on the ranch’s Facebook page (112,000 followers) and other applicable outlets, and free semen storage – to name a few. A 10 percent commission on all sales will be deducted and a $5 feed charge per day per head during the bull test.

For a bull or female to make it in to the Genetic Partners Program, they will go through an evaluation process conducted by the V8 crew. Here they will be evaluated for quality, just like the bulls and females born on the ranch.

“If we can help our customers sell their animals and sell them at a premium; they’ll make more money and, in return, they’ll be more willing to spend more for a V8 animal in the future,” Brandon Cutrer says. “Through this program, we are not only able to supply bulls to those customers who have been loyal customers over the years and have enough bulls to meet the demand, but also reward those loyal V8 customers who have been with us for years.”

V8 heifer they focus on structural quality

Although it hasn’t been available very long, the program is gaining traction and is a good example of the team’s progressive and forward-thinking efforts to better serve their customers. Brandon Cutrer also explains that for those animals that don’t quite meet the mark, the customer will have the option to take them back or castrate them and put them in with the V8 steers that go into the feedlot.

This way they can generate more carcass data for the American Brahman Breeders Association Carcass Evaluation Program and supply the customer with information that can improve their program.

A customer’s perspective

Only a customer of V8 genetics for four years, Kevin Williams of Sugarland, Texas, has nothing but good things to say about the V8 program. Raising commercial Brangus and Braford cattle for two decades, Williams says he started looking into raising his own replacements instead of purchasing them as he had done for years.

Kevin Williams and Brandon Cuter

“I told my wife, rather than purchasing people’s culls, we should just build our own,” Williams explains. “We considered going with Hereford cows with a Brahman bull, but after a little research it dawned on us that Brahman mamas are just better. We said let’s get some really good ones – and all roads led to V8.”

Besides the quality of cattle, Williams has been impressed with the caliber of their customer service. He was the first customer to participate in the Genetics Partners Program, and it seems to have worked for him – chalking his bull up as the top seller at V8 Ranch’s spring sale.

“They are top-notch people, salt-of-the-earth kind of family, and they will help you in any way imaginable. It’s not the classic ‘call me if you need something.’ No, they call you to see if there are any needs you have or any way they can help you out. They keep you informed and updated with things happening in their program. They are really great to work with; there’s no doubt about it.”

V8 Power Rating

Another tool the V8 crew has created to assist their customers is the V8 Power Rating. Similar to a regular EPD but designed for easier use, the Power Rating Index combines birthweight, performance, maternal ability, fertility, carcass merit and marketing options into one number.

Brandon cuter visits with some customers

Brandon Cutrer says, “I’ve noticed over the past few years in selling bulls and females, our customers almost get an ‘information overload’ with all the numbers we throw at them. They end up getting more confused than anything. Or they tend to go after one trait and start single-trait selecting.”

So in working with Dr. Michael MacNeil, an internationally recognized expert in breeding and genetics research, they were able to formulate an easy-to-understand index. To do so, they asked their customers what traits were important to them and how they are using V8 animals. Based on those answers, they applied different weights to each trait considered important.

Now, instead of looking across the whole V8 EPD profile, their customers can look at one number to get the whole picture. “We truly want our customers to be successful and profitable,” Brandon Cutrer says. “We will always work hard to improve our cattle and build new relationships. I think the huge number of repeat customers we have is a testament to that.”  end mark

PHOTO 1: From left to right: Luke and Catherine Neumayr; Luann and Jim Williams; Sloan and Mollie Williams; Jan and Payton Powell; Rachel and Brandon Cutrer and their two daughters Mollie Jo and Ann Catherine. Photo provided by Rachel Cutrer.

PHOTO 2: One of V8’s bull calves born this spring.

PHOTO 3: At V8 they focus on structural quality, eye appeal and good udders as a few of their top female traits.

PHOTO 4: Kevin Williams and Brandon Cutrer in front of the first V8 heifers Williams purchased.

PHOTO 5: Brandon Cutrer visits with some customers a few days before their spring sale. Photos by Cassidy Woolsey.

Cassidy Woolsey
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