A dream comes true

A dream comes true

By Bonnie Warnyca

 

After 11-year old Clint Morasch lost his father Doug in an accident in 1985, part of his legacy was his dad’s teachings about cattle, especially Red Angus cattle. Doug and Clint’s mom Mary Anne had managed LK Ranches’ McKinnon Ranch which was one of the first to import Red Angus cattle to Canada.  

The family had already purchased property near Bassano to raise a few cows and after losing Doug, Mary Anne continued to support her young son in his love of cattle. He had already used his first 4-H steer cheque to purchase two Red Angus females showing how serious he was about raising purebred seedstock.

Clint was a quick study. He seamlessly jumped from the 4-H ring into a much larger spotlight in 1987, when at the age of 13 he showed his first bred heifer at the Calgary Stampede Junior Show.   

Even during high school and then taking a beef management course at Olds College, Morasch planned his schedule to attend as many cattle shows and sales as possible.  

“Mom and my stepdad (Will and Mary Ann Schaap) maintained a small commercial herd and a small Gelbvieh operation,” says Morasch. “I served as president of the Canadian Gelbvieh Association while in my mid-twenties.

“But we eventually sold the Gelbvieh cattle to increase our Red Angus cattle and add Black Angus. Our purebred numbers increased from 60 to 100 and we’ve added more females as debt would allow.”A dream comes true

 

Their first bull purchase Red SSS Atlas 446Y not only set the bar for excellence within their own herd, but later sold to Mexico providing much needed cash to build the herd numbers.

His parents helped him to continue to build his herd and buy a few more good Red Angus females from the Mackenzie Bros. and Red Roundup sales; registering them under the Lazy MC brand.

The young man was a fierce competitor in the show ring and traveled extensively with other young Red Angus producers to events across North America. They drove many miles off the beaten path to tour noted Black and Red Angus herds in North America. He chose his traveling partners well and credits the Sibbald, Wildman and Mackenzie families for being part of his tutelage along the way.

Morasch found success early and in his twenties had champion calves back to back at NILE in Billings, Montana. Over the years, the family has continued to chalk up a long list of championships documented on their website.   

Yet even with a history of success, Morasch still contends that each cow is only worth the rail price adding that the black/red carrier genetics have been well received by their commercial customers and the resulting red offspring in the  purebred herds adds value and quality.  

He credits his wife Angela for helping to take the Lazy MC brand to the next level. He says her expertise as a website and ad designer has showcased their genetics to many new customers.  

The couple met while both attending Olds College and married two years later in 1996. They welcomed daughter Laurie to their family in 1998 and son Layne in 2002.

The couple is well suited in so many ways. They traveled the cattle show circuit together and when BSE stopped their U.S. trips, they focused more on their young family and team roping. Both are avid riders and love attending jackpots and contests. Clint was ranked as one of the highest headers in Canada. Meanwhile, they had to come up with more ways to continue to build on their dream of making a living with the cattle.  

In their area, there is little hope to increase their small land base but fortunately, the Lazy MC is located within the Eastern Irrigation District which provides ample water and pasture for 170 cows on just five quarters.    

“We’ve improved the accuracy of the irrigation slowly over the years,” says Morasch. “We were able to go from flood irrigation to wheel moves and then finally pivots.

“We’ve also looked to other business ventures to provide income and out-of-country partnerships to increase our herd numbers.

“We were lucky to have an ET expert at the Bow Valley Veterinary Clinic in Brooks and veterinarian Rob Stables did some embryo transplant work for us.  

“A friendship developed between Rob and his wife Candy and Angela and I which eventually evolved into a partnership in 2010, where together we formed Bow Valley Genetics Ltd. and built a donor facility and lab here on the ranch.”

During that time, they were only freezing Owners Use semen but interest quickly grew for exportable semen. Three years ago, they added a bull stud facility to collect semen for export. It has capacity for 80 bulls and between the two facilities, they employ eight fulltime workers and recently hired herdsman Daryl Leppa. Groups such as the Semex Beef Company, sends them their western Canadian bulls for collection.

Prior to BSE and the U.S. border closing, Morasch did well with his Angus and Red Angus cattle showing across Canada and down in the U.S. With the border closed, the couple worked harder to develop their Signature Series bull sale which resulted in increased bull sales closer to home. They now annually market 70 bulls and about 40 females.

Post BSE and the opening of the border in 2010, the couple jumped at the  opportunity to take a show string to the Denver Stock Show. That opened the door to the idea of raising Angus in the U.S. using ET.

“We put in about 60 embryos every year in our main herd and for the past two years have shipped a group of heifer calves to a young couple near College Station, Texas that manages and markets these cattle down there,” says Morasch. “Two years ago we decided to calve out the cows in the U.S. and partnered with another young couple in Wyoming on a calf share basis. Once the calves are weaned they will go to the College Station operation.

“Last year we didn’t have any throwaway or cull calves in the entire group. We started this process with just a few small groups of ET’s in the U.S. but this year we will calve out hopefully 200 ET calves end of March.”

Morasch says their U.S. customer base is a mixture between the commercial bull market, purebred operations and a brisk junior market in Texas, Oklahoma and other southern states.  

When Alberta Beef caught up with Morasch he was driving home from the Denver Stock Show where some of their junior cattle customers did well at the show with Lazy MC genetics.

The family exports many embryos and semen packages especially to Australia.  The Czech Republic and Germany are just a few of the European Union countries that use the Lazy MC genetics.

“The World Angus Forum which was held in Calgary in 2009 introduced our genetics to many breeders around the world. Our embryo and semen sales have increased ever since.

“Some producers miss out on the opportunity to export semen and embryos because they believe it’s difficult, there’s a lot of paperwork and all the work isn’t worth it,” says Morasch. “We’re fortunate to have such export companies as Davis-Rairdon and Semex to they look after the details and it’s become a big part of our sustainability plan.”

While the Lazy MC is a first generation ranch, the next generation is already chomping at the bit to take over some of the cow herd responsibilities. 17 year-old Laurie Morasch takes cattle to most of the junior shows during the summer months and works alongside dad, mom and brother Layne when the family takes a show string to FarmFair and Agribition.

When Morasch talks about the cattle and the interest shown by the next generation – he predicts - “the best is yet to come!”