Caterpillar : Dameron : Keystone Steel & Wire : Prairie View Farm
Sauk Valley Angus : Weaver Angus Farm : Werner Angus

Wednesday, August 29

Weaver Angus Farm
   As a 4-H member in 1935, Robert Weaver had the foresight to see the advantages of the Angus breed. He and his brother, Floyd, purchased their first Angus female that same year, and seven decades later, Weaver Angus Farm, Peoria, is continuing the tradition of raising sound, functional Angus cattle.
    Robert, a successful businessman who works hard and takes nothing for granted, continued the Angus business with his wife, Virginia, and their five children. Today, sons Jerry and Steve are active partners in Weaver Angus Farm.
   The Weaver family hosted the first-ever Illinois Angus Association field day, and it continues to host the event. As someone who established roots in the business as a youth, Robert is passionate for junior Angus members and invests in today’s youth by offering an incentive program to those juniors who buy and exhibit Weaver genetics.
    Weaver Angus Farm has seen numerous successes in the showring as well. The Weavers exhibited at the old International in Chicago, and they have exhibited at all but one North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Ky. They only missed 1999, when manager Dean Janssen served as the Angus judge.
Because of their commitment to the industry, Robert and Virginia Weaver were inducted into the Angus Heritage Foundation in 2006.
Thursday, August 30
Keystone Steel & Wire
   Keystone Steel & Wire in Peoria is an integrated mill that heats, mixes, casts, forms, rolls and finishes steel to their own and their customers’ exacting specifications. Keystone has been in the business to produce premium wire and rod with a high level of metallurgical integrity and mechanical capability since 1889.
    Keystone quality begins with the right mix of scrap metal. Each year approximately 800,000 tons of scrap metal is shipped by barge and rail to a scrapyard where it’s sorted according to grade and quality. An electric arc furnace blends scrap with the necessary alloys to produce molten steel. Newly formed steel rod is inspected using detailed practices based on customer needs. Keystone steel is produced under continuous control to meet the customer’s end-use specifications.
   Since the early 1900s, Red Brand® has been a household name on American farms. The red-colored wire, a familiar trademark, got its start from an early marketer who decided to dip the top of Keystone fence rolls into red paint.
   Keystone’s expertise in high-quality fencing products has also resulted in the development of the Sierra™ and Keystone LG™ brands of fencing. Sierra offers consumers an economical, commercial grade of agricultural fence products. Keystone LG includes a premium line of fencing for yard or garden.
Caterpillar Inc.
   Holt Manufacturing Co. and C.L. Best Tractor Co. merged in 1925 to form Caterpillar Tractor Co. For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making progress possible and driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and a wide and growing offering of related services.
    Caterpillar products and components are manufactured in 50 U.S. facilities and in more than 60 other locations in 23 countries around the globe. The East Peoria Building SS — Track Type Tractor facility was built in 1978 with production beginning in 1979. This facility is home to the production lines of Caterpillar’s largest tractors, the D5 through D11.
The main assembly line is 430 feet long. Depending on the production schedule, the conveyor moves approximately 10-25 inches per minute. By plan, it takes five to six days to assemble a tractor.
    All conveyors in Building SS are constructed from D5 undercarriage components. These include the Cat D5 track links, pins, bushings, rollers, idlers, sprockets and track shoe stock.
   There are numerous quality stations where incremental stages of production take place. Participants will view the final drive assembly, the installation of track roller frame and tracks, fill stations, the 450-foot-long SS paint system, and functional test areas where tractors are hoisted.
Werner Angus
   Customer service is the focus of the Werner Angus operation near Cordova. Bill and Betty Werner own the operation that is managed by Brian Finnestad. The operation includes 250 registered cows. Twenty donor females will be flushed in 2007, and 300 embryos will be implanted during the year.
    Werner Angus continually listens to their customers’ needs so they can develop genetics that fit the commercial bull buyer's marketing program and environment, as well as producing structurally sound replacement females with good udder quality and mothering ability.
   Werner Angus will conduct its first production sale this November, and hosts its annual bull sale each February. They also market their genetics through several consignment sales, including the Illinois Futurity, Illinois Spotlight, Lamoine Valley and the National Western Bull Sale.
   Bill has a lifetime involvement in agriculture, as he previously owned registered Angus cattle in northeast Iowa, where he was raised. They are also active in numerous organizations; Bill serves on the Atlantic National board. Brian is president of the Illinois Angus Association and is on the All-American Angus Breeders’ Futurity board.
    Bill and Betty have been lifetime members of the American Angus Association for more than 30 years, and are looking forward to continuing their Angus business for decades in the future.
Friday, August 31
Dameron Angus Farm
   The Angus business is a way of life for Gary and Sharon Dameron and their family, who own and operate Dameron Angus Farm near Lexington. Gary started in the registered Angus business in 1969. All four of his children were active members of National Junior Angus Association, and children Christy, Jeff and Julie served on the NJAA Board of Directors.
    Gary is a leader in the Angus industry, serving two terms on the American Angus Association Board of Directors before serving as its president in 1989. He is also past president of the Illinois Angus Association and Central Illinois Angus Association. Today, Jeff is on the Illinois Angus board.
    The Dameron herd now consists of 200 cows. The Damerons market their genetics twice annually with a female sale in the fall and a bull sale in the spring. They also exhibit their cattle across the country. In 2006, Jeff was voted by his peers to receive the Herdsman of the Year award at the National Western Stock Show.
   Both Jeff and Gary have judged numerous livestock shows, including the National Junior Angus Show and the National Western Stock Show. In 2004, the father-son duo evaluated the super-point Roll of Victory Angus Show at the North American International Livestock Expo.
    The Dameron family is dedicated to the future success of the Angus breed. In addition to marketing their cattle to junior Angus members, they also strive to ensure that the youth learn about raising, fitting and showing cattle.
Prairie View Farm
   Prairie View Farm is a third-generation Angus operation north of Gridley. Adam Schlipf and his brother Carl began in the Angus business in the 1950s. When Orlan Miller, Adam’s son-in-law, began farming, they continued raising and showing Angus females.
    In 1994, the Millers purchased Davis Proven Queen 3026, and launched Orlan’s son, Alan, into the business. Prairie View Farm today consists of more than 130 cows. PVF New Horizon 001, Dameron PVF Raptor 702 and many Proven Queens have been bred on the operation.
Today, Prairie View Farm utilizes intensive grazing to combat the increasing costs of production on their farm located in the middle of corn and soybean acreage. Cattle are marketed primarily through private treaty sales, as well as consignments to state Angus sales. Bulls are marketed through a partnership with Mill Iron Angus, Hay
Springs, Neb.
    The operation is also home to a select group of cows owned by Adcock Land and Livestock, Burr Ridge, co-sponsors of the tour stop.
    Alan and Orlan are active in Illinois Beef Association activities, and Alan has served as Illinois Angus Association sale chairman for the past nine years.
   All of Orlan and Carol’s five children, although now grown, contribute to the farm. Hired labor is secured through an internship program in partnership with Illinois State University dealing primarily with preparation of show cattle.
Sauk Valley Angus
   Sauk Valley Angus, near Rock Falls, has been a family-owned operation for five generations, and it is preparing future generations to continue the tradition of raising Angus cattle. Owners Gary and Kathy Sandrock are living on the land that both their grandfathers lived and farmed on. The Angus operation, managed by Jay King, includes nearly 500 registered cows and another 200 commercial females that serve as recipient cows for their extensive embryo transfer program.
    The Sandrocks and Kings strive to provide genetics that will improve their customers’ performance and profitability. They have developed several customer service programs, including the Sauk Valley-sired Feeder Calf Sale, which has secured some of the top feeder-calf prices in the area; a Herd Builders Program for newer Angus producers; and a Youth Incentive Program for 4-H and FFA youth who have excelled in the showring with Sauk Valley females. They conduct two sales a year — an annual bull sale in March and a production sale in December.
    Sauk Valley Angus was named the 2006 BIF Seedstock Producer of the Year. All the family members take active leadership roles within various organizations, including the local and state Chamber of Commerce and the Northwest Illinois Ag Coalition. They also are active in the Illinois Angus Association, and Jay is the current treasurer of the American Angus Association.